Bladon drops points at Oulton but still ahead!

20th  August 2016

Bladon retains handy Sunoco 200 Challenge lead despite dropping points at Oulton 

Max Bladon remains on course to win this year’s Sunoco 200 Challenge despite dropping points during his latest Mini Challenge Cooper class outing at Oulton Park last weekend.

The 19-year-old’s new average score of 113.08 is three fewer than before the weekend but still 18.7 more than arch rival Steve Burgess, whose Radical UK Challenge campaign continues at Brands Hatch this Saturday and Sunday when a perfect run of pole position, two race victories and fastest lap could see the gap shrink to less than 10 points.

Changeable weather during the Mini Challenge’s congested one-day meeting, which formed part of the wider Mini Festival, prevented Bladon from claiming the 20 points on offer for pole position. It also contributed to the Excelr8 Motorsport ace’s failure to win for the first time this season, although a pair of second places and fastest lap in the opener limited the damage to both his title chase and Sunoco 200 Challenge prospects.

Although now unable to eclipse 2013 Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion Ivan Bellarosa’s record winning score of 124.38, Bladon’s current average is just 0.85 lower than the maximum his nearest rival Burgess can achieve even with a perfect end to his Radical UK Challenge campaign.

However, Bladon’s minimum score of 81.67 also means that several other drivers could yet claim the 200-mile Rolex 24 At Daytona support race prize drive in January.

Rick Parfitt Jnr and Jon Minshaw - who will be battling against each other for the British GT3 title at Donington Park early next month - both currently have a higher average than Bladon’s minimum and could increase that to 92.89 and 91.67, respectively, during their final outing of the year.

But the biggest dark horse for this season’s Sunoco 200 Challenge crown is perhaps Shane Kelly who could still amass 106.18 points over the course of his final seven F3 Cup races.

One man now out of contention is Mini Challenge front-runner Charlie Butler-Henderson whose huge race one accident at Oulton not only ruled him out of the event and cost him the JCW class championship lead but also dropped him to 11th in the Sunoco 200 Challenge standings.

Both Burgess and Kelly will be aiming to gain further ground on Bladon when their respective Radical UK Challenge and F3 Cup seasons continue at Brands Hatch this weekend. Meanwhile, Parfitt Jnr and Minshaw have one last chance to stake their claims when the British GT Championship concludes at Donington three weeks from now.

Donington will also see Parfitt Jnr’s co-driver Seb Morris lay down the marker that all other Sunoco Whelen Challenge competitors must beat if they’re to prevent the Welshman from claiming the fully-funded Rolex 24 At Daytona entry.


Remaining Sunoco Whelen Challenge-eligible events:

September 10/11: British GT Championship (GT3 Pro) - Donington Park

Sep 30 - Oct 1: Radical Masters SR8 & Euro Masters SR3 - Monza

October 29/30: Radical Masters SR8 & Euro Masters SR3 - Jerez

Next Sunoco 200 Challenge-eligible events:

August 27-28: Radical Challenge and F3 Cup at Brands

September 3: Mini Challenge - Cadwell Park

September 10/11: British GT Championship (GT3 Am & GT4) - Donington Park

September 10/11: Radical Challenge, F3 and GT Cup - Silverstone

October 1: Britcar Endurance - Oulton Park

October 28-30



About the Sunoco Challenges

The Sunoco Whelen Challenge is provided in partnership with Whelen Engineering in the USA and Anglo American Oil Company Ltd in the UK. Drivers from selected Sunoco-fuelled championships compete against each other throughout the season with a chance to win a fully paid-for race seat in a Whelen-sponsored Prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2017. The Prize consists of pre-race test days, including the ROAR before the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and a fully paid for race seat in the Action Express racing run Whelen sponsored Prototype during the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2017.

Eligible series for the 2017 Sunoco Whelen Challenge are: British GT3, Radical Team Challenge (Pro-drivers) and Radical European Masters (Classes SR3 & SR8).

The Sunoco 200 Challenge is run by Anglo American Oil Company Ltd. and provides the winner with a race seat in the Sunoco liveried Mustang Boss 305R. Also included is travel, accommodation and a Sunoco 200 Challenge race suit. The winner will race in the 200 mile long BMW Performance 200 race on the Friday before the iconic 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona. As well as that, the driver who wins the challenge gains the full American experience!

Eligible series for the 2017 Sunoco 200 Challenge are: Britcar, F3 Cup, GT Cup, Radical Solo Challenge (AM), MINI Challenge (all classes), British GT4 and NEW for 2016, British GT3 (AM only).

For media enquiries please contact: Anders Hildebrand

Email: anders@aaoil.co.uk Mobile: +44 (0)7802 968016 Tel: +44 (0)1929 555970

Website: www.sunocochallenge.com - www.aaoil.co.uk

Twitter:@sunoco_uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/sunocouk