RSS Feed

European Time Attack Masters – Full Coverage from UK

by on Oct.14, 2013, under Media, Race events


Below you could already read the coverage seen from Showoff Imports point of view. Now our friends from UK posted a full coverage of this event on their page, discussing all classes and drivers. It is a really cool article. (c) COPYRIGHT: Words: Dan Goodyer, Photos: Rich Sams & Dan Goodyer.

Direct link:

2013 European Time Attack Masters at Zandvoort

Just seven days after the conclusion of the 2013 UK Time Attack season, we find ourselves in the Netherlands for the first ever European Time Attack Masters. The idea is simple: Invite Time Attack cars from all around Europe to see who is fastest.

The venue for this first meeting is the twisting and technical Zandvoort circuit, on the West coast of the country right on the North Sea. Six cars from the UK Time Attack Championship are here to do battle against a range of cars and drivers, from local Dutch drivers with inside knowledge, to unknown quantities from as far as Finland and the Ukraine.

The cars are separated by just four classes – Four Wheel-Drive (4WD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), Front Wheel-Drive (FWD) and Naturally-Aspirated (NA). For this inaugural event, competitors can use any tyres they wish (including slicks) and pretty much anything goes – anti-lag, nitrous oxide injection, race fuel, the works. There aren’t any turbo restrictors here to slow the cars down After all, this isn’t Racing… this is Time Attack!

These are the UK Time Attack entrants into the 2013 European Time Attack Masters:

4WD – Gareth Lloyd – SVA Imports Mitsubishi Evo

4WD – Richard Marshall – HEL Performance/Rich Marshall Racing Mitsubishi Evo

4WD – Lee Bullen – Subaru Impreza

RWD – Simon Deaton – Porsche 911 Super Cup

RWD – Mike Cantelo – Vauxhall VX220

FWD – Tom Onslow Cole – Milltek Sport VW Golf GTI


Our opposition comes from all over Europe. It includes a Mitsubishi Evo all the way from the Ukraine, another Ukranian that competes in Russian Time Attack but is here driving a Dutch-built and slick-shod Impreza, plus a couple of Race Cars turned Time Attack weapons. This is going to be tough!

The entire weekend is called the “Syntix Speed Masters”. Saturday is a general test and trackday, with some drifting too. While the following day, Zandvoort plays host to both the European Time Attack Masters and the final round of the Dutch Time Attack season.


It’s early days for the European Time Attack Masters but Sofa, So Good..

This poses a problem for SVA Imports. Many UK Time Attack fans might be unaware that SVA Imports have been contesting the 2013 Dutch Time Attack Championship, alongside the UK series. The difference is that SVA Imports Director Neil Robertson has been driving the car in the Dutch competition, with Gareth Lloyd driving the car in the UK series. So tomorrow the pair will have to be swapping the drivers seat. The car will be on the go all day so it needs to be reliable. This weekend is going to be a serious test for the car and the technical team, not just the pair of drivers.



The first thing that strikes you about Zandvoort is the track itself. Constantly twisting, with shades of Tsukuba, Cadwell Park and Suzuka – it’s not an easy one to learn. Our drivers aren’t familiar with the track, so the first session is all about learning where it goes!

Vauxhall VX220 driver Mike Cantelo isn’t silly. He’s managed to get some help from a couple of enthusiastic Dutch members of a VX220 internet forum. Both are familiar with the track and one is the spitting image of four-time Formula One Champion Alain Prost, which is clearly an advantage. Time will tell if this Dutch version of “The Professor” will give Mike an edge.

Elsewhere, one UK Time Attack entrant has already pulled out of the event. It’s Bo Nielsen in his Astra VXR. We didn’t include Bo in the list of UK entrants, as he’s something of an inverse SVA – from The Netherlands but travelling to compete in the UK rounds. Bo suffered clutch issues at Brands Hatch that forced his retirement, and sadly it seems the same issue has forced him out again.


