Max Esterson took a maiden National FF1600 victory in a thrilling weekend opener at the Silverstone National circuit.
The race featured a five-way lead battle early on, before a collision between Low Dempsey Racing’s Esterson and Don Hardman Racing’s Foster spun the latter down the order, with B-M Racing’s Rory Smith also losing several places.
Esterson then triumphed after a late three-way fight with Team Dolan’s Chris Middlehurst and Kevin Mills Racing’s Alex Walker, the lead trio separated by less than half a second at the chequered flag.
Foster led away from pole at the start, but immediately came under pressure from Esterson, who moved around the outside of Smith into Copse.
Middlehurst also passed Smith for third, and then made a double overtake on Esterson and Foster into Becketts to take the lead on the third lap.
Championship leader Walker moved up the order from sixth on the grid, passing Foster and Esterson to move into second, and made a couple of attempts into Becketts to pass Middlehurst, who remained in front.
Esterson wrestled back second from Walker at Becketts on lap six, before Walker fought back into Copse on the next tour and then took the lead away from Middlehurst at Becketts.
Having come out on top in an early battle for fourth with Smith, Foster moved past Esterson into third.
With less than five minutes remaining, Esterson tried to retake the place into Becketts, but contact spun Foster down the order, with FFord Festival winner Smith dropping to 10th after taking evasive action.
A three-way fight for the win raged over the remaining laps, with Esterson taking second from Middlehurst at Copse with three laps to go, and took Walker for the lead one corner later.
Middlehurst took advantage to nip past Walker into second, before pressuring Esterson at the front. But Esterson held off Middlehurst to win by 0.131s, with Walker just behind in third.
KMR team–mates Thomas Mills and Lukas Romanek finished a couple of seconds further behind in fourth and fifth after a close battle, both benefitting from a late spin for Oldfield Motorsport’s Carter Williams at Copse.
Smith recovered to sixth, ahead of Team Dolan’s Morgan Quinn, KMR’s Megan Gilkes, LDR’s Colin Queen and Foster.
B-M’s Jamie Sharp, Oldfield’s Jamie Vinall-Meyer and Dolan’s Ben Cochran finished down the order after early spins.
Race results (15 laps)
|1||Max Esterson||Low Dempsey Racing||15m37.559s|
|2||Chris Middlehurst||Team Dolan||+0.131s|
|3||Alex Walker||Kevin Mills Racing||+0.622s|
|4||Thomas Mills||Kevin Mills Racing||+1.909s|
|5||Lucas Romanek||Kevin Mills Racing||+2.716s|
|6||Rory Smith||B-M Racing||+3.334s|
|7||Morgan Quinn||Team Dolan||+3.609s|
|8||Megan Gilkes||Kevin Mills Racing||+3.952s|
|9||Colin Queen||Low Dempsey Racing||+5.044s|
|10||Joey Foster||Don Hardman Racing||+12.617s|
|11||Andre Lafond||Low Dempsey Racing||+14.289s|
|13||Jamie Sharp||B-M Racing||+16.777s|
|14||Carter Williams||Oldfield Motorsport||+27.161s|
|15||Jamie Vinall-Meyer||Oldfield Motorsport||+43.904s|
|16||Benjamin Cochran||Team Dolan||+46.131s|
|Fastest lap: Walker, 1m01.523s|