Matt Mason coped best in treacherous conditions to take victory in Round Two of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series at Brands Hatch.
The MGR Motorsport star has initially qualified on pole for the race, however he later had his best time disallowed for gaining an unfair advantage, dropping him to second on the grid behind Jack Aitken.
Mason needn’t have worried though, a superb launch saw him sweep past Aitken into Paddock Hill for the first time, with Aitken just fending off Fortec Motorsport team-mate Seb Morris and a quick starting Joe Ghanem.
Leading into Druids for the first time, Mason was the first to find out just how tricky the conditions were, the leader sliding wide but just holding on to the advantage, with Aitken also drifting out, slipping to third behind Morris.
Morris was instantly on the rear of the leader and the Ginetta Ambassador seized the advantage coming out of Clark Curve and along the start-finish straight. Though Mason re-gained the lead briefly at Druids, Morris was back ahead at Graham Hill, though it lasted just the length of the Cooper Straight, as a mistake at Surtees saw him run a long way wide, dropping him to eighth.
This promoted Ghanem into second, however he was the next to get caught out in the conditions, the Lebanese racer spinning onto the grass at Graham Hill, dropping him back to the back of the field. Behind, the congested midfield also claimed a number of victims, with Ryan Cullen spinning at Sheene, before contact sent Gustav Malja into the barriers at Clearways.
As Chris Middlehurst tried to chase down Mason at the front, Morris was starting his recovery drive through the field, passing Cameron Twynham. It went wrong a couple of laps later though as he chased down Michael Epps, a spin at Graham Hill Bend losing him three places.
Morris was straight back on the offensive though, passing Twynham first and then Luke Williams, the latter having to pit soon after with a flapping engine cover.
At the front, Mason had managed to shake off Middlehurst and cruised to the line to take his second ever win in the category, with Middlehurst finishing up 2.8 seconds adrift. Aitken completed the podium in third, his second of the weekend.
A final lap driveshaft failure for Epps meant it was Morris who took fourth, while Matthew Brabham produced a superb recovery drive to bounce back from an opening lap spin to finish fifth. Twynham took sixth, while George Gamble capped off a competitive BARC debut weekend in seventh.
Cullen took eighth, while Hongwei Cao was another to recover from a first lap spin to take ninth, with Australian rookie Olly Rae completing the top ten.
The weekend’s results means the top of the Winter Series standings couldn’t be closer heading into the second and final pair of races at Rockingham on November 10th. Mason and Morris sit atop the points with 54 apiece, with Aitken and Middlehurst a single point behind.