Honours shared in T&T as SR3 Cup goes regional

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 Stuart Maloney of Barbados is the early leader of the Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup (RCC), following two race wins in last weekend’s (June 23/24) opening round at the Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway in Trinidad & Tobago. Honours were shared, however, as the new regional series launched: Maloney’s brother Mark established the Qualifying Record for the 1.4-kilometre track, while hometown teenage sensation Isa Deen claimed the Race Record and an impressive maiden victory on his SR3 debut.

  The first of four rounds of the RCC, which caters for the Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 SR running to the same rules that have prevailed in Barbados since 2015, ran alongside the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship’s (CMRC) second round, organised by the T&T Automobile Sports Association (TTASA). After Friday free practice, Saturday’s programme included Qualifying and Race 1, with two more races on Sunday.

  Familiar with the track layout from previous CMRC outings in his Mazda RX-3, Mark Maloney’s pole position did not come as a surprise, as the rest of the six-car field dialled themselves in to either a new venue or, in the case of 15-year-old Deen, a new car. Even so, times were close, Maloney’s 40.310s establishing the SR3 Cup Qualifying Record within a second of the CMRC Group 4 pole time (39.580s) set by Guyana’s Mark Vieira (Mazda RX-8), who was also back in SR3 Cup action for the first time in two years. Maloney’s brother Stuart was just four-tenths adrift, with Vieira, Suleman Esuf of Barbados and Deen all within 1.3secs of the pole time; unusually off the pace was multiple SR3 Cup Champion Sean Maloney, who had issues with visibility all weekend.

  In Saturday’s race, Mark Maloney was unable to capitalise on his pole position after contact with ‘Sol’ Esuf on lap one dropped him to the back, which left his brother Stuart in a lead he was not to lose. Sean Maloney made the most of the tangle to charge in to second place, ahead of Vieira, although the Guyanese driver then slipped behind an impressive Deen; the local teenager dropped to last at half-distance, however, after he and Esuf made contact. Mark Maloney recovered to split brothers Stuart and Sean on the podium, just seven-tenths covering the trio at the chequered flag. With a clear track ahead of him, Deen’s best time (37.964s), set on lap 10, established the SR3 Cup Race Record. All but Sean Maloney and Vieira were below the previous Outright Lap Record of Gerard Carrington (39.494s – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII), although Mark Maloney had by then lowered that to 37.855s in his CMRC Gp5-spec Radial SR3 RSX.

  While Vieira’s decision to concentrate on CMRC Gp4 reduced the field to five for Sunday’s races, the competition remained close. Stuart Maloney carried his total of SR3 Cup wins to 15 in the day’s first encounter, placing him back at the top of the ‘most wins’ list; he was chased home by Deen – for his first SR3 Cup podium finish – and brother Mark, just over 1.2secs covering them at the flag.

  The final SR3 Cup race followed one of the day’s intermittent showers, leaving standing water in a number of key areas of the track. After a very slow start, Deen was dead last, passing Esuf for third on lap two, while Sean Maloney retired to the pits. Making the best of his familiarity with the track – Deen won TTASA’s Gp1 Championship in a Honda Civic Type-R last year – the teenager set about chasing down the remaining Maloney brothers; he passed Stuart on lap six, then took the lead from Mark on lap 10, pulling away to win by a little over 7secs, around half the main straight.

  While there were naturally huge celebrations among the local fans, the teenager drew praise from other quarters, including Sean Maloney, who had previously raced that car: “Isa is a good young driver. He has done quite a few karting events at Bushy Park over the last two years, always having a good battle with Joshua [Maloney]. He will only get quicker and quicker now, as his family have a good approach to the sport and will help him develop properly.”

Radical Caribbean SR3 Cup, round 1

Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway, T&T (June 23/24)

Qualifying:
Pole – Mark Maloney (BAR) - Rock Hard Cement/Bushy Park Barbados Radical SR3 RS, 40.310s, 125.031kmh/77.69mph (establishes Qualifying Record) 2nd - Stuart Maloney (BAR) - Bushy Park Barbados Radical SR3 RS, + 0.445s 3rd - Mark Vieira (GUY) - Radical SR3 RS, + 0.951s 4th - Suleman Esuf (BAR) - Express Imports/S Y Adams/Prosales Radical SR3 RS, + 0.971s 5th - Isa Deen (T&T) - Fast Parts/Torco Race Fuels/Car Boutique/Redline Oils/ Richtune/Bhola's Marketing Radical SR3 RS, + 1.286s 6th - Sean Maloney (BAR) - Bushy Park Barbados Radical SR3 RS, + 3.180s

Race 1 (12 laps): 1st Stuart Maloney, 9m 35.671s; 2nd Mark Maloney, + 0.525s; 3rd Sean Maloney, + 0.695s; 4th Esuf, + 2.616s; 5th Vieira, + 5.415s; 6th Deen, + 7.195s. Fastest lap: Deen, 37.964s, 132.757kmh/82.49mph (establishes Race Record)

Race 2 (12 laps): 1st Stuart Maloney, 9m 47.327s; 2nd Deen, no gap, transponder not working; 3rd M Maloney, + 1.243s; 4th Esuf, + 5.025s; 5th Sean Maloney, + 23.692s. Fastest lap: M Maloney, 38.048s, 132.464kmh/82.31mph

Race 3 (15 laps): 1st Deen, 11m 16.103s; 2nd M Maloney, + 7.189s; 3rd Stuart Maloney, + 10.881s; 4th Esuf, + 2 laps; dnf Sean Maloney. Fastest lap: Deen, 41.307s, 122.013kmh/75.82mph

Points after round 1: 1st Stuart Maloney 65pts; 2nd Deen 51pts; 3rd M Maloney 51pts; 4th Esuf 36 points; 5th Sean Maloney 25pts; 6th Vieira 10pts

Qualifying rounds:
Jun 23/24, Frankie Boodram Wallerfield International Raceway (T&T);
Jul 7, Bushy Park National Circuit (BAR) – Night Races;
Sep 1/2, Bushy Park International Circuit (BAR);
Nov 10/11, South Dakota (GUY)

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