A second Speed Equipment car from the Netherlands takes Bo’s place (a 254bhp C20XE-powered Vauxhall Nova, called an Opel Corsa A across Europe – in the NA Class), driven by Alex de Jonge. The other Speed Equipment car is the Mk1 Golf of Ronald Winters, powered by a 2.0-litre 16v turbo engine from a Mk5 Golf (380bhp, 440NM).


Disappointingly, there’s no UK representative in the NA class (Where are you messrs Holden, Bamford and Procter?), but a bright yellow and white KP61 Toyota Starlet has caught our eye. Young Finnish driver Mikko Kataja built the car as a final project for his Race Car Engineering degree at University. With just 190bhp it’s relatively underpowered, but it’s very light, has been put together with intelligence and Mikko knows how to drive. However, the home-built 1.6-litre 5K engine is bouncing off the limiter halfway down the main straight. Mikko raises the redline to 9,000rpm but still bounces the car off the top of fifth gear along the main straight, breaking a rocker arm and shearing a head stud in half too. Will he be able to get it fixed for tomorrow’s main event?



Elsewhere, a 700bhp Impreza from the Netherlands is taking to the track. It’s built by Jeroentjen Tuning, owned by Misha Charoudin and has Ukranian Dmitry Ryzhak behind the wheel. Dmitry is a Russian Time Attack Champion, winning in an R35 GT-R and is in the hunt for this year’s title with one round remaining, driving a Porsche 997 Turbo. However, those cars use street tyres. So the Dunlop slicks are new to both the Impreza and Dmitry, as is the track. Plus, Dmitry has never driven at Zandvoort before, so he’s got a steep learning curve to climb. No times are being taking today but he looks quick.

There’s a relatively large crowd of UK Time Attack staff and fans that have travelled to the event, and most of the drivers are giving passenger rides during the test sessions.


Porsche driver Simon Deaton about to take Gemma Watson for a high-speed tour of Zandvoort

Just as we’re gearing up for the last session of the day, it’s cancelled. There’s a few disappointed faces but not to worry. What is a worry is the appearance of the noise police. Zandvoort has a very strict drive-by noise limit of 92dB. The mic is situated on the last bend as it leads onto the main straight, and 92dB is relatively quiet. As the UK guys pack up for the day, word spreads that everyone is too noisy. We’re in trouble.

Rich Marshall manages to fit a down-turned extension piece to the side-exit exhaust on his new Mitsubishi Evo. It’s the first event Rich will drive the car, so he’s another driver learning both a new car and a new track.


He’s usually behind the wheel of the Milltek Sport VW Golf, but in Rich’s absence that’s being driven by BTCC driver Tom Onslow-Cole. Not a bad stand-in to be fair.


As word spreads though the garages, work begins on most of the cars. Theoretically, noise doubles in volume every 3 decibels and most of our guys are at least 3dB too loud, so drastic action is needed. SVA manage to get a couple down-turned extensions fabricated nearby, while the exhaust on Mike Cantelo’s VX220 is drilled to allow a small-diameter bung to be fitted. These exhaust restrictions are far from ideal, as they increase exhaust back pressure, in turn putting more stress on turbos and raising exhaust gas temperatures, which can cause engine damage. Still, everyone manages to find some solution to their problem. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


2013 Club Challenge FWD Runner-Up Will Watson takes a break from supporting the UK drivers, as our commentator Masaya “Maz” Yumeda of Japanese Tuning company HKS looks on




Twenty three cars line up for the ETAM Warm Up session. There are no points on offer today, it’s a straight fight for class victory. So most drivers are keeping a little something in reserve at this early stage. Rich Marshall crosses the start-finish line for the first time and his car sounds rough. Like it’s running on three cylinders. He returns to the pits and assesses the situation. It’s a misfire that’s developed into a mysterious clunking noise. The big-power engine is still under warranty, so Rich makes the tough decision to pull out of the event. He’ll do less damage which will hopefully make it easier to find the cause of the problem once the car is back in Blighty.


