TREMENDOUS TANDY CLAIMS RACE TWO WIN FOR TRACKSPEED
Blendini/Triple-R take GT4 honours on first 2013 finish
The second race of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship Zandvoort weekend saw Trackspeed’s Nick Tandy and David Ashburn take victory, their third of the year, ahead of a spirited performance by Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood in the FF Corse Ferrari, and Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw made it a Trackspeed 1-3 by taking the final place on the podium. Declan Jones now leads the GT4 class after he and team-mate Nathan Freke took the win amongst British GT competitors today in their Century Motorsport Ginetta.
Porsche factory ace, Tandy, made a perfect start to lead the field into infamous first corner, Tarzan, on lap one, and he was joined by Trackspeed team-mate Keen who edged up the inside to pass Barff. The pack shuffled round the tricky Hugenholtz section sensibly and the biggest improver was yesterdays winner, Michael Caine. The Oman Air Motorbase driver was rapidly up the order and made it as high as twelfth from a lowly twenty first grid place, before getting embroiled in a lengthy battle with Team WRT’s Warren Hughes.
Behind the leading trio it was 888Optimum racer, Joe Osborne who threatened to join them most after making light work of Matt Bell (United Autosports), and Oliver Bryant (Ecurie Ecosse). The young Brit fought hard to pass Jonny Adam’s Beecheean-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage for fifth and eventually got through on Aaron Scott (AF Corse), but wouldn’t be able to catch Barff before the pitstops.
Trackspeed’s Stephen Jelley spun down the order after contact with the Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 of Benji Hetherington. The Mercedes driver continued up the order to seventh, but Jelley fell to dead last. The Porsche driver recovered and was up to nineteenth as the pit window opened.
A big crash for 888Optimum’s Dan Brown and APO Sport’s Alex Osborne was not enough to bring out a safety car, and while Brown continued to the pits, he would soon retire. The APO Sport Ginetta was beyond repair and Osborne was left to wonder how he’d gone from the British GT4 class lead, to watching Rory Bryant in the Blendini / Triple R G50 take over his hard earnt position in just a matter of minutes.
When the pit window opened, Tandy was a solid ten seconds or more up the road from rear gunner, Keen. As Ashburn took over, the lead had grown to almost double because of the success time penalty for the FF Corse car and a delay in the pits for Minshaw now in for Keen.
After half distance the cars in fifth to eight pitted together and this saw a hive of activity in the pitlane as teams attempted to one-up each other. Up front Ashburn now had a seventeen second lead over Eastwood who had jumped the second Trackspeed car following a spin by Minshaw on his outlap.
Rembert Berg was an early casualty after pitting, the WRT man seemed to spin and then lose drive in his R8 LMS ultra. Berg literally stopped on track and the local marshals did a fantastic job to clear the car without the need for a safety car period.
Elsewhere Lee Mowle was now in third position in the bare carbon 888Optimum BMW. Mowle, in his first year of GT3 racing was pushing as hard as he could, but a recovering Minshaw and AF Corse’s John Dhillon homed in on the BMW racer, eventually passing him and relegating him to fifth. Howard in the Beechdean Aston and Attard now in the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 also got the better of Mowle, who would go on to finish seventh.
At the flag six tenths of a second separated Howard (fourth) from Dhillon, Attard and Mowle. Phil Dryburgh capped an impressive weekend that saw he and Aston Martin Racing MD, John Gaw take their first double points score. The PGF Kinfaun-AMR pair were 2.5s ahead of Ahmad Al Harthy who seems to have the same battling qualities of team-mate Caine, a strong performance by both drivers now meaning they have score in all nine of the races this season.
Closing out the top ten was Jason Minshaw in the Fortec Mercedes he shares with Benji Hetherington. Minshaw was on for a higher finish, but a costly spin while chasing Mowle relegated him to tenth.
However, after the race the Clerk of the Course ruled that Hetherington gained an unfair advantage from the move on Jelley and the #14 Mercedes was given a ten second addition to the pair’s race time, dropping them down to twelfth behind Mark Patterson and Matt Bell’s Audi and crucically Jelley’s Porsche.
