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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Faye Noble-Evans returns to the podium, Sarah Thomson leads laps at Brands Hatch

Faye Noble-Evans claimed back-to-back podium finishes to start the Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup season with a third-place result in race one, while Sarah Thomson was the star of race two and charged from fifth to the race lead before a track limit penalty dropped her to fifth.

Faye Noble-Evans, Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup, 2024 Brands Hatch
Photo credits: Gary Hawkins

The Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup returned to action at Brands Hatch with a spectacular day of racing on the Grand Prix Circuit. Faye Noble-Evans made it back-to-back podium finishes to start the season with a third-place result in race one, while Sarah Thomson was the star of race two.

Thomson charged from fifth to the race lead, withstanding the pressure from her rivals to take the checkered flag first, however a track limits penalty dropped her to fifth. Sarah Wood continued her development and achieved a best result of 15th in the highly competitive one-make series.

Brands Hatch marked the second round of the Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup, with the trio of female drivers opening their season at Donington Park. It was an encouraging event for all, with Noble-Evans starring by claiming a podium finish while showing speed to contend for race victories. Thomson ran consistently in the top half of the midfield and was aiming to move into the top-5, while Wood displayed improved pace compared to the 2023 season as she battled hard with her rivals.

Qualifying was the first session to take place on Saturday and was a shortened session of just twelve-minutes following an incident in a previous session. This meant that getting up to speed on the challenging Brands Hatch Grand Prix layout would be difficult, however Thomson was immediately on the pace with her first flying lap taking her to the top of the time sheets.

She remained in contention for pole position throughout, ending the session in third place. Noble-Evans built up her speed well and set the fifth fastest time with an excellent final lap of the session. Also improving in the closing stages, Wood’s best time saw her qualify in 19th with further progress looking likely in the two races to follow.

Race one got underway with all three drivers dropping positions in the early exchanges, however the race was quickly red flagged which enabled them to have a second chance at the start. The restarted race took place over a shorter distance, however all three drivers took full advantage and made excellent getaways. Noble-Evans moved into third, with Thomson directly behind in fourth, while Wood rose two places from her original starting spot to run in 17th position.

Sarah Wood was on the move as she overtook Ben Grewcock for 16th and was targeting a spot inside the top-15. A more defensive drive was needed from Noble-Evans in her quest to hold onto a second podium finish of the season, with frontrunning driver Wayne Gregory applying the pressure. Gregory had just overtaken Thomson for fourth, with Sarah holding down fifth position.

Wood was inside the top-15 by the end of lap four and she was able to hold this position to the checkered flag with some nice driving on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. Likewise, Noble-Evans enjoyed an excellent race to hold off Gregory, by just two tenths of a second, to collect podium finishes in successive meetings. It was a season’s best result for Thomson who brought her Porsche Boxster home in fifth position, showing speed to challenge the podium finishers.

Race two of the weekend was also ran over a reduced distance following earlier timetable delays, with the grid set by the driver’s second fastest times in qualifying. This saw Sarah Thomson line up from second, Faye Noble-Evans from sixth and Sarah Wood from 17th. It was a challenging start for the trio, with Thomson dropping to fifth, Noble-Evans to eighth and Wood to 20th.

Sarah Thomson, Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup, 2024 Brands Hatch
Photo credits: Sarah Thomson

Nonetheless, it was set to be an action-packed final race of the weekend.

Settling into their positions, Thomson was the first to make her move and following a personal best time on lap four, she was now only three seconds away from the lead. Sensing a step on the podium was within reach, Sarah set the fastest lap of the race on lap five as she moved into fourth. Noble-Evans remained in eighth and was defending from Mike Thompson as he applied pressure to the race one podium finisher.

Thomson was continuing her impressive charge and on lap six she had moved into second, ahead of both Wayne Gregory and Perry Darling. A superb overtake on Graham Heard then saw her take the race lead, however Sarah received a five second penalty for track limits which would mean a podium finish would now be challenging.

Noble-Evans was successfully keeping Thompson behind her, however Barrington Darcy moved ahead. Taking the checkered flag in tenth position, Faye was promoted to ninth after a five-second penalty for Scott Evans saw him finish one place behind. Sarah Wood was enjoying some brilliant battles in the midfield, moving ahead of Stuart Warner on lap eight before finishing in 18th position while setting her quickest time on the final lap of the race.

Sarah Thomson was still at the head of the field and doing a superb job to manage the pressure from her more experienced rivals behind. It was a landmark race for Thomson who took the checkered flag first, however dropped to fifth position on corrected times. Nonetheless, Sarah displayed brilliant speed and racecraft which will encourage her heading into the remainder of the season.

It was another excellent event for the trio of female drivers in the Woods Foodservice Boxster Cup at Brands Hatch. Sarah Thomson displayed race-winning pace and showed fantastic racecraft to put herself in a position to claim a maiden victory. Faye Noble-Evans continued her strong start to the season and doubled her podium tally with an excellent third in race one.

Meanwhile, Sarah Wood should be extremely pleased with her continued progress and will be aiming for a top-10 result at the next round of the championship which takes place at Oulton Park on Saturday 29th June.

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