11 July 2023
It was another winning weekend for Team Carsafe, as Mark Holme took his ex-works Austin Healey 3000 'SMO 746' to victory in the Equipe Pre-‘63 at Donington Park.
Holme had qualified third, just 0.745 secs off pole position and was part of an immediate three-car break as the race got underway.
He was into second by the end of lap three, with just Nigel Winchester’s Shelby GT ahead, but was back to third as the safety car appeared. The two-lap intervention, preceded his mandatory pitstop.
“Winchester had tried to back me up in the corners and then drove away on the straights, which allowed Brian Caudwell in my old Healey to close, and we swapped a couple of times”, he explained.
Over the next seven laps the rest of the field made their stops and when the Pratt family Morgan stopped on lap 15, Holme was into the lead by 3.486 secs.
Caudwell had handed over to Jeremy Welch who started to close, but Holme held on to win on track by just 0.400 secs - his rivals were given a three lap post-race penalty for a short pitstop. “Jeremy got the best of the traffic, but he did push me hard,” Holme added.
It was into the MGB for the Equipe GTS race, again qualifying third. It became a fairly solitary race retaining third place, behind Sam Kirkpatrick’s similar car and the Pratt’s Morgan. “It was a good early battle as the rain levelled it out a bit,” said Holme.
He pitted after 10 laps and after another two-lap safety car intervention, he was into second and just 0.323 secs behind Kirkpatrick.
The gap started to grow and Holme had to settle for second - taking the flag with a 14 second cushion over his next challenger. “We pushed on and it was a good result to be so close,” he said.
However, Holme was then handed a three-lap penalty for a short stop, so second place became 23rd. “We were two seconds short,” he concluded.