Barbados’ Zane Maloney is the early leader of the 2020 Radical Caribbean Cup (RCC), following a hat-trick of race wins in yesterday’s opening round at Bushy Park Barbados.
On his way to building a 26-point lead over 2018 regional champion Stuart Maloney in the five-round series, he also set new qualifying and race records, improving on times set more than two years ago.
After two free practice sessions, qualifying began without Trinidad & Tobago’s (T&T) Zachary Boodram, whose car had developed engine problems which left him on the sidelines for the day.
Mark Maloney was the first to complete a flying lap of 61.780 seconds before 16-year-old Zane punched in the first sub-60 second lap, then chipped away as the 10-minute session ran its course, breaking the qualifying record for a third time with an eventual 57.660 seconds, more than half-a-second better than the previous mark set by his father Sean in 2018.
T&T’s Kristian Boodoosingh, who finished third in the 2019 RCC, was impressive throughout, improving on his previous personal best by six-tenths to finish second, nine-tenths behind Zane.
Brothers Stuart and Mark Maloney occupied the second row, with the returning Suleman Esuf fifth quickest, ahead of Boodoosingh’s T&T team-mate Luke Bhola.
Hampered by a down-on-power engine, Sean Maloney was seventh, with England’s Brian Caudwell eighth and the grid completed by newcomer Raymond Seebarran of Guyana.
Starting from the southern grid, Boodoosingh made a better start than pole man Zane, taking the lead downhill into the ‘W’s, and retaining it for two laps until an electrical fault caused his retirement in a similar fashion to his demise in last year’s opening round.
As the teenager eased away for a winning margin of 7.8 seconds, Stuart and Mark Maloney battled race-long, with the former finishing second and the latter third, while Esuf and Sean Maloney also tussled in close formation, until a brave challenge at the ‘W’s saw Maloney spin and run on to the grass, while Esuf carried on to finish fourth. Caudwell was fifth, not a points-scorer under the Cup’s invited driver regulations, while Bhola and Seebarran finished sixth and seventh respectively, collecting the first points towards the new Nations Cup for T&T and Guyana respectively.
Zane was the first driver to benefit from the additional point for fastest lap with a new race record of 58.068 seconds, five-hundredths better than Mark Maloney’s 2017 mark and also a new outright lap record for the 2.01-kilometre international circuit.
Caudwell and Sean Maloney sat on the front row of the reversed grid for the second race, Bhola and Esuf on row two, with Mark and Stuart Maloney on row three, while at the back were Zane and Boodoosingh.
Caudwell made a confident start, holding the lead for six laps until he was swamped by those behind. He eventually retired mid-way through lap seven, as Zane assumed the lead.
It lasted only three laps, however, before his uncle Mark squeezed past at the ‘W’s, running nose-to-tail until Zane snatched the lead back at the Esses on the final lap.
Based on points scored in the first two races, Zane and Mark Maloney were on the front row for the day’s final encounter. Stuart Maloney and Esuf sat on row two, Sean Maloney and Bhola on row three, with Boodoosingh and Caudwell at the back.
Another good start from the pole-sitter saw him take the lead, which he held for four laps until passed by Mark, who was eventually overtaken by Stuart just before the halfway mark in a big shuffle, which also benefited Boodoosingh, who had made good progress from the back of the grid to slot into fourth behind Esuf.
Two laps from home, Esuf’s car switched into safe mode, forcing him to retire and promoting Boodoosingh to third behind Zane Maloney, who had taken the lead from his uncle Stuart on the last lap.
The next round will be held on June 28 at the Frankie Boodram International Raceway in Wallerfield, Trinidad.
Driver’s points after round 1: 1st Z Maloney 77 points; 2nd Stuart Maloney 51pts; 3rd M Maloney 46pts; 4th Sean Maloney 28pts; 5th Esuf 26pts; 6th Boodoosingh 25pts; 7th Bhola 18pts; 8th Seebarran 8pts
Nations Cup points after round 1: 1st Barbados 75 points; 2nd Trinidad & Tobago 36pts; 4th Guyana 15pts.
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