So we’re down to five UK entrants – Lloyd and Bullen in 4WD, Deaton and Cantelo in RWD, plus Onslow-Cole in FWD. The session ends without further incident and it’s Brits on top in 4WD (Lloyd, 1:50.309) and FWD (Onslow-Cole, 1:55.194), but it’s hard to know how hard everyone is pushing. Lloyd’s advantage is narrow over Finn Janne Niska, while our RWD guys are very close together, second and third in class. Surprisingly, Club Pro Vauxhall VX220 driver Mike Cantelo (Kumho V70a semi-slicks) is faster than Simon Deaton in the Pro Porsche Cup 911 (full slicks). A quick chat reveals everyone is driving cautiously to avoid the wrath of the noise police, but it’s a very interesting development.




Gareth Lloyd SVA Imports Mitsubishi Evo 1:50.309
Janne Niska ERM Subaru Impreza 1:50.642
Bas Plugge Mitsubishi Evo 1:57.800
Lee Bullen SD Motorsport Subaru Impreza 1:58.596
Dmitry Ryzhak Jeroentjen.NL Subaru Impreza 2:07.730
Peka Dmitriy Mitsubishi Evo 2:24.200
Richard Marshall HEL Performance Mitsubishi Evo N/A



Cor Euser Lotus Evora 1:55.464
Mike Cantelo Vauxhall VX220 1:57.138
Simon Deaton Motor Shop Stop Porsche 911 Super Cup 1:57.580
Lennard Wanders Nissan 350Z 2:05.294
Bruce Morris Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T 2:06.778
Kevin Go Pro-Imports Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R 2:10.655
Simon Bradford Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T 2:12.007



Tom Onslow Cole Milltek Sport VW Golf GTI 1:55.194
Martijn Lakerveld Van Vught Tuning Seat Ibiza TDI 2:03.226
Ronald Winters Speed Equipment VW Golf GTI 2:04.618
Kenny Jacobs Renault Megane 2:05.426
Sami Sivonen Seat Leon Supercoppa N/A



Ronald Gosens Project DC5 Honda Integra Type-R 2:01.356
Mikko Kataja VHT Racing KP61 Toyota Starlet 2:04.378
Martin Engel EK Honda Civic 2:11.459
Alex de Jonge Speed Equipment Opel Corsa A 2:13.242



We arrive bright and early on Sunday morning, ready to take on the best in Europe. It’s clear by now that we’ve been set up. Everyone likes to think the Time Attack cars from their country are fastest. It’s a reflection of the intelligence of the engineers involved in building the car, the natural skill of drivers from that country, etc. We’ve travelled to the Netherlands quietly confident in the cars and drivers representing the UK. However, it’s now clear there three major obstacles in the way of British success: The format, Race Cars and Janne Niska.

Firstly, the format: In the UK we are used to running 20-minute sessions throughout the day, including Qualifying and The Final. Here, we’re using the system used across Europe that was last used in the UK back in 2008. The drivers leave the pits and drive around the circuit. When they cross the start-finish line the clock starts. Only this timed lap counts. When the driver next crosses the start-finish line, the clock stops and the driver returns immediately to the pits. So it’s Out-Lap, Hot Lap, In-Lap.

The great thing about this format is it challenges the drivers. You have one timed lap for glory or otherwise. Lock-up into a turn, run wide on the exit, make any mistake at all and you’ve lost time and potentially your class. It puts real pressure on the drivers and creates a real spectacle. The trouble with this format is our cars are all set up for lots of laps, to get maximum heat in the brakes and tyres. Hot tyres and brakes alone give you lots of lap time. We aren’t used to setting the car up for this one-hit challenge. Our fellow Europeans are. And that brings us on to Janne Niska.


The gloss black Subaru Impreza is curiously free of sponsor logos. It looks fairly ‘standard-looking’ too. Sure, it’s got a big wing, deep splitter and a nice set of wheels but it’s unmistakably an Impreza. It’s only when you get closer that you realise just how extreme this car is. The wide-arched bodywork is wafer-thin carbonfibre, Janne’s support truck is at least £250,000-worth of immaculate ‘big-rig’ any race team would be proud of. There’s a row of what must be at least 10 sets of brand new Michelin slick tyres, and a large support crew that includes Esko Reiners of Motorsport tuning company ERM.


