Hungaroring: Scuderia Ecosse race report

FIRST AND THIRD IN BUDAPEST! Budapest, Hungary -- 1 October 2006: Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy scored a dominant win at the Hungaroring in Budapest today, closely followed in third place by British GT ...

FIRST AND THIRD IN BUDAPEST!

Budapest, Hungary -- 1 October 2006: Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy scored a dominant win at the Hungaroring in Budapest today, closely followed in third place by British GT Championship leaders, Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen. Andrew Kirkaldy started the race from pole position, after adding to his unbroken run of poles yesterday; the record now standing at six-in-a-row.

When the race got underway, to the surprise of everyone Kirkaldy was third by the end of the first lap and then lost another place to AF Corse's Jaime Melo. The Scot was suffering with understeer but after a few laps this went away and he soon set about getting P1 back. He quickly passed Melo and Salo but the hardest car to get back past was race leader Tim Mullen who had made a fantastic start! Tim held him off for a long time before Kirkaldy got by.

Kirkaldy pitted to hand over to Nathan Kinch who joined the race with fresh Michelins. Chris Niarchos took over from Mullen and elected to double stint the first set of tyres so joined the race on old rubber. Kinch was soon flying and putting in fast, consistent lap times as he led the race. He ran a trouble-free stint, handing the Ferrari back to Kirkaldy in perfect condition. Niarchos meanwhile was struggling to find his rhythm to start with but once he got into the swing of the race he put in the professional drive that the team has come to expect from the Greek/Canadian.

Kirkaldy and Mullen got back onboard for the run to the flag. The Scot had to pass Alexander in the No.55 JMB Ferrari as he was a very late stopper but Kirkaldy nipped through as the pair got into traffic and eased off into the lead and ultimately took the chequered flag as the race winner. Mullen fought his way up to third, taking the fourth podium of the year for the no.63 Ferrari.

After crossing the line Kirkaldy passed the stricken Saleen of GT1 winner, Andrea Montermini, on the slowing down lap, so he stopped to pick him up and the GT1 and GT2 race winners travelled to Parc Ferme together!

Nathan Kinch: "That was the best kind of win...very straightforward and enjoyable! Andrew handed me the car in the lead for my stint and the car felt good all the way through, allowing me to drive at the maximum. I want to say a big thanks to Michelin as they did a fantastic job for us today."

Andrew Kirkaldy: "The start of the race was a bit hair-raising for me. I got mugged by Salo and Mullen on the run down to the first corner and then Melo got me on the second lap. I was struggling with understeer in the first few laps but once the tyres came up to temperature everything felt great so I went after them all. I got Melo about ten laps in, then Salo, and then I was very careful with Tim (Mullen) as you really can't be taking your own team-mate off! All went well after that; Nathan did a great job then all I had to do was squeeze past Alexander in the JMB Ferrari who was a late stopper and bring it to the flag. I had to do a lot of overtaking today and I thoroughly enjoyed it!"

Chris Niarchos: "Tim came in from second place and we decided to double-stint that set of tyres so I was out on old rubber. It took me five or six laps to get up to the pace, which is longer than I wanted. I used to go out and go hell for leather but I've tried to rein that in lately and maybe I'm being too conservative now. I need to work on finding a balance. I enjoyed racing in Budapest; the circuit is pretty technical, you need perfect technique to get it right here. I'm happy we got on the podium and looking forward to the next race already."

Tim Mullen: "I had an excellent start and got the run on Andrew (Kirkaldy) and (Mika) Salo into the first corner and was able to build up a lead over Salo. I had a good fight with Andrew but eventually had to let him through. As the fuel load came down the car was handling better and better so by the time we came to stop I was only 1.5 seconds adrift of Andrew. I got us back up to third at the end and it was good for Chris and I to be up on the podium again."

Stewart Roden, Scuderia Ecosse Team Principal: "The team have worked exceptionally hard this week. They had a late night last night which, on top of completing three race weekends on the trot, is a lot to ask of them. I'm very happy with the result we got here. It is a new circuit for us so to come away with a win and a third is a fantastic result."

-credit: se

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Jaime Melo , Andrea Montermini , Nathan Kinch , Chris Niarchos , Tim Mullen , Andrew Kirkaldy