Dubai Downpour Cancels Final FIA GT3 European Round And Ellis' Championship Dreams
Bradley Ellis, from Croydon, was denied the opportunity to fight for the runner's up position in the FIA GT3 European Championship after the find round of the season in Dubai was cancelled today, Saturday 6 December, due to a torrential storm on Friday night. With parts of the circuit underwater and the main access tunnel to the paddock flooded, the volume of water was too great to clear despite the efforts of the organisers and the unavoidable decision to cancel racing was taken.
Although the overall FIA GT3 European Championship title was decided during the penultimate round yesterday, Ellis was still in the hunt for second overall after clinching his first series pole and fourth podium finish of the season, while teammate Alex Mortimer could still clinch third. Ellis was approaching today's finale third overall, level on points with fellow Matech teammates Ian Khan and Thomas Mutsch, and just two points behind Thomas Accary and Pierre-Brice Mena in second. But with the final round cancelled Khan and Mutsch take third, due to having won one more race than Ellis, leaving the 21 year-old fourth.
Despite the anti-climax to what has been a fiercely competitive season, with double victory at Monza, two thirds and seven point-scoring finishes, Ellis' efforts have not gone unrewarded. As the highest placed Ford driver throughout the season, the Croydon ace wins the Ford Manufacturer Cup; still a magnificent achievement in his first full FIA GT3 European season.
"We are obviously gutted not to have the opportunity to race the final round and decide the championship on the track, but I've seen the circuit and it would be impossible to stage an event there today," said Ellis. "I am pleased to have won the Ford Manufacturer Cup but it's a great shame to end the season like this. Alex and I were in great shape yesterday and we were looking good for another strong performance today and I believe I had a good chance of finishing second in the championship, if not certainly third. But that's the way it goes."
Ellis will fly back to the UK tomorrow morning in time to attend the British Racing Drivers' Club Awards 2008 on Monday at the Cafe Royal, London, where he will receive the BRDC Innes Ireland Trophy as the driver who best displayed the qualities of courage and sportsmanship epitomized by the late Innes Ireland, during 2008. The 2007 Avon Tyres British GT Champion suffered a massive accident during a guest return to the series in June 2008 at Thruxton, resulting in a compression fracture to the sixth vertebra. But Ellis made a valiant recovery to return to racing and the FIA GT3 European Championship round less than one week after the accident.