Brief Car Spec – Janne Niska’s ERM Subaru Impreza

2.5-litre EJ Boxer engine, Garrett GT37 Turbo, VP109 fuel, STI gearbox casing with Modena sequential internals (custom ratios by ERM), Tein Super Racing suspension, Endless 6-pot 375mm Brakes, Carbonfibre body, Polycarbonate windows - 600bhp, 1100kg (both conservative figures)

A brief chat with Janne confirms our worst fears. A Finnish Time Attack Champion, Janne describes how he completes over 100 laps on test days, and how he’s always quickest on these ‘S7H’ slicks, after thoroughly testing every compound available. He hasn’t come here to make up the numbers. Janne’s here to win.

In a similar way, the presence of two Race Cars could be a problem for the UK guys. In the front-wheel drive class, fellow Finn Sami Sivonen has entered a Seat Leon Supercopa. It’s significantly faster than it was as a Race Car too, thanks to many tweaks and 400bhp from APR Finland. Milltek Sport may have BTCC driver Tom Onslow-Cole behind the wheel, but Tom’s never driven here and the car is built on a factory-spec VW Golf GTI road car, developed throughout the season by Rich Marshall Racing. It’s a big difference but we’re not complaining. In fact, we’re looking forward to seeing how these two rivals measure up.


It’s a similar story in RWD to a degree. Mike Cantelo’s VX220 is ‘only’ a Club Pro car, technically a very fast road car. Simon Deaton’s Porsche 911 Cup car was also a racer, but their main competition for the day is a current race car. The fact it’s driven by Zandvoort local Cor Euser is the bigger concern. To say Cor is an extremely experienced racing driver would be an understatement. He’s driven in Formula 3, DTM, Indy Cars and even Group C! To make matters worse, this is Cor’s current race car. Not only does he describe his 4.0-litre, 380bhp Lotus Evora as “the busiest Lotus in the World”, having done various 24hr and 12hr Endurance races already this year, Cor has also recently completed the 5000 Kilometers of Zandvoort. In this car. It’s safe to say his set-up is pretty well “dialled-in” then!





The FWD and NA cars take to the track in the first of two 20-minute Qualifying sessions. Sami Sivonen goes straight to the top of FWD in his Seat Leon Supercopa (1:52.964), while Mikko Kataja is the early pace setter in NA (2:01.027).

Tom Onslow Cole shows his BTCC class, going fastest in FWD and the whole session so far (1:52.457). Ronald Winters sets a Personal Best (PB) of 1:57.457, putting him in 3rd place in FWD behind Sivonen. Ronald had some overheating issues this morning, so since the Warm Up session he’s cut two NACA ducts in the roof to feed his newly rear-mounted radiator!


Nine minutes left in the session and Tom Onslow Cole is back in the pits in the Milltek Sport Golf. A few cars are circulating out on track but none are improving their times. Several minutes pass and with around six minutes remaining in Qualifying, Tom Onslow Cole is back out on circuit, directly behind Sivonen.

Tom is reporting an intermittent lack of engine power, but heads out anyway to see what he can do. The white Golf follows the black Leon out around the back of the circuit and out of sight. Just over a minute later Onslow Cole crossed the start-finish line in 1:52.193, a new fastest lap. But there’s no sign of Sivonen. It seems he’s stuck somewhere out on track.

Meanwhile, Mikko Kataja from Finland is impressing the Dutch commentators by attacking the kerbs in his KP61 Toyota Starlet, forcing the inside front wheel into the air. He looks fast but the session ends before he can complete his lap. Honda Integra driver Ronald Gosen’s earlier 1:59.123 is enough to qualify first in NA. While Tom Onslow Cole qualifies first in FWD. An early victory for the UK.




