SCUDERIA ECOSSE WINS BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP!
The Scuderia Ecosse team achieved its ambition to win the British GT Team's Championship at Silverstone today. Second position for Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy in the two-hour race sealed the Championship for the team. Team-mates Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen both drove a spirited race, finishing in eighth spot in the GT2 class.
The team is also in the fortunate position of having won the Driver's Championship but as Niarchos and Mullen can still catch Kinch and Kirkaldy it won't be decided until at least the next event.
The race itself got off to a slow start with the field doing two warm up laps as it had started to rain when they formed up on the grid. Once the race got underway the rain had stopped and Kirkaldy was quick to pull away from the chasing Mosler of Phil Keen but just a lap later the safety car was dispatched whilst oil was cleared from the track. It wasn't until half an hour into the two-hour race that the safety car pulled in and racing recommenced.
Again Kirkaldy began to pull away from Keen's Mosler whilst Chris Niarchos had a fight on his hands against the fourth-placed Porsche of Ben Collins. The Embassy driver managed to get past Niarchos but not for long as Chris re-took third position and set about pulling away.
Towards the end of the first half the rain showers returned to Silverstone. The slippery track caught out Niarchos at Abbey which put him in the gravel. He recovered and returned to the pits, albeit a few laps down, to hand over to Mullen who joined the race on intermediate tyres.
Kirkaldy pitted to hand over the no.35 Ferrari to Nathan Kinch and pick up a set of wet tyres. With the rain stopping and starting throughout the race the tyre choice was always going to be a gamble but the rain was falling more heavily when Kirkaldy pitted so the decision was wets.
After the mid-race pit-stops Tim Mullen was the fastest man on the track as he fought to make up the deficit from the earlier 'off'. Kinch meanwhile was fighting his way back up the field and with thirty minutes to go he overtook Hyde's Mosler for the lead. By this time the track was fast drying so the Ferraris wet tyres were quickly becoming a problem for Kinch. He hung on until the very last lap when he was passed by Cunningham in the Embassy Porsche.
Andrew Kirkaldy (#35):
"It was quite difficult out there today; the Ferrari doesn't like the wet when it's on slick tyres! I managed to pull away a fair bit at the restart but then we opted for wets when I came in which turned out to be the wrong choice as the dry track at the end can't have been nice for Nathan on wet tyres. He did a good job today and I'd like to say all credit to the team for winning the Teams' Championship, they've done a great job all year and deserve the title. We're off to Mondello now to try and sew up the Drivers' Championship!"
Nathan Kinch (#35):
"Andrew pulled away well at the start but it was a shame the safety car stayed out for so long as it meant he couldn't pull out a big gap to the Mosler. I had a bit of a scramble to get my helmet on for the driver change as Andrew couldn't stay out there on slicks in the rain especially as we had a Championship to think of. We really should have gone for intermediates; that's easy to say in retrospect but I was on the ragged edge with those wets at the end. I tried to defend my position but it was impossible. We'll concede today's win but that's the last time!"
Chris Niarchos (#34):
"I had a great battle with Ben (Collins); he managed to get past me but I took him back on the next lap. We were running the hard tyres today so as soon as the shower came the temperature dropped and they went from brilliant to awful in one lap! I had a bit of a slide at Copse on my in lap which I recovered from ok but then I got to Abbey and couldn't hold it."
Tim Mullen (#34):
"That was a real shame as Chris and I should have won that one. We tried a new strategy with Chris starting, the safety car played into our hands, Chris drove really well and we should've won by a country mile but it rained a lap too early! It's so unlucky to spin on the lap before you come in but the conditions were tricky. It's great that the team has won the Championship but it's our turn for a race win now!"
Stewart Roden, Team Principal:
"It's a great feeling to win the title, I can certainly breathe more easily now. This weekend was hard work so I'm pleased we have finally got the title in the bag and looking forward to watching the drivers battle it out for the other one."
What's next for Scuderia Ecosse?:
The next race for the team is the Nurburgring LMES event (2-4 September) before the next British GT round at Mondello Park (17-18 September)
<pre> GT2 RACE RESULT (Round 9): 1. Collins, Cunningham Porsche GT3 RSR Embassy Racing GT2 2:00:48.603 2. Kinch, Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 GTC Scuderia Ecosse GT2 +2.811 3. Bentwood, Reid Nissan 350 Z RJN Motorsport GT2 +12.491 4. Whight, Kershaw Mosler MT900R Cadena GTC GT2 +1:04.354 5. Jordan, Caine Porsche GT3 RSR Eurotech GT2 +1:10.179 6. Keen, Hyde Mosler MT900R Eclipse Motorsport GT2 +1:10.855 7. Jones, Jones Porsche GT3 Eurotech GT2 + 1 lap 8. Niarchos, Mullen Ferrari 360 GTC Scuderia Ecosse GT2 + 1 lap
Fastest Lap: Kirkaldy 1:54.756 on lap 12
Pole Position: Kirkaldy 1:52.182
BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (GT2) DRIVERS: 1 Kinch 86 points 1 Kirkaldy 86 3 Mullen 49 3 Niarchos 49 5 Collins 42 5 Cunningham 42 7 Jordan 39 7 Caine 39
TEAMS: 1 Scuderia Ecosse 86 points CHAMPIONS 2 Team Eurotech 42 2 Embassy Racing 42