Challenge winners Sam Ward (Coles Racing) and Josh Collings (CRG UK) both had to play second fiddle to Charlie Turner (Coles Racing) and Ryan Norris (TMR Development) in Saturday’s timed qualifying session while Turner went on to take his first win of the year in heat 1, beating Ethan Patterson (Vital Motorsport) to the line by 1s with Norris retiring with a snapped chain.
Norris made amends in heat 2, winning comfortably from Turner and Lincoln Newby (Independent) but in the final it was Ward who forged his way to the front from 7th on the grid, his tyres slightly fresher than everyone else’s after a heat two DNF.
Leading comfortably at one point, Ward was gradually reeled in by a charging Norris and Turner but some stout defence over the final few laps saw him hold on by 0.4s for his second Challenge win of the year. Turner grabbed 2nd from Norris in the closing moments and earned himself a place on the Lohen Scholarship shootout in the process while the top seven finishers were separated by less than 3s after 22 hard laps.
Ward inherited pole position in Sunday’s timed qualifying session after original pole sitter Norris fell foul off the tyre rotation rule and was relegated to the back of the grid for the two heats and he took full advantage of his ascension to pole to lead heat 1 from start to finish, successfully rebuking a sustained challenge from AIM Motorsport teammates Callum Pointon and Jordan Lewis.
Norris threw caution to the wind in heat 2, taking advantage of a collision between Ward and Collings to snatch the lead from Pointon and record a remarkable last to first victory, one which helped put him on the outside of the front row of the grid for the final.
Pole sitter Pointon led the field to the start of Sunday’s Challenge Final but from 3rd on the grid Ward took less than a lap to take the lead as Norris lost ground. By the time Norris scrabbled past Pointon Ward was 4s in front and despite putting in a series of stunningly fast laps he couldn’t completely close the gap to the leader and Ward earned his third FKS Challenge win in four attempts by a fraction over 1s.