Tom Onslow Cole Milltek Sport VW Golf GTI 1:52.193
Sami Sivonen Seat Leon Supercoppa 1:52.694
Ronald Winters Speed Equipment VW Golf GTI 1:57.802
Martijn Lakerveld Van Vught Tuning Seat Ibiza TDI 2:01.992
Kenny Jacobs Renault Megane 2:02.259



Ronald Gosens Project DC5 Honda Integra Type-R 1:59.123
Mikko Kataja VHT Racing KP61 Toyota Starlet 2:00.334
Martin Engel EK Honda Civic 2:09.166
Alex de Jonge Speed Equipment Opel Corsa A 2:09.899



Drifter Lennard Wanders joins the track driving what is essentially a drift car, skidding his way around the track in an ‘inertia drift’ fashion. His windscreen is packed with stickers, so maybe he’s looking out of the side windows through necessity rather than choice?


2013 UK Club Challenge Champion Lee Bullen takes to the track in his distinctive orange and black Subaru Impreza. Lee meets the slow-moving R33 GT-R of former Dutch Time Attack champion Kevin Go on the entrance to Hugenholtzbocht, a corner that reminds us of the Karussell at the Nordschleife. It looks like Kevin is letting Lee through, but turns in at the last minute and the pair just about avoid a collision. That was close!

Lee survives long enough to put the SD Motorsport Impreza top of the charts (2:05.447), but it’s still early days.


With fifteen minutes of the session remaining, it’s that man again Janne Niska that causes gasps from the crowds – going fastest with a 1:46.991. It’s the fastest time any Time Attack car has ever been round Zandvoort!

In RWD Cor Euser is top (1:54.040), and second overall. Mike Cantelo is second (1:57.602), with Simon Deaton third (1:58.906). Fellow Brit Bruce Morris is fifth in his R33 Nissan Skyline GTS-T (2:05.189), and Simon Bradford is seventh (2:06.641). Both cars are somewhat off the pace of the front-runners but it’s Pro, Club Pro and pro racer versus two guys in Club Challenge cars, so it’s hardly a fair fight.


Meanwhile, Lee Bullen improves again to go third fastest overall and second in 4WD (1:56.073).

The RWD guys all improve, and it’s now Cor Euser (1:52.439), from Simon Deaton (1:53.774) in the Porsche 911 Cup racer.


Lee Bullen goes faster still, with a 1:53.582 putting him second in class. It seems Lee is getting used to Zandvoort despite driving very few laps. Gareth Lloyd is still in the pits, and Janne Niska is out once more.

Just as before, Janne follows the same ‘out-lap, hot lap, in-lap’ format he’ll have to use in the final. He doesn’t need to do that in this session, but that’s clearly how his team operate. They’re like a well-oiled machine, and Janne smashes in another scorcher and a new fastest lap – 1:46.005.


There’s only a few minutes to go now, and Gareth Lloyd burbles down the pit lane in the SVA Imports Evo. It’s still wearing the down-turned rear exhaust additions and doesn’t sound like it’s on full boost as he crosses the start-finish line to start his first hot lap.


We follow Gareth’s lines around the circuit. He looks quick, but the car definitely doesn’t look familiar to the wild animal we’ve seen battle for the top spot in the Pro class of UK Time Attack during 2013. Lloyd crosses the line in 1:48.646. A new PB, second fastest Time Attack car ever around Zandvoort, but questions are being asked. Is that everything they have? Can Janne go faster? One thing’s for sure – not showing your hand until the one-lap Final would be a very risky strategy.

The 4WD class settles down. The only other event of note is the volume on Ukranian Peka Dmitriy’s Evo. That’s a loud car, but Peka is only fourth with a 1:58.402.


Mike Cantelo has the final word in Qualifying. He manages 9 laps in total, the most of anyone. It doesn’t look like he’ll catch Cor Euser (who is on slicks after all), but Mike is chasing down Simon Deaton’s time of 1:53.621. With two minutes remaining, Mike manages a PB 1:54.291. On his next and final lap, Mike crosses the line in… 1:53.049! He’s done it. In fact, he’s not far off Cor Euser’s time either. Mike is clearly enjoying the track and continues to perform well in his little red VX220.




