Matt Cowley recovered from a poor start to win the second heat of the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in his Team Dolan-run Van Diemen.
In a tight finish, Cowley held off long-time leader Neil MacLennan, Chris Middlehurst and Jake Craig, with the top four covered by less than a second.
From the outside of the front row Cowley had too much wheelspin at the start and dropped back to third, defending from Stuart Gough on the inside into Paddock Hill Bend to prevent falling back further.
MacLennan’s Spectrum led from pole position, with Team USA scholar Craig’s Ray slotting into second and Van Diemen-mounted Middlehurst following his team-mate in fourth.
That group of four cars built a significant margin to the rest of the field, before the race exploded into action in the closing stages.
MacLennan appeared to lose pace mid-race, struggling particularly at the left-hander at Graham Hill Bend. As he backed up those behind, Cowley took advantage to move inside Craig under braking at that corner on lap 12 of 15, and Craig was further demoted by Middlehurst at Druids a lap later.
Cowley made his move for the lead at Paddock Hill Bend on the penultimate lap, and was able to build a small margin as the others continued to battle behind him.
MacLennan held onto second, while Middlehurst and Craig traded places, eventually crossing the line less than a tenth of second apart.
Ten seconds behind the leaders, Peter Dempsey and Gough completed the top six, after Ivor McCullough retired to the pits (from sixth) with gearbox problems in the closing stages.
Tom McArthur claimed the Pre-1990 class win with seventh overall in his Reynard 88FF, while Adriano Medeiros (Van Diemen RF80) and Stuart Kestenbaum (Crossle 16F) took the honours in the Pre-1982 and Pre-1970 classes respectively.
|1||P89||Matthew Cowley||Van Diemen||12.56.117|
|3||P89||Chris Middlehurst||Van Diemen||+0.797|
|6||P89||Stuart Gough||Van Diemen||+10.333|
|9||P82||Adriano Medeiros||Van Diemen||+17.624|
|11||P89||Matthew Chisolm||Van Diemen||+24.049|
|12||P89||Jack Kemp||Ray||+1 lap|
|13||P72||Stuart Kestenbaum||Crossle||+1 lap|
|14||P89||Dan Fox||Van Diemen||+1 lap|
|15||P82||Rick Morris||Royale||+1 lap|