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Despite encountering problems with an overheating engine and loss of power, reigning and three-times World F1 sidecar champions Tim Reeves and Patrick Farrance brought the Prof. Dr. Sallmon/Eastern Airways LCR Suzuki home in third place at Rijeka in Croatia to retain their second place in the overall standings with one race remaining.

Apart from a glitch in the opening free period, the world champions had dominated throughout qualifying and free practice. On Friday they finished in second place after slowing with an overheating engine. But after fitting a new pressure cap and seal the problems appeared to be solved and the pair went out in the rest of the practice and qualifying to claim pole position for the start of the Gold race on Sunday.

Prior to that the heats for the short match race were held. Reeves and Farrance again dominated the sessions and went into the five-lap sprint starting from pole position.


They led throughout the five laps to take the win and 25 points to bring them to within three championship points of the series lead.

“If we can get the same result in the gold race then we will lead the championship,” said Reeves.

But it was not to be as the champions encountered problems with an overheating engine mid race and dropped back to third place.

Ben and Tom Birchall led the field for the first six laps with Reeves content to follow them in second place. He took his time and finally hit the front a few laps later. But the engine started to overheat and lose power slowing Reeves and allowing both Birchall and Paivarinta to sweep past.

Although the outfit had slowed dramatically Reeves managed to nurse it home for third place to pick up a further 16 points towards his championship challenge. But nearest rival Pekka Paivarinta scored 20 points for second place and stretched the gap back up to seven points.

“On closer inspection after the race we discovered the problem was the head gasket,” said Reeves. “We were lucky to actually finish the race but had lost all the water and the engine was badly overheating. It wouldn’t have lasted much longer so we were really thankful we managed to finish in third place.”

The final round is at Le Mans on September 21 and it is shaping up to be a cracking race for all concerned. Reeves has to win and Paivarinta to finish in third place or more to be in with a chance of lifting the world championship crown for the fourth consecutive year.

“I am not giving my world title away without a fight,” said Reeves. “I am up for the challenge and if I can win the race then I have done as much as I can. The rest is in the hands of the gods!”

Before the final countdown in the World Series, Reeves has to defend his British F1 title in the final rounds of the series at Snetterton on September 14.

Reeves and Farrance lead the championship by one solitary point from Muldoon and Barrett and this too will be a close and exciting challenge. With two rounds and 50 points at stake Reeves again needs to keep his rivals behind him to lift the trophy for the second year in succession.

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