Janne Niska ERM Subaru Impreza 1:46.005
Gareth Lloyd SVA Imports Mitsubishi Evo 1:48.646
Lee Bullen SD Motorsport Subaru Impreza 1:53.582
Peka Dmitriy Mitsubishi Evo 1:58.402



Cor Euser Lotus Evora 1:52.439
Mike Cantelo Vauxhall VX220 1:53.049
Simon Deaton Motor Shop Stop Porsche 911 Super Cup 1:53.621
Lennard Wanders Nissan 350Z 2:03.235
Bruce Morris Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T 2:05.189
Kevin Go Pro-Imports Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R 2:06.623
Simon Bradford Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T 2:06.641



The order is rearranged for the Finals, with the RWD class first and the 4WD class last. In each session the cars will go out in batches of three, separated by around 15 seconds. The fastest qualifier in each class will be the first car in the final batch, with the reward of a guaranteed clear track ahead.

During the couple of hours between Qualifying and The Finals, the UK competitors throw caution to the wind and remove their silencing. They’re not alone either. If they’re too loud they’ll be disqualified, but without the restraints they can run full power. It’s a gamble they’re willing to take.

There’s lots of drivers and fans here from the UK. 2013 Pro Champion Gavin Renshaw is here to show his support, talking through the circuit with his main rivals for this year’s title, SVA Imports driver Gareth Lloyd. There’s mutual respect and a unity across all the UK Time Attack competitors.


Equally, all the drivers are helping each other out – discussing the twists and turns of Zandvoort, tactics for the final, and quite possibly about Lee Bullen’s love for toffees.


(Left to Right) – Mike Cantello, Lee Bullen and Simon Deaton deep in conversation


Paul Blamire of Zen Performance (right) is responsible for mapping both the SVA Evo and Lee Bullen’s Impreza – after checking ECU data he chats with Gareth Lloyd about the tricky Zandvoort circuit


Simon Bradford and Bruce Morris are due out on track in their Nissan Skylines, but neither of them make an appearance due to technical issues. It’s the same story for Kevin Go and his carbonfibre-bodied R33 GT-R. Kevin began the day in 4WD class, before blowing a differential and switching to RWD. Now he’s finally called it a day on his sick Skyline.


Cor Euser attacks the track in his Lotus Evora. He looks fast but neat, feeding the car out of bends using the entire width of the track. Mike Cantelo follows him and is noticeably later on the brakes than Euser was at the end of the (Tunnel West) start-finish straight! Very surprising, and it shows just how hard Cantelo is pushing.

Simon Deaton follows Cantelo over the line and he’s clearly been holding back on the revs during the day. The pink Porsche sounds faster.

However, both Cantelo and Deaton’s lines are noticeably wobbly. Both cars are moving around a lot on the track. It’s obvious neither driver has managed to get suitable heat into the tyres in just one out-lap.

Euser is two seconds faster than our heroic chasers after the first split alone! Cor is living up to his name. When he crosses the line it’s a new Personal Best and a new Time Attack RWD record at Zandvoort (1:50.397). Mike manages to beat Simon and his supposedly superior Porsche (Club Pro on semi-slicks 1:54.546 vs. Pro on slicks 1:55.696). In truth, neither were really able to get their cars to work properly but of the two, Mike made the best of the situation with some very committed driving. If there was a “nice driving, chap” award today, Mike would take it.



