Double Podium For Brand In Japan
Ed Brand got his 2011 season off to a superb start with a double-podium in the Japanese Winter Cup on the weekend.
The 16-year old had travelled all the way to the New Tokyo circuit at Ichihara at the invitation of one of Japan’s leading kart importers, EIKO Motorsport. This was the second time that Ed – who races for Strawberry Racing in Britain and Europe with Tony Kart chassis - had competed in the Far East, having competed in the inaugural event last year.
“I was very pleased to be asked back to do the Winter Cup, because last year everyone was so welcoming, friendly and showed great passion for the sport. The racing was great also, so I jumped at the chance to return and represent the Tony Kart brand in Japan and because the driving style is very different to that in the UK. I knew it would be fun to rub wheels with some of the drivers I raced last year.”
He then quickly made his mark in the preliminaries.
“Things went really well in the opening stages. I took pole position in timed qualifying and then won both my heats to secure pole position for the first final. In that race I was lying 4th on the last lap and had got up to 3rd at the moment when the leading pair had a coming together, leaving me to win it!”
Despite enjoying his third consecutive starting place at the front of the field, Ed found that his rivals were in no mood to let the visiting gaijin have it all his own way. “The final was very chaotic with lots of passing. Three laps from the end, I found myself in 2nd but unable to catch the eventual winner. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable race and a good result. I would like to thank Ryota Adachi for inviting me, Ren Nagabuchi for being my guide and translator and Leon McDonald my mechanic for all his hard work.”
Prior to his trip to Japan, Ed had impressed some of motorsport’s biggest names with his performance in the annual Racing 4 Charity indoor kart race held at Autosport International held at the NEC, Birmingham. Against a line-up that included Ben Collins, formerly known as BBC Top Gear’s‘The Stig’, ex-F1 driver turned sportscar ace David Brabham and Lords Drayson and Brocket, he qualified in pole position and in the opening stint of the 90-minute endurance race pulled out an 8-second lead over some of British motor racing’s best exponents.
Perhaps it was unsurprising then that Takuma Sato (former Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri F1 driver) was eager to meet the Englishman who was creating such a stir amongst the New Tokyo paddock.
Ed’s UK season commences on 12/13 March at his ‘home’ circuit of Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire with the opening round of the British Super 1 Championship.