Power Maxed Racing driver Jake Taylor impressed in the opening round of the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, as the MSA British Rallycross Championship and supporting categories got the 2016 season underway with a bang on Sunday (March 6).
Making his debut for the PMR team, Taylor secured a semi-final victory and challenged for the lead in the final, eventually finishing fourth in the highly-competitive field. The 18-year old MSA Academy student got to grips with his new Swift at the most Northerly venue on the championship’s calendar and worked hard with the team on the setup of the car in free practice and the opening qualifying races of the day.
Picking up his pace throughout the event, at the circuit that brought his first Swift Sport podium at the end of 2015, Taylor qualified for semi-final two. The Retford driver made a fantastic start to lead the field into turn one, and controlled the race from the front for the duration of the six laps, maintaining a margin of over two seconds to his rivals.
Starting in the middle of the front row for the all-important final, Taylor again made a brilliant start and started to ease ahead in the dash to the first corner. Aidan Hills started on pole position, and held the inside line into turn one, Taylor slotting into second as the pack headed for the loose section for the first time of asking. Taylor pushed Hills hard in the opening two laps, vying for the lead. The top four, (including Jack Brown and Nathan Heathcote, running behind the leading duo in the opening stages) were involved in a race-long battle, Taylor eventually winding up fourth as the leading quartet from the 14-strong Swift Sport entry crossed the finish line.
“We set some fantastic times through the day and to finish fourth overall is a brilliant way to kick start the season,” said Taylor. “I’m really happy with that. The car feels spot on and it’s been brilliant to work with the whole team, who have given me a lot of support and guidance. We made a few setup changes after practice and kept making tweaks, the car just got better and better as the day progressed.”
“I was able to control the pace in the semi-final,” Taylor continued, “which was important for us. To win a semi-final the first time with this new format is a great achievement, and gave me a strong starting position in the final. I made a good start in the final and I was trying to find a way to pass Aidan but he defended really well. Our battle let Jack and Nathan get in on the fight for the lead. It was really close all race and I’m incredibly happy to have scored a strong result against some of the fastest drivers in the class. This is a great start to the year.”
The result puts Taylor fourth in the championship standings after the opening round. Power Maxed Racing team principal, Adam Weaver, was pleased with Taylor’s performance on his first event with the team. “We see great things in Jake, it’s unlucky that we were just off the podium in the final, however this is Jake's best result to date when a full field has crossed the finish line,” said Weaver. “It stands us in good stead for the championship and we look forward to developing him further as the season develops.”
Final results, Round One, Croft:
- 1 Aiden Hills
- 2 Jack Brown
- 3 Nathan Heathcote
- 4 Jake Taylor
- 5 Simon Ovenden
- 6 Christian Hainsworth
- 7 Drew Bellerby
- 8 Andrew Hawkes
Championship standings after round one:
- 1 Aiden Hills 32
- 2 Jack Brown 27
- 3 Nathan Heathcote 25
- 4 Jake Taylor 23
- 5 Simon Ovenden 21
- 6 Christian Hainsworth 19
- 7 Drew Bellerby 18
- 8 Andrew Hawkes 17
The second round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place at Lydden Hill (March 27 – 28).