1-2 AT BRANDS HATCH
Michael Cullen and Paddy Shovlin took victory today in round 12 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch. Luke Hines and Jeremy Metcalfe joined them up on the podium in third place, and were later promoted to second. Michael Meadows and James Sutton drove a great race but Michael was taken off by Nick Foster in the RPM Viper, whilst running strongly in second place with just seven minutes of the race remaining. The Viper finished in second place on the road but later received a one minute penalty for Foster's actions, demoting him and his team-mate to sixth place.
All three CRS Ferraris got away well at the start, running in eighth (Sutton), 11th (Cullen) and 12th (Hines). Michael Cullen then passed the Viper ahead of him which was just the beginning of the Irishman's astounding run through the field. After taking the Viper he moved ahead of James Sutton, then a few laps later he passed Kershaw's Aston Martin for eighth place, then the no.11 Lamborghini and then the Ferrari of Adam Wilcox, before cruising away in fifth place.
When the pit window opened Sutton dived into the pits, shortly followed by Cullen and a few minutes later Hines also came in, the team taking the opportunity to do a super-fast brake balance change on the no.16 Ferrari. When the window closed the CRS Ferraris were in third, fourth and seventh places with Shovlin, leading Meadows and Metcalfe. The safety car then came out as an Aston Martin had gone off at Dingle Dell and it wasn't until 14 minutes before the chequered flag that the race got back underway.
At the restart Shovlin breezed past Jenkinson in the 22GT Aston Martin at Graham Hill Bend, followed by Meadows, putting those two Ferrari's into second and third, whilst Metcalfe also started moving up the order. A lap later the leading Viper had a puncture so Shovlin took the lead. With nine minutes to go the CRS Ferraris were running in a 1-2-4 formation but just two laps later Nick Foster took a dive at Meadows going into Paddock Hill Bend and took him out of the race.
There was no stopping Shovlin though and he cruised to his third win of the season. As he drove back through the pits he collected his team-mate, or rather Michael climbed onto the roof of the no.15 Ferrari, and continued the cruise along the pit-lane, all the way to the podium!
There are two more rounds to go in the 2008 British GT Championship; Silverstone on 17 August and the season finale at Donington Park on 12 October, both two-hour races, and the CRS team can't wait.
CR Scuderia Ferrari no.15: Michael Cullen & Paddy Shovlin PADDY SHOVLIN: "It has taken us a long time to get another win but we got there today. It was tough holding off the Viper at the end but there was no way I was letting him get past. We've had three wins now and that was definitely the sweetest; especially as the last time I raced here I crashed twice! We're really look ing forward to the two-hour events now."
MICHAEL CULLEN: "The car was just fantastic today; I definitely had the best car on the grid. I managed to pass four or five cars going into Graham Hill Bend (not all on the same lap!) and then came in early so that Paddy could pick off the rest of them. Paddy was under huge pressure from the Viper at the end but he did a great job. I'm really really pleased as I felt I messed up yesterday so this is a great way to round off the weekend."
CR Scuderia Ferrari no.16: Luke Hines & Jeremy Metcalfe
LUKE HINES: "We've had a bit of a frustrating weekend. The car was great in testing but we've been struggling with the rear brakes since qualifying yesterday. That said it's good to get third and the team stays in the lead of the championship which is great as the guys have all worked incredibly hard lately. I think the last two tracks will suit us so we should enjoy the rest of the season."
JEREMY METCALFE: "We have had a mystery problem with the car which has hampered us a bit this weekend. It is good to end up on the podium though. I guess it doesn't always go your way buy I'm looking forward to going for a win at the last two races."
CR Scuderia Ferrari no.14: James Sutton & Michael Meadows
MICHAEL MEADOWS: "Paddy and I were going well after the restart and had managed to pass a Viper and an Aston. Unfortunately Foster (in his Viper) tried to brake were a Ferrari would brake for Paddock Hill Bend and fired me off into the gravel. We had a definite second place in the bag, maybe even a win, although I can imagine it wouldn't be easy to get past Paddy!"
JAMES SUTTON: "I think I can only describe that as a character-building weekend. I think it's about time Michael and I had some of the luck though!"