Teams G3Pro 2016 Season Finale
Team G3Pro headed into the final race of the championship at Buckmore Park back in November looking to finish on a high after a tough season.
The duo of Matt Hale and Barry Luetchford were hoping for a clean start after a poor qualifying session, which saw them start back in 28th position and 9th in class. And, at the start of the race, Barry was able to steadily progress up the order with a string of excellent overtaking moves and pitted to Matt for the first round of pits stops in P19.
Over the 113-lap race, both G3Pro drivers put on a master class in driver skill in terrible conditions and were able to move into 13th overall and 4th in class. Towards the final 20 minutes the team were closing in on a podium finish – however this wasn’t to be!
Matt, out for the final stint of the day, was lapping comfortably with only a few laps remaining until disaster struck the team – they were hit with the fifth mechanical issue of the season when the throttle spring snapped causing the kart to go full power with no means to stop.
Matt spun out into the tyre wall but at least was able to nurse it home for the remaining laps to finish in 23rd and 7th in class. This meant that team G3Pro finished the 2017 Championship in 4th position.
Barry said: “I was disappointed to finish the season in the way we did but it was the story of our year. Five mechanical faults with the kart over five rounds is unheard of in Club100, and translates to five race meets in which we scored almost no points. Our final championship position of 4th highlights, however, how well we did in the other six rounds.”
Meanwhile Team Farecla G3Pro, made up of other Luetchford brothers Stewart and Craig had a chance of taking third in the championship.
Greeted by rain in the afternoon, the team went out in practice looking to get on the pace quickly but this wasn’t to be. Both drivers noticed some underlying issues with the engine performance and felt they weren’t quick enough overall, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for adjustments before the qualifying session start. Both drivers were correct in thinking they had issues with the kart, with the team ending the qualifying session in 22nd place from 28th.
With the qualifying session over, Stewart headed straight to the pits for the Club100 mechanics to work their magic and make a couple of tweaks to the kart. With the adjustments made, Stewart headed out onto the circuit and immediately noticed a big performance gain and knew the team now had the tools to move forward in the race.
Stewart said: “It wasn’t ideal starting from the back. I knew that we had our work cut out although we’d been in the same situation at Ellough Park for round 10 so I knew it was possible to salvage something from this race. We just had to keep calm and play the long game whilst staying composed with my driving style and not make any rash manoeuvres, and try and make my way forward as quickly as possible. I think I gained around seven places before the first round of pit stops so I was very pleased with that.”
Next out in on track was Craig who gave another outstanding performance. He said: “We were in 15th place by the time I got out on track and I knew it was going to be difficult to move forward. The teams in front are all very experienced and would be on the pace but with that said, I knew that me and Stewart had a little more ability and speed and our pit strategy as ever was strong.”
Over the 98-lap race, the Team Farecla G3pro drivers both put in an outstanding performance and were able to make up 15 places to finish once again on the podium in second place. It couldn’t help feeling bitter sweet though – the team’s great result led to a three-way tie on points for the Championship and unfortunately on count back (most podiums finishes) the team ended the year fourth in the Championship.
Matt said: “I’m proud of all the guys in both Team G3Pro and Team Farecla G3Pro– Barry, Stewart, and Craig – all did an amazing job this season. Between our two teams this season we picked up seven podiums finishes which include two race wins, three seconds, and two thirds. It’s fair to say that we faced a lot of different challenges this year and it shows how far we’ve come and that we can’t be too disappointed finishing fourth in two championships.
“We’d like to thank our sponsors G3 Pro for giving us the opportunity to fly the flag for the brand; our supporters, for turning out to races and following us online; our fellow competitors for the challenge and camaraderie; John Patterson who took these amazing set of pictures; our families who have to put up with hours on end of race talk and being away from children!”
See you in 2018 for a Special G3 championship challenge!