ELLIS TAKES FIRST GTC CLASS VICTORY
Croydon's Bradley Ellis seized his first Avon Tyres British GT Championship GTC class victory in round five of the series on the Pau street circuit in France on Monday 5 June. Together with team-mate Alex Mortimer, Ellis bought the Team RPM Porsche 996 home to its first win of the season from fifth on the grid, making up for the disappointment of the previous day when their race was terminated when challenging for third.
Ellis truly impressed during the British GT's first visit to the historic street circuit of Pau in the South of France, clinching his first GTC win after only joining the championship this year. Team RPM now lead the GTC standings after five rounds.
"I am absolutely over the moon at taking my first race win in this prestigious and highly competitive championship," said Ellis. "Success has come fairly quick in my first season in saloon car racing, but a strong partnership with Alex Mortimer and outstanding support from Team RPM has made winning all the more easy. Alex and I now have an even stronger pairing and we'll be aiming to notch up more wins throughout the season."
Ellis put in a stunning performance in qualifying on Sunday morning to secure third fastest in the GTC class for round four on Sunday evening. With 30 cars competing, there was a mixed grid of British GTC/GT3 cars racing alongside competitors of the Coupe de France GT series.
A good start allowed Ellis to hold position until lap six when the safety car came on-track. After a three-lap safety car period, Ellis positioned himself perfectly for the re-start and took second in class on lap 10. During the safety car period, however, Ellis suffered clutch failure and by lap 14 he began to struggle and was consequently passed by Oliver Bryant. The Croydon teenager did his utmost to hold track position, despite wrestling to change down the gears, and passed the wheel to team mate Mortimer third in class.
The lack of a clutch, however, meant that pulling away from the pits was near on impossible for Mortimer. Finally away, he rejoined fifth in class and 14th overall and quickly began to make up for lost time by storming up to 11th overall, remaining fifth in class. In a three-way battle for third with Danny Watts and the sister Team RPM car of Phil Glew, Mortimer's race came to an early end when he came into contact with Danny Watts at Virage du Lycee.
Team RPM worked tirelessly into the night to repair the damaged car and clutch for qualifying on Monday morning. Mortimer repaid their efforts by qualifying fifth in the GTC class, despite a further problem that meant they had to change the gearbox.
Another good start allowed Mortimer to retain his class position and gain overall places as he pushed through the field. After 31 minutes Mortimer took the opportunity to pit after being held up and unable to find a way past the Ferrari 360 Modena of Andy Wilcox for much of his 30-minute stint.
The perfectly timed pit stop allowed Ellis to re-join the race on a clear track, up to second in class. Some blinding lap times reduced the 10-second gap to GTC class leader Ryan Hooker and with three laps to go Ellis passed Hooker at the end of the pit straight and pulled clear to take the GTC class victory.
Team RPM Principle, Robin Mortimer, commented: "This was quite an outstanding weekend, but the vast majority of the credit must go to the Team RPM mechanics who worked tirelessly to prepare both cars. Bradley has done an unbelievable job to get up to speed on circuits he's never raced on before and to win is just fantastic. The team is now readjusting its targets in line with this success."
The Avon Tyres British GT Championship will travel on to Mondello Park in Ireland for rounds six and seven on 25 June.