Silverstone, UK -- 24 September 2006: Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen stretched out their lead in the 2006 British GT Championship with a dominant victory at Silverstone today. The pair now have a four-point lead after winning 10 of the 12 races...
Silverstone, UK -- 24 September 2006: Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen stretched out their lead in the 2006 British GT Championship with a dominant victory at Silverstone today. The pair now have a four-point lead after winning 10 of the 12 races so far.
Chris Niarchos started the race from pole position and was running third at the 30 minute mark, just as the picture of the race changed completely. The safety car came out and the Greek/Canadian took the opportunity to pit to hand over to Tim Mullen. The race was 35-minutes old by then and Chris had completed the mandatory minimum time. Tim joined the race behind the safety car and, when the team realised it would be a long caution period, they made a swift strategy change. Just over ten minutes later Tim came in again, prompting a few raised eyebrows from those who didn't know the plan. The Ferrari was now in a position to run to the end of the race on its newly-acquired full tank of fuel.
Whilst the Ferrari stopped under the safety car the LNT Panoz did not so the quick-thinking from the Scuderia Ecosse pit wall had done the trick. All Tim Mullen had to do was keep it neat and tidy which he duly did, bringing the No.1 Ferrari all the way to the chequered flag with over a minute in hand to the Panoz.
The tenth win of the year gives Chris and Tim a four-point lead over the LNT Panoz. The final two rounds of the 2006 British GT Championship are scheduled to take place at Magny Cours in France on 21/22 October.
Chris Niarchos: "That wasn't our prettiest victory but what a great strategy! The team is really on the ball as we have a lot of endurance racing experience now. We saw that it was going to be an extended period so we played the statistics and won. The start was a bit of a drag race down to the first corner. I knew that the Mosler and Panoz would get me into turn one, as there is such a long run up, but I also knew I had to sit tight and avoid any trouble. The Ascari coming through was a surprise though! When Tim got in he did what he does best: drive fast! It was good to get the win and now we have to sort out the Championship. I don't know what will happen about Magny Cours but if we go, we go to win!"
Tim Mullen: "The team came up with a great strategy for us today. We made those two stops early and then all we had to do was wait for it to pan out, which it did beautifully. I had a very comfortable lead by the closing stages; I had a few moments with traffic but everyone was pretty good today."
Stewart Roden, Scuderia Ecosse Team Principal: "We've won 10 out of 12 races now but with the half points system we still haven't won the Championship. It's frustrating as I think we've proved we can do it! It doesn't make much sense for us to go to Magny Cours and race within a French GT race with GT1 cars and people trying to sort out their own title races but, like Chris says, if we go, we go to win. The team did a fantastic job today and so did the drivers. I couldn't have asked them for more."
The Scuderia Ecosse trucks have already left Silverstone for the long drive to Budapest in Hungary as the next round of the FIA GT Championship is next weekend.