After being crowned Vice Champion last year, Freddie Slater (GBR) was out for a win and nothing else in 2019. Starting from pole position in the Final he gave himself the best possible chance at doing just that, but would have tough competition around him including Brandon Carr (GBR) who would start from second after gaining 20 places in the Pre Final.
Slater’s time in the lead would be short lived with a fast starting Harry Burgoyne (GBR) quickly up to second before taking the lead at the end of the back straight on lap two. Slater seemed happy to sit in behind Burgoyne, but would soon have a decision to make with Carr closing in on the pair of them.
Eventually Slater’s decision was to repass Burgoyne which he would do on lap four, with Burgoyne repaying the favour a lap later. His intention to get back passed was understandable with six drivers now queuing up to make it an eight-way fight for the lead of the race.
Included were Kean Nakamura-Berta (JPN), Sebastiano Pavan (ITA), Leo Robinson (GBR), Christian Miles (USA) and Miguel Costa (ITA). To avoid having to deal with the drivers behind Slater pulled off a great move at turn four to put himself back at the front of the field with changes happening further down in the lead group.
With four laps to go Slater was now forced to get on the defensive from Carr, who had passed Burgoyne, and Nakamura-Berta was able to read the situation and went for a dive around the outside and turns four and five. Whilst this was happening to his inside Carr and Slater went wheel to wheel which saw Slater run over the grass and Carr get passed by the freight train behind.
Nakamura-Berta emerged in the lead and with an immediate gap and was now in the driving seat with just over three laps to go. Pavan was second with Burgoyne third, but the gap to Nakamura-Berta was almost two seconds which was enough to convince Burgoyne to go into second.
For any Nakamura-Berta supporters that was an encouraging sign with the race for second now starting to get very exciting. The Minis raced as hard for second as they would have done for the win and it was fantastic to watch with passing at almost every corner. In a frantic seventh lap Miles appeared in second with Slater third.
Slater soon slipped passed Miles taking teammate Robinson with him as the last lap board was being prepared for Nakamura-Berta out front. It would have felt like a long lap for the Japanese driver and even longer for the supporters, but he had grabbed an opportunity in this race with both hands and turned it into a convincing win!
A brilliant drive having come from seventh on the grid and he would be joined on the podium by teammates Slater and Robinson.
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