Joe Osborne and Olly Bryant brought their Barwell Motorsport Ginetta G50Z home in first place in both rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Rockingham in Northamptonshire. Yet with the new Zytek engined G50Z not yet homologated and...
Joe Osborne and Olly Bryant brought their Barwell Motorsport Ginetta G50Z home in first place in both rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Rockingham in Northamptonshire. Yet with the new Zytek engined G50Z not yet homologated and running as an invitation class entry it was Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen and their Rosso Verde Ferrari that took the GT3 class honours in the first of the races. Dan Brown and Gregor Fisken in the Momo-backed Rollcentre Mosler finished second. The weekends racing now leaves the 17-year-old Mosler driver Brown returning to the top of the points table.
Osborne commenting on his first of the two wins said "We always knew the start would be critical, my first three laps were real qualifying laps to pull a good gap of about four or five seconds over Dan Brown's Mosler, and then I settled into a pace I could drive at consistently."
Bryant added "When the gap started coming down I had to up my pace a bit, but I had to be very careful not to slide off the track in the process. The car was good but we still need to do a lot of work to it to make it a bit kinder on its tyres."
The Rockingham Motor Speedway formed the dramatic backdrop for the 5th and 6th rounds of the British-based series. The quad-oval track with a road course in the infield claims to be the fastest banked oval circuit in Europe with a lap record of 24.719 seconds set by Tony Kanaan in his Lola-Ford Champ Car on 22nd September 2001 who recorded an average speed of 215.397 miles per hour in the process on the 1.47 mile track. It was the 1.94 mile road circuit that would host the GT cars which encompasses part of the banked track.
Osborne lead from the start having put the Ginetta on pole fending off Brown in his Mosler but any chance of taking the win were ended when he spun at the hairpin just after taking the lead when Osborne pitted to hand over to Bryant. Bryant inherited a car in a good position with the now second placed Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard and Jamie Smyth.
The Aston did not hold on to the GT3 lead for long, first being passed by the VRS Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox and then by the Rosso Verde 430 now with Simonsen at the controls taking over from the excellent work done by Lester in the opening stint. As the race progressed Simonsen closed the gap to Wilcox and the pair fought over the GT3 class lead, Simonsen come out on top thanks to a move around the Deene Hairpin four laps from the flag giving him the inside line for the Yentwood right-hander and the win was his.
"It was an extremely hard race because of the heat," said Simonsen, "but everyone was struggling with it, not just us. A few people dropped out, which helped our situation, and then I was able to pick off a few towards the end."
Wilcox and Burton crossed the line in third overall and GT3 class second place Howard and Smyth took fourth place overall and the last step on the GT3 podium, with Brown and his new driving co-driver Fisken just missing out in fourth.
The GT4 points leaders Nigel Moore and Jody Firth scored their fourth class race win from five races in their Team WFR Ginetta.
The second race of the weekends races saw another victory for the Ginetta with Osborne and Bryant coming through to win the race with the Rollcentre Mosler MT900 of Brown and Fisken taking the GT3 podium and the maximum points.
Simonsen it in his Rosso Verde Ferrari started from pole but that position was rapidly overhauled by Wilcox in the VRS Ferrari, who muscled took the lead at the Deene hairpin on the first lap. The Safety Car was soon out and stayed there for six laps as the MTECH Ferrari 430 of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin caught fire.
On the restart Simonsen took the place back from Wilcox but as he handed over to Lester the Rollcentre car now with Brown at the wheel would be hard to stop. Lester lost the lead to the Ascari on lap 24, David Jones having taken over from brother Godfrey, and shortly lost another two places to Brown and Burton now in the car after Wilcox pitted.
Osborne and the Barwell car were soon in the fight and an almighty three way battle ensued between the Mosler, Ascari and the Ginetta.
Five laps from the end Osborne dived down the Mosler's inside at the hairpin to take second place taking the Ascari 2 laps later. Meanwhile Brown drove a great race to take the class victory away from David Jones in the Preci-Spark Ascari on the last lap of the race. The ABG Motorsport Viper of Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins collected the final GT3 podium position with the VRS Ferrari 430 of Wilcox and Burton taking fourth ahead of the Smyth and Howard Beechdean Aston Martin in fifth.
GT4 class honours went to the Austin Racing Ginetta G50 with Hunter Abbott and Gary Simms driving.
The next round of the championship will take place on the 13th and 14th of June at the Scottish Knockhill race track.