First FIA GT victory for Scuderia Ecosse
Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy cruised to a stylish win in Germany today in round three of the FIA GT Championship at Oschersleben. Even the 10-place grid penalty from Brno couldn't stop the Scots and the victory was made all the more sweet by Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen joining them on the podium in third place.
Andrew Kirkaldy took pole position in yesterday's qualifying session, making it three-out-of-three poles for Scuderia Ecosse. Tim Mullen secured second but actually started the race from pole once the Kinch/Kirkaldy car had been demoted 10 places.
Both cars got away well at the start and by the 30-minute mark Mullen was still leading, followed by AF Corse's Rui Aguas and a charging Andrew Kirkaldy, who had made his way up to third. Kirkaldy pitted after just 45 minutes to hand over to Nathan Kinch whilst Tim Mullen stayed out longer before handing over to Chris Niarchos.
Just before the halfway mark the order was Sugden/Kinch/Niarchos but the Yorkshireman hadn't yet stopped so Nathan took the lead soon after. By this point Niarchos was being kept busy, defending his third place from ex-F1 driver Mika Salo.
After the second round of pit-stops, Kirkaldy rejoined in second place, behind Salo, and Mullen was running fifth. With thirty minutes to go Mullen tangled with the No.55 JMB Ferrari whilst fighting for third.
Once recovered he set off in pursuit and took third with just 20 minutes remaining. By this time Salo had pitted for a fuel top-up so Kirkaldy took the lead and cruised to the flag!
Stewart Roden, Team Principal: "It's a fantastic feeling to get our first FIA GT win. It was a memorable win for us. Chris and Tim had no clutch for the whole race so that will have affected their pace but aside from that the Ferraris ran faultlessly. The cars were beautifully balanced here so, along with a great job by Michelin and a top performance by all four drivers, we had what we needed to take the win."
The next FIA GT race is the Spa 24 Hours at the end of July but before that the team will be at Snetterton in Norfolk for the next two rounds of the British GT Championship in two weeks' time.