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BGTC: Brands Hatch round seven race notes

Mortimer and Ellis Do the Double Alex Mortimer and Bradley Ellis became the first drivers to win two races in the 2007 Avon Tyres British GT Championship, finishing ahead of the CiM Ferrari of Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen after staring...

Mortimer and Ellis Do the Double

Alex Mortimer and Bradley Ellis became the first drivers to win two races in the 2007 Avon Tyres British GT Championship, finishing ahead of the CiM Ferrari of Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen after staring from 6th on the grid. The Barwell Aston Martin DBRS9 of Guy Harrington and Ben de Zille Butler finished 3rd from 12th on the grid after an overnight engine change.

RACE

The 25 cars came round Clark Curve for the rolling start and as the lights went out Antonio Garcia in the Lamborghini Gallardo and Jonny Cocker in the #1 Aston Martin attacked pole position holder Allan Simonsen in the Ferrari 430 into Paddock Hill. Simonsen held on but Garcia switched to the inside of the Danish driver and got the better run into Druid's. Garcia glued the Lambo to the inside kerb and came out of the corner in the lead.

Behind the leading trio the second Ferrari of Adam Wilcox was passed by Michael Bentwood in the #2 Aston Martin while Bradley Ellis in the race winning Dodge Viper hounded the Ferrari as the cars headed out onto the Grand Prix loop for the first time.

Further back the Team Eurotech Ascari of Godfrey Jones was making progress from the rear of the grid, moving past the Viper of Henry Fletcher and the Tech 9 Porsche of Oliver Bryant in short order on lap 3. On the next lap he picked of the Aston Martin of Ben de Zille Butler and was then after the Team 4Car Porsche of Mark Cole, which he duly passed on lap 6.

Meanwhile back at the front Antonio Garcia was holding off the challenge of Allan Simonsen, the Dane keeping the gap to the Lamborghini to 0.5 seconds as they circulated around the 2.3-mile Brands Hatch circuit.

Bradley Ellis finally overtook the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari of Adam Wilcox into Paddock Hill on lap 7 to move into 5th place and another car on the move was the Mosler of Ian Flux, moving ahead of the Team Trimite Viper of Nigel Greensall on lap 9.

Garcia was still holding the Ferrari at bay as Cocker was falling away from the leading pair. But then the complexion of the race changed as the Lamborghini slowed with smoke coming from the rear left of the car at Graham Hill Bend. Garcia struggled with the car as he slowly returned to the pits to replace a punctured rear tyre. This promoted Simonsen into the lead and he started to open the gap to Cocker even further now he had been released from following the Lamborghini. By lap 16 the gap between the leading pair had opened up to 6.2 seconds while third placed Michael Bentwood was being caught by Bradley Ellis.

Godfrey Jones was still making progress through the field, passing the Team Trimite Viper for 7th on lap 16 and was on the back of Adam Wilcox before the end of the lap. Jones attacked the Ferrari into Paddock Hill but Wilcox held on for the next couple of corners and Jones over did it into Surtees, spinning through 360 degrees onto the grass before rejoining having lost two places.

With the pit window open cars started to arrive to change drivers but the top three stayed out for as long as possible. Cocker briefly gained the lead when Simonsen pitted and used the free space to put some quick laps in before handing over the car to Paul Drayson. This proved to be a good plan because Drayson emerged in the lead ahead of the CiM Ferrari with Hector Lester now at the wheel, who had the Team RPM Viper of Alex Mortimer bearing down on him.

In the GTC class the Trackspeed Porsche, which had a commanding lead over its rivals, had stopped on the inside of the run into Druid's, promoting Colin Broster in the ABG Motorsport Porsche into the lead of the class. The Beechdean Ferrari was running in second, with the RSS Performance Porsche of Graeme Mundy regaining third place at the expense of David Dove in the Ferrari after an earlier clash had forced the Porsche into the pitlane to remove some bodywork that was rubbing on the rear tyre.

Meanwhile back at the front of the grid Drayson was starting to lap the backmarkers and was trying to find a way around the #5 Team RPM Viper of James Saggers as the pair approached Paddock Hill for the 29th time. Saggers wasn't making thing easy for the leading car and this allowed Mortimer in the sister Team RPM Viper to close the gap to the leader. Drayson, fearing he was going to be caught by Mortimer, went to pass Saggers into Surtees but the Viper turned in and there was contact, the Viper spinning around and the Aston Martin heading across the grass. Paul Drayson kept his foot in and regained the track in the lead but on the run down to Hawthorns the car slewed off the road into the gravel, the damage inflicted at the previous corner taking its toll. The hapless Paul Drayson walked away from his broken Aston Martin knowing the clash had cost them the race win and was obviously upset by this.

The Viper of Alex Mortimer was leading a British GT race for the second time in two days and was able to pull away from Hector Lester's Ferrari.

Meanwhile the #3 Aston of Guy Harrington was making great strides to get near the front by the end of the race. The demise of his team mate had promoted Harrington to 4th and on lap 31 he passed the other Aston of Tom Alexander, who was struggling for pace with a broken rib following a skiing accident, for 3rd place.

As the race drew to a close Alex Mortimer took the chequered flag once again, this time in front of his sponsors Cult Energy and Miss England, Georgia Horsley, 8.2 seconds ahead of the CiM Ferrari 430 of Hector Lester and a further 9.9 seconds in front of Guy Harrington's Aston. David Jones brought the Team Eurotech -- Preci Spark Ascari home in 4th after a great drive from the back of the field by the two brothers. Tom Alexander was third, with Phil Burton securing 6th place in the Team VRS Motor Finance Ferrari after the disappointment of Round 6.

The win promoted Mortimer and Ellis into the championship lead, one point ahead of Tom Alexander and Michael Bentwood with 38 points apiece. Guy Harrington and Ben de Zille Butler, who are all tied on 37 points.

Third place was good enough to give Graeme Mundy and Jamie Smyth the lead in the GTC Class Championship, 6 points ahead of Keith Ahlers and Steve Hyde who took no points from the weekend after engine problems with the Morgan on Saturday scuppered their weekend. The class win went to Colin Broster and Peter Morris, two podiums in their first weekend of the 2007 season. Andrew Howard and Aaron Scott had a good ending to the weekend with a solid second place.

The next round is the second two hour race of the 2007 season at Silverstone on August 12th.

-credit: www.britishgt.com

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