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Browning Wins Junior Championship Race 1 at Brands Hatch

29th September 2018 • Stephen Kilbey

Luke Browning pushed hard and came away with a win in the opening race of the weekend at Brands Hatch. Race 2, which was due to take place during the afternoon, was postponed due to barrier repairs at the circuit disrupting the timetable.

Prior to Race 1, Qualifying during the morning proved to be a frantic affair. After multiple drivers traded times at the top throughout the 15-minute session, James Hedley came to the fore and snatched Pole Position with a blistering 1:48.817 in his #67 Elite Motorsport G40 at the very end of the session, demoting championship leader Adam Smalley to second on the grid.  

Third, behind Hedley and Smalley was Ethan Hawkey, who initially steered his TCR G40 to provisional pole with just under five minutes to go, before having his 1:49.126 bettered twice in the closing minutes. Completing the top five were championship challengers Luke Browning and Louis Foster in fourth and fifth respectively.

After the lunch break it was time for the first encounter of the weekend, and it would be Luke Browning who would take a big win, snatching the lead of the Safety Car-interrupted sprint race after the restart off championship leader Adam Smalley.  

Smalley initially took the lead at the start of the race in his #54 Elite Motorsport G40, making a strong start as Pole-man James Hedley struggled for traction off the line, dropping to third behind Browning.  

The race was then neutralised after a incident on the run down to Graham Hill Bend involving Theo Edgerton (#24) and Will Martin (#10) on run down to Graham Hill Bend, leaving both cars stranded on drivers’ right. When the Safety Car eventually went in, it left the runners with a dash to the flag with just three minutes left on the clock. There were multiple changes to the order with the end in sight.  

The biggest move was Browning muscling past Smalley to put his #11 Richardson Racing example at the head of the field. It was close until the flag, with Smalley trying to fight back, running bumper-to-bumper with Browning over the line, setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap (1:49.025). It wasn’t to be though and Browning took his eighth win of the year.  

“Adam got the jump from me at the restart, I carried the speed and took the lead though,” said Browning. “I put a wheel off the track on the final lap, which meant I had clenched butt cheeks at the end!”  

Behind Smalley, Hedley lost another position – the final podium spot – on the penultimate lap to Patrick Kibble. He then dropped to fifth on the final lap after a late charge from Louis Foster. The result meant that Smalley headed into Race 2 with an 18-point lead over Foster and a 23-point margin over Browning.

Race1 Podium Kibble Browning Smalley

Due to barrier repairs from another race disrupting today's schedule, the second Junior Championship race of the weekend has been pushed back to tomorrow.

Race 2 will provisionally start at 12:15, ahead of the final race of the season at 15:05, local time in the UK. Both races can be streamed live on itv.com.