GT

BGTC: Dodge Vipers win at Rockingham

Dodge Vipers dominated rounds five and six of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship series at a rain soaked Rockingham Motor Speedway near Northamptonshire England. James Gornall and Jon Barnes took victory in the first meeting of the weekend...

Dodge Vipers dominated rounds five and six of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship series at a rain soaked Rockingham Motor Speedway near Northamptonshire England.

James Gornall and Jon Barnes took victory in the first meeting of the weekend in their Trimite Brookspeed Viper with Team RPM victorious in round six as Steve Clark took the chequered flag behind the safety car to win his and Paul O'Neill's first British GT race.

Gornall and Barnes now lead the GT3 series with 29 points over nearest rivals Paddy Shovlin and Michael Cullen now on 26 points.

The event at Rockingham started with a shake up in the results from rounds three and four as British GT race officials announced penalties against six cars from the previous meeting at Knockhill, Scotland last month.

A review of video evidence resulted in the disqualification of CR Scuderia's Paddy Shovlin from the first of the Scottish races for overtaking under yellow flags. In the second race the top four finishers were also subsequently excluded from the results for the same offence. David Jones (Eurotech Ascari), Hector Lester (CiM Ferrari), Adrian Wilmot (22Racing Aston Martin), Steve Clark (RPM Viper) were all stripped of their positions and points from the race. In addition Leo Machitski in the Tech 9 Lamborghini was excluded for driving standards.

The first race at Rockingham on Sunday (25th May) started in conditions that were wet even for a typical British summer. The rain soaked track near Corby had areas of deep standing water as the race started under the safety car.

As the safety car peeled into the pits Machitski in the Tech 9 Lamborghini lead the field away whilst Oliver Morley in the sister Lamborghini found himself losing his second place as Gornall in the Viper found a route past on the inside of the Deene hairpin putting the Trimimte Brookspeed car into second. Gornall didn't have to wait long for the opportunity to take the lead, as on lap five, Machitski in the Tech 9 Gallardo slowed to a virtual halt as it crossed the start finish line with gearbox problems.

With the Lamborghini out of the race, Gornall took stretched the Viper's legs, carving a good lead for the Trimite Brookspeed team. By the time the pitstop window had opened, the former Rockingham instructor had created a gap of over five seconds.

Barnes took over the Trimite Brookspeed car and held off a hard charging Adam Jones in the Modena Lamborghini to take the win in the 36 lap race.

Matt Nicol-Jones and Stewart Linn took the GT4 win extending their GT4 class championship lead in class to 12 points over Fulvio Mussi, who finished a lonely third with Joe Osborne in the Team RPM Ginetta.

After winning both Rockingham races in 2007, team RPM were once again victorious in 2008 as Steve Clark took the win in the second race behind the safety car to win his and Paul O'Neill's first British GT race.

Round six took place on Monday (the 26th May) in much better conditions. The track was still damp but the monsoon like rain from the previous day had gone and most of the teams elected to start on slick tyres.

Jason Templeman had claimed pole for the Tech 9 Lamborghini and was looking to make up for the disappointment of yesterdays retirement. This was not to be and the RPM Viper took the win after leader Machitski in the Tech 9 car spun out at Gracelands while following the safety car. Rob Austin and Hunter Abbott won their second British GT4 class race well ahead of championship leaders Stewart Linn and Matt Nicol-Jones.

Round 5 winners Barnes and Gornall failed to score any points due to bodywork damage to the Viper following a collision. However with their nearest rivals also failing to score they retained their championship lead. Two podium finishes for Michael Meadows and James Sutton put them just seven points behind the championship leaders as the championship now heads to Snetterton for the next two races in two weeks time.

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Series GT
Drivers Rob Austin , Paul O'Neill , David Jones , James Gornall , Adam Jones , Hector Lester , Jason Templeman , Hunter Abbott , Oliver Morley , Jon Barnes , Michael Meadows , Michael Cullen , Paddy Shovlin , Steve Clark , Stewart Linn , Joe Osborne , James Sutton