Cor Euser Lotus Evora 1:50.397
Mike Cantelo Vauxhall VX220 1:54.546
Simon Deaton Motor Shop Stop Porsche 911 Super Cup 1:55.696
Lennard Wanders Nissan 350Z 2:03.281
Bruce Morris Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T DNF
Kevin Go Pro-Imports Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R DNF
Simon Bradford Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T DNF


Simon Deaton celebrates his third place finish in the European Time Attack Masters


Sadly, there are no UK Time Attack entrants in the NA class, but we’ve still got an interesting battle to watch. The front-wheel drive DC5 Integra Type-R is often called the best-handling front-wheel drive car you can buy, and Ronald Gosens qualified first in his highly tuned example. But the lightweight hill-climbing Toyota Starlet of Mikko Kataja from Finland has been hustling him all day, and we know Mikko’s turned the redline up to 9,100rpm in a final attempt for a higher top speed on the main straight. Don’t rule out Martin Engel in his K20-powered EK Civic either.


Ronald appears on the main straight and it’s noticeable how tight his line was around the final bend. By contrast, Mikko tears around the last bend using every last millimetre. The Integra has a lot more power than the 190bhp Starlet, but Mikko hopes to make up the defect in the bends. It’s a classic battle.


Ronald crosses the line in 2:00.397, slower than his qualifying time. If Mikko can repeat his 2:00.334, he’ll take the win. Mikko thrashes his Starlet over the line, the engine clearly bouncing off the rev limiter with half the straight still to go! His time? 2:00.489, he’s just missed out. The crowd are following the commentary closely and clap in approval of the competition. Martin Engel makes a mistake on his hot lap and finishes off the pace in third.




Ronald Gosens Project DC5 Honda Integra Type-R 2:00.397
Mikko Kataja VHT Racing KP61 Toyota Starlet 2:00.489
Martin Engel EK Honda Civic 2:06.800
Alex de Jonge Speed Equipment Opel Corsa A DNF



We’re all getting behind Tom Onslow-Cole in the Milltek Sport VW Golf. It’s going to be very close between him and Sami Sivonen’s Seat Leon Supercoppa. The team are still concerned about the intermittent power loss, however they send Tom out with fingers crossed.


The commentary team are entertained by Onslow-Cole’s attempts to warm the tyres up. As Tom swings the car from side-to-side using lift-off oversteer and the handbrake. When the Golf appears onto the main straight for the hot lap it’s obviously cruising. Tom pulls straight into the pits, automatically scoring himself a DNF.

We later learn it’s a suspected fuel pump or fuel delivery failure. With an intermittent power loss, Tom wouldn’t be able to properly represent the car’s capabilities, so decided to save the engine rather than risk blowing it up.

Inevitably, Sami is far too fast for his competition. Although it might have been closer if Speed Equipment boss Ronald Winters hadn’t made a mistake at the Audi Esses in his 2.0 turbo Mk1 Golf.


Meanwhile, Martijn Lakerveld becomes the first diesel driver in Time Attack at Zandvoort. Not only has his 1.9 TDI Seat Ibiza turned a few heads, Martijn has been incredibly consistent too even if his Final lap time dropped slightly below his best from Qualifying.



Sami Sivonen Seat Leon Supercoppa 1:52.592
Ronald Winters Speed Equipment VW Golf GTI 1:57.874
Kenny Jacobs Renault Megane 2:02.518
Martijn Lakerveld Van Vught Tuning Seat Ibiza TDI 2:02.872
Tom Onslow Cole Milltek Sport VW Golf GTI DNF



With respect to the other classes, this is the one everyone has been talking about in the pits. Even Cor Euser took the time to have a look around Lee Bullen’s Impreza and the SVA Imports Evo, and was equally impressed with Janne Niska’s Impreza. Even a racing legend who has seen it all wants to know who’s going to come out on top.

There are only four cars left in 4WD, so this is going to be short and intense. This is it. Janne Niska’s black Impreza versus the full-power version of the SVA Imports Evo. How much faster will SVA be? Will Gareth Lloyd be able to instantly adapt to the new car on an unfamiliar track?


Janne is out first, then Lloyd, then Bullen and finally the black and blue Evo of Ukranian Peka Dmitriy. We’re sure Lee Bullen won’t mind us saying he’s not expecting to win. He was a dominant Champion this year, but his Club Challenge Impreza is no match for the Pro-spec cars of Niska and Lloyd. In fact, if the exhaust note on Peka’s Evo is anything to go by, Lee will do well to fight him off. Someone’s turned Peka’s anti-lag on and the volume up to eleven!

