Dubai: Tim Sugden race report

Fifth in Dubai Final for Sugden Tim Sugden's final race of the year ended with a 5th place with Iradj Alexander in the last FIA race of the season in Dubai on Saturday. The result leaves them 6th in the final championship standings just 1 ...

Fifth in Dubai Final for Sugden

Tim Sugden's final race of the year ended with a 5th place with Iradj Alexander in the last FIA race of the season in Dubai on Saturday. The result leaves them 6th in the final championship standings just 1 point behind 5th place. As in all Sports/GT races cars in a higher class have to lap the others and this caused a problem for Sugden's JMB GruppeM Ferrari F430 as the GT1 Aston Martin #23 collided with Tim on lap 56 causing an off track excursion that lost him 20 seconds. The Aston was penalised with a "drive through" but the time lost was significant at the end when Tim was just 8 seconds behind the 4th placed factory Spyker on the penultimate lap after charging hard and for a long time being the fastest GT2 car on the track.

The Spyker entry in the final race was in preparation for next season and this car qualified an excellent 3rd on their Michelins behind the usual pole sitting Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari, also running Michelin tyres. The first factory backed F430 of Mike Salo was second, the top Pirelli runner and Tim, whose car also uses Pirelli tyres qualified 4th splitting the AF Corse cars, all these being within a second in a close session.

The race was just as close with the top 8 cars running the whole 500 kilometre race on the same lap notwithstanding the two pit stops required for fuel and tyres. The factory Porsche, Ferrari and Spyker all led at some time in the race and 7 cars put up fastest laps within a second of each other. Tim handed the car over to Iradj from 4th place and the team added only enough fuel for a short 50 minute stint in an attempt to keep the car in close contention for Tim's final dash to the flag and Iradj drove an excellent stint handing the car back from 3rd place. A podium finish seemed possible but the Aston Martin accident spoiled the plan and Tim was unable to make up sufficient places despite passing the factory Porsche in his charge. Just 49 seconds covered the top 5 at the end of a hectic 3 hours of GT racing at its best.

With the 2006 season closed Tim is now in discussions for the 2007 season and expects to be on the grid for the first race, the Daytona 24 hours in February.

-credit: www.timsugden.co.uk

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tim Sugden