Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch took victory in the final round of the 2004 British GT Championship at Brands Hatch this afternoon. The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari had to work hard for the win ahead of the Ultima of Steven Brady and Alan Bonner. Adam Sharpe and Dominic Lesniewski won the Dailysportscar.com GT Cup class, sealing the team title for Tech 9 Motorsport.
Kirkaldy came under immense early pressure from his team-mate Tim Mullen. However, Mullen's race ended in the Paddock Hill gravel trap on lap six when he went for the lead. As the track conditions began to deteriorate with heavier rain Steven Brady was closing in on the leading trio of the Ferrari, Tim Sugden in the GruppeM Porsche and Neil Cunningham in the Embassy Corvette.
It took the Ultima just a handful of laps to move into the lead and begin to pull away. His lead was soon wiped out though, as the safety car was scrambled for the Emotional Engineering Monaro, which had spun into the gravel at Druids.
After the round of driver changes, it was Alan Bonner who held onto the lead in the Ultima. Kinch pushed hard in the closing laps and stole the lead on lap 54 with Bonner bringing the Master Motorsport car home with its best ever finish. Cocker brought the Porsche home for a final third place of the season.
"It was great fun," said Kinch. "I knew I could catch the Ultima, but it was a relief to get by. I'm really pleased with the late part of my stint, as I was setting some really quick lap times at the end," he added.
Steve Hyde brought the Eclipse Motorsport TVR across the line in fourth place. However, he was pushed very hard on the last two laps by Mark Sumpter, who found a late surge of pace after driving both races by himself in the JW Racing Porsche.
Adam Sharpe led the race outright during the pit-stop window as the rest of the field dived in under the safety car period. A shrewd move by the Tech 9 squad allowed it to gain almost a lap on the rest of the cup class field and gave Lesniewski an easy run to victory.
I wanted to come in when the safety car was on track, but Phil, quite rightly, kept me out," said Sharpe. "I'm really pleased to have clinched the team title for Tech 9. The team has worked hard all season," he added.
Adam Wilcox and Ni Amorim managed to come home in second place, but it was not enough. Keith Ahlers and Aaron Scott picked up another podium finish in the Morgan. The pair both struggled with a broken windscreen wiper but managed to claim third place.
<pre> British GT Championship -- Round 16 Brands Hatch -- Race Result:
NGT 1 Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 Modena 1h00m47.268s 2 Brady/Bonner Ultima GTR 1h00m50.339s 3 Sugden/Cocker Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 1h00m52.755s 4 Hyde/Johnson TVR T400R 1h01m03.229s 5 Sumpter Porsche 911 GT3-RS 1h01m03.769s 6 Hartshorne/Eagling TVR Tuscan R + 1 lap
Dailysportscar.com GT Cup 1 Lesniewski/Sharpe Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 1h01.37.441s 2 Wilcox/Amorim Ferrari 360 + 1 lap 3 Ahlers/Scott Morgan Aero 8 + 1 lap 4 Lester/Simonsen Ferrari 360 + 1 lap 5 Bilimoria/Wandless Porsche 911 GT3-Cup + 2 laps 6 Croydon/Smythe Ferrari 360 + 3 laps