Here we go then. Janne blasts onto the main straight. He’s fast!


Janne brakes late into the first corner just as Lloyd emerges onto the long start-finish straight. That’s what the SVA Imports Evo sounds like! It rockets up the straight. The Dutch commentators and our UK commentator Maz are both excited now.


Suddenly there’s smoke or steam from under the bonnet of Janne’s Evo. He’s ignoring it but it’s clearly getting worse as he disappears at speed down into Scheivlak at the back of the circuit. Just as we’re wondering what’s happened, Bullen roars past the commentary tower. That’s a new noise for today too. Closely followed by the Peka Dmitriy’s Evo, which is frankly deafening. Everyone’s cranked their power up. Everyone’s been sandbagging. What’s going to happen?


Lloyd is up at the first split! As we start to celebrate we can see the SVA Imports Evo emerging from the Audi Esses. Janne must have stopped somewhere after the first split position. Gareth Lloyd has already set the fastest sector time of the day, what lap time will he produce? The fastest so far is Janne’s 1:46.005 from Qualifying. Lloyd fires the SVA Evo out of the final corner. The atmosphere is electric as he crosses the line.. 1:44.583! It’s a new Time Attack Lap Record!

There are cheers up and down the pit lane, on the viewing stands and in the commentary tower. A 1:45-minute hot lap was considered potentially unobtainable, and the duo of Lloyd and SVA Imports have smashed it.


Mike Cantelo worships the record-breaking SVA Imports Mitsubishi Evo. Literally

It’s not over yet though. Lee Bullen is clearly going for it. With Janne parked up, it’s a duel between Lee and Peka for second place. Lee is using all of the track. He looks fast. Lee crosses the line in 1:53.522. Exactly six hundredths of a second faster than his Qualifying time. That’s consistency!

Peka Dmitriy must been filling up the proverbial noise bucket on his own. Have the pops and bangs been an indication he’s faster than Bullen? Or maybe even SVA? No. Peka sets a 1:56.878, a very respectable time and a full two seconds faster than his Qualifying time, so he had been holding something back. That means UK Club Challenge Champion Lee Bullen, is now also the European Time Attack Masters 4WD runner-up. We’ve bagged a one-two!




Gareth Lloyd SVA Imports Mitsubishi Evo 1:44.583
Lee Bullen SD Motorsport Subaru Impreza 1:53.522
Peka Dmitriy Mitsubishi Evo 1:56.878
Janne Niska ERM Subaru Impreza DNF


It’s hard to describe the atmosphere in the pit lane after the event. Being away together as a group, the UK Time Attack drivers, mechanics, engineers and family alike had all bonded. To get this result was just fantastic. It wasn’t over yet either, as the SVA Imports had one more Final to attend to – the last round of the Dutch Time Attack series, with SVA Imports Director Neil Robertson behind the wheel. We’re sure he won’t mind us saying that after 5 months of dramatic changes, Neil wasn’t quite as quick as Gareth, but as it was the last event of the year he also got to drive the full-monty setting too. Neil finished third on the day and second overall in the Dutch Time Attack Championship, against professional local drivers and open-topped cars with downforce. With Gareth driving it would have been a different story.


What an incredible day and a fantastic way to round off another brilliant UK Time Attack year. Who knows what 2014 will bring. Will Phil White and NR Autosport retire their triple-champion? If so, what will they bring instead? After a year of constant development how will SVA Imports approach next year? Then of course there’s an Impreza-shaped sequel waiting to gatecrash the 2014 Time Attack party.

We can’t wait until next year, but in the meantime let’s all enjoy our European success. We’ve returned with one third place, two runner-up spots, a victory and a lap-record. Well done guys! Same time next year?


Words: Dan Goodyer

Photos: Rich Sams & Dan Goodyer

Direct link:

:, , ,

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for?
Drop a comment on a post or contact us!