Brands Hatch brings third win of the season for Dan Zelos
The second round of the Mini Challenge 2023 brought another weekend of action, with Dan Zelos securing his third victory of the season so far.
He arrived at Brands Hatch in a different vehicle due to his original Mini having been written off at Donington when Sam Smith crashed into him, but that didn’t stop Zelos.
Having quickly adapted to his new set of wheels, Zelos managed to achieve the eight fastest laps of the session in opening practice, plus a second consecutive pole position and record-equalling sixth of his career, accompanied by six bonus points.
Race one started strong, as despite early pressure from Joe Tanner and Will Orton, Zelos was more than 6.5 seconds clear of his nearest rival. With just 3 minutes left on the clock and the wet weather worsening, the red flags donned the track, putting an end to the race and giving Zelos a 9th Mini Challenge win and fastest lap.
By race two the weather had improved and it was another battle between Zelos and Orton, putting a gap of 10 seconds between themselves and their next closest competitor. Having extended his advantage to over a second, things were looking promising until a puncture sent Zelos to the pits in the final quarter of the race, relegating him to 19th place for the final race.
Aware that there was still an uphill battle ahead in the final race, Zelos made up 7 places on the first lap alone putting him in 8th, but the safety car was summoned shortly after which gave Zelos the chance to climb to 5th, and eventually resulting in a 4th place finish.
Commenting on the weekend, Dan said:
“EXCELR8 Motorsport did an incredible job in getting the spare car built, prepped and wrapped in time for the race weekend. It felt a bit alien being in a different car as I’d had mine for four years, but I have to say, it was mega.
“Qualifying was tricky. The conditions were tough and we had to make sure we were on-track when it was at its best while managing the tyres as they kept wanting to overheat. Getting a lap in with all the traffic around the Brands Indy circuit is difficult, but we got the job done. I knew it wasn’t the perfect lap either, so I went into race one with a fair degree of confidence that we still had a bit more pace in-hand.
“Victory was the perfect way to bounce back from Donington. It was great to show that we were immediately back in business and back where we should be, and that no matter what car we’re in, we can win.
“It’s my home circuit next, and we’ll come out fighting at Snetterton. Hopefully we can finally get through a full weekend without any issues – we can’t afford any more dropped scores now, so every race has to count. Also, I’ve finished on the podium at Snetterton on multiple occasions but have never won there, so it’s time to put that statistic to bed...”
Dan will next compete at Snetterton on 20th-21st May.
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