Patterson and Bell struggled with an unknown issue in their Audi, a frustrating issue for the United Autosports team after taking the fastest lap of the race yesterday. The British driver believed it was a tyre-related complaint, but advised the car would need to be examined before the precise problem could be exposed.
Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz were happy to have finished ahead of several GT3s, the GTC entrants who were experiencing British GT for the first time this weekend will look to make an apperance at Donington in a few weeks time with something a little more punchy.
After the initial GT4 class leader, Osborne had exited the race, Bryant held a steady ship and built a cushion for team-mate David Barker to progress with.
Century team boss and racer in his own right, Nathan Freke, stopped on circuit with an engine issue, but the experienced Ginetta man found a solution and managed to get the #43 G50 firing again. Before he pitted to hand over to title contender Declan Jones, Freke had closed on the race leading Blendini / Triple R Ginetta and this enabled the Liverpudlian teenager to quickly overcome Surrey-based David Barker.
Barker, making his British GT debut this weekend fought hard, but had no answer to the raw pace of Jones. Behind the leading pair was Dan Eagling and Matt Smith’s Redgate Lifetime Racing Ginetta G50. Try as they might the pair couldn’t progress on old tyres and the duo were happy with third, having collected a winners trophy the day before.
Up front in the overall GT4 classification the Duncan Huisman and Luc Braams Las Moras Camaro was in dominant form, taking a second win this weekend ahead of the mighty HDI Formido Corvette C6 of Snoeks and Nooren.
However all was not finalised until after the race, when another ruling saw the Century Ginetta excluded from the race due to a catalytic converter element not in a working position. This move throws open the championship and sees Rick Parfitt Jnr and Ryan Ratcliffe still lead the series by some 12.5 points, despite their Optimum Motorsport G50 being written off early in race one.
The Avon Tyres British GT Championship now heads back to the UK after its summer trip to Holland, and arrives at Donington Park for what promises to be a mouthwatering finale in four weeks time (5/6 October).
Nick Tandy #31 Trackspeed Porsche (first in GT3)
“The trouble is now that I can mathematically win the championship at Donington. The trouble with this is that we now go there with some hope, and going into anything but a one hour race we have no chance of getting a result at all. It’s a double-edged sword. We were confident this weekend because it was the sprint race format, but yesterday we had issues and today was how yesterday should’ve been. We had a great car, a great pit stop and Dave was straight on it when he came out the pits. To be fair it is the best I’ve seen him drive all year.”
Rory Bryant #45 Blendini / Triple-R Ginetta (first in GT4):
We have had a bad year so far, this is actually the first time we’ve made it to the end of a race. This weekend there were so many new things; new track, new team-mates, new car, and it was a shame that Declan was a bit quicker than us. However, in light of the Clerk of the Course’s decision, we’re very happy to take a win in our first finish!”
Avon Tyres British GT Championship: Round #6 of 7 – Zandvoort
September 6th – September 8th, 2013
Circuit Park Zandvoort, Burgemeester van Alphenstraat 108, Zandvoort
2.676-mile / 13-turn race circuit
Race Duration: 2 x 60 minutes
British GT TV Broadcast (All times local to broadcaster):
Channel 4: Highlights, Saturday September 14, 07:00
Motors TV: Highlights, Saturday September 14, 23:05
More listings here: http://www.britishgt.com/television.php
Championship points after round 6 of 7:
Full standings after round 6 of 7: http://ow.ly/m5iU1
Blancpain Gentleman Driver Championship after round 6 of 7:
Full BGDT standings after round 6 of 7: http://ow.ly/m5iU1
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the Avon Tyres British GT Championship:
The Avon Tyres British GT championship showcases the most prestigious and stylish sportscar grid of any national motorsport championship in the world. The 2013 season will visit six UK venues with one international event held at the Dutch circuit, Zandvoort.
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