​Solid start for racer James Wood in Spain

James Wood leads the way into a corner in Spain. Photo by James Beckett.James Wood leads the way into a corner in Spain. Photo by James Beckett.
James Wood leads the way into a corner in Spain. Photo by James Beckett.
​James Wood made a solid start to his participation in the 2023 Michelin Le Mans Cup at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in Spain last weekend.

Driving for the Steller Motorsport team in their Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 with reigning British GT4 champion, Sennan Fielding, Wood was making his first appearance at the Spanish circuit.

Having been unable to drive the car extensively, and with only limited running available at the technical track that plays host to the Spanish F1 Grand Prix before the race, Wood used the whole event very much as an extended test session to aid his preparation for future Le Mans cup and GT3 races.

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Qualifying the car 12th fastest in class, Wood took the start of the near two hour race for the team, and instantly made up places in the number 42 Audi at the first corner when a multi-car collision involving numerous LMP3 prototype cars eliminated track rivals.

Race officials deployed the safety car to allow track marshals time to clear cars away and ready the circuit for competition once more, although sadly after the restart further interventions became very much the story of the race. Wood's time in the car was continually interrupted by safety car cautions, and the local racer handed over driving duties to Sennan Fielding as the clock approached fifty minutes.

Fielding was also delayed behind the safety car during his stint, losing almost a lap to the GT3 leaders in the process, but was eventually able to bring the Steller car home in tenth position in the GT3 class, 29th overall at the fall of the flag.

The GT3 category was won by Arnold Robin and Valentin Hasse-Clot in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3, with overall victory going to the Team Virage LMP3 of Julien Gerbi and Gillian Henrion.

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The Automobile Club de l'Ouest organised Michelin Le Mans Cup is set to continue with two races at the Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans in June. Two one-hour 'Road to Le Mans' races will act as lead support races to the centenary anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

*Quainton's Mark Biswell leads the NG Road Racing Club Pre Injection 600 Championship following last weekend's event at the Castle Combe Circuit in Wiltshire. Riding his Bizzle Bikesport Yamaha FZR600R, Biswell won his class in one of three races at the fast former airfield circuit to maintain his strong start to the 2023 season.

Biswell now leads his championship with a total of 128 points, 32 clear of nearest rival, Lewis Rees.

* Tom Ingram started the defence of his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship title at a rain-soaked Donington Park on Sunday. The EXCELR8 Hyundai TradePrice Cars racerscored a best result of second from his three starts to record a total of 40 points during the season opening weekend. Ingram said, "This was a solid start to the season, with races taking place in difficult conditions." Dan Cammish (NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus) won twice to take an early season lead, with the BTCC continuing at Brands Hatch in just under a fortnight.

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