HENLEY driver Charlie Budd overcame the heat of the ex-Formula 1 Zolder circuit in Belgium to win the third round of the Mighty Mini Championships.
In temperatures of 35e_SDgrC Budd, in his classic Mini, qualfied for pole position for the first time this season.
In the first race on Sunday Budd made a good start with only second place man Paul Inch having the better getaway as he took the lead into the first corner.
Trying to pull a gap from the rest of the pack Budd and Inch worked together. With only a couple of laps to go Budd made a last minute lunge into the second corner to take the lead. This allowed for the rest of the drivers to catch up and Sam Hathaway was hot on the heels of Budd going into the last corner. Budd came over the line first with little over a second between the top five cars. In the second race, due to the new rule this year of the top eight reverse grids and success ballast, Budd started eighth on the grid with an extra 10kg of weight in the car. Budd made a good start moving up to sixth by the first corner. Elle Blue Markham and Martyn Hathaway led the pack for the first lap with pressure from the rest of the drivers.
After several laps Budd made his way through the pack and started to increase the gap from second place man Damien Harrington.
As time went on Budd’s lap times started to get slower, the heat had really got to the car and he was struggling with brake fade and a failing clutch.
Ian Slark took the lead with one lap to go, but Budd was close behind and into the second chicane he forced a mistake from Slark sending him wide. With only three corners remaining Budd held off the attack from Slark to take the win.
The win puts Budd and his Henley-based Team Pristine Condition in first place in the series by one point. The next race takes place at Oulton Park on July 5.