PEP Brown and Sam Cox powered to their first National Endurance victory of the season at Anglesey as they snatched the championship lead from KT Motorsport.
The Team Army 1 duo came out on top after a four-hour battle to take the win this weekend at the Welsh track, crossing the line 49s ahead of Rye Motors Racing.
But a shake-up in the order means that while Cox and Brown now lead the series by a single point, the top three – including Rye Motors’ Turner-Laurent brothers and the KT squad – are covered by just three points as No Limits heads into the second half of its season.
The pole-sitting Army duo got the best start and grabbed an early lead over RTS Racing and Donington winners Rye Motors Racing, but a pit stop on lap 26 of the Coastal circuit allowed RTS to hit the front and suddenly, Team Army’s 15s advantage became a deficit.
At the hour mark, however, Team Army had caught up to the leaders and sliced their gap to less than a second, taking over moments later.
Another pit stop gave RTS the lead back, but yet again the military squad soon caught up and took over, holding station for nearly the entire second hour. But with just under 90 minutes remaining, safety cars were deployed as the pack bunched up.
With just over an hour left in the race, the battle was heating up between Team Army 1 and RTS as they gapped the field and dove into their own fight for victory.
The lead changed hands a number of times in the final 60 minutes, but with less than half a second separating RTS from the front-men and only 12 laps remaining, the safety car was once again called upon while marshals dealt with a fuel spill.
With not enough time remaining to clean up and restart action, a result was declared as Team Army 1 took their first win of 2018.
But in a turn of events, RTS Racing’s James Edwards, Andy Carpenter and Peter Hay were slapped with a two-lap penalty for overtaking during a safety car period, relegating them to third as Louis and Theo Turner-Laurent took second.
Team Trackday Tyres’ Gav Prosser, Neil Evans, Phil Abel and Lee Devonport bagged the Clubman 1000 win in fourth, a lap ahead of runners-up and series leaders Andrew Stockdale, Stephen Frizzell and Steven Bates for ON IT Racing.
Reigning Clubman 600 champs Pete Wright and Martyn Siviter of Double Two/Track Prep Racing had what they called a ‘dream weekend’, with a strategy that put them sixth overall and a place ahead of the National 600 leaders, Petemps Network Racing’s Colin Norris and Gaz Evans.
Army Team 2’s Carl Goodchild and Andrew Day rounded out the Clubman 1000 podium in eighth, while Datasys Racing and Team Fatherson completed the Clubman 600 rostrum in 10th and 18th, respectively.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (official team title – don’t blame us) – Lewis Buckerfield, Andrew Fisher and Derek Hutchinson – took second in the National 600 ranks in 12th overall, while the Minitwin-mounted crew of GBmoto Endurance, Max Smith-Halvorsen, Kasey Wyatt and Ben Harrison, took third in the National 600 class.
*Images: Alex James