- Bumper Division 2 grid basks in the Brands Hatch sunshine
- Luke Garrett, Eric Forsstrom and Steve Powell claim victory
- Paul Rivett stars with triple-podium performance
Division 2 of the MV Commercial BTRA Championship lifted the curtain on the 2019 season in fine style at Brands Hatch this past weekend (April 21/22) with Luke Garrett, Eric Forsstrom and Steve Powell emerging as the big winners, each of them claiming victory.
With the picturesque Kent venue basking in bright sunshine over the course of the Easter bank holiday weekend, Division 2 served up a feast of entertainment for those taking in the action on the bankings.
Donning the mantel of defending champion, Garrett underlined why he will be the man to beat once more as he stormed to pole position in qualifying. Hitting the top of the times early, the MAN driver was never headed and finished what proved to be a frenetic session little under a second clear of his nearest challenger.
Garrett would be unable to convert his pole position into victory in the first race of the year however as Forsstrom claimed outright honours. Launching off his front row start and into a commanding lead as the lights went out, Garrett looked to be on course to record yet another win in the series until an apparent turbo pipe issue began to halt his running.
Seeing his advantage to Forsstrom, who had leapt into second on the opening lap, dwindle as each lap passed, Garrett was shuffled into second place on lap nine where he would finish as Forsstrom romped away out front to record a memorable win.
Behind the top two was John Bowler who produced a superb drive to round out the podium, despite having to withstand pressure from Powell, Brad Smith and John Powell. Both Simon Cole and Paul Rivett had also been amongst those battling for third but both dropped away in the latter stages.
Race two of the weekend took two attempts to run, the first being halted due to a red flag, but come the end those in attendance were left on the edge-of-their-seats. Steve Powell scythed his way through the order to clinch victory after the brightly coloured Mercedes of Cole pitted from the lead with a technical problem.
Having worked with Garrett and Rivett to thread his way towards the sharp end, Powell hit the front with a handful of laps remaining and held his nerve to cross the line and score his first win of the season.
Multiple Renault UK Clio Cup champion Rivett, making his full-time debut in the championship, showed that he will be credible threat during the course of 2019 as he hounded Garrett throughout the race, ultimately scoring a maiden podium.
Further back Frans Smit and Brad Smith found themselves in a tasty scrap for fourth and fifth, with the Dutchman edging out last year’s runner-up.
Easter Monday at Brands Hatch belonged to 2018 champion Garrett as he produced a virtuoso performance to win races three and four.
Garrett proved to be in a league of his own in the third encounter as he cantered away from the field to win by more than 16 seconds. As Garrett led, all eyes were fixed on the ever-growing battle for second place which involved Powell, Rivett, Forsstrom and Bowler.
Rivett’s sensational weekend at Brands Hatch continued in the final race of the weekend as he narrowly missed out on securing a breakthrough win. Leading his first lap in the championship after pulling off a string of overtaking manoeuvres, Rivett was powerless to stop Garrett from finding a gap and taking the lead, powering on to victory.
Remaining in second place, Rivett brought the curtain down on a dream weekend with a third consecutive podium whilst Brad Smith capped off a rollercoaster two days on the rostrum as well.
For the full classification of results from all Division 2 sessions at Brands Hatch, click here.
The MV Commercial BTRA Championship resumes on May 11/12 as the series heads to South Wales to take on the unique challenges of Pembrey.
Luke Garrett: “I’m chuffed to bits to be honest. We should have had a win on Sunday so to come back the next day and win twice is a really good start to the year. A lot of effort has been put in over the winter, the championship has some great drivers in it so it’s the perfect start to our season and the focus now switches to Pembrey.”
Paul Rivett: “I came here with no expectations and not knowing how we would fair so to leave here with three podiums is fantastic. We were on the back foot due to issues in practice so the first time I really drove the truck was in qualifying and from there we have just climbed up the order. We’ve learnt a lot and we will put that intro practice moving forward.”