Team Modena take British GT Podium Finish
Team Modena scored their first Avon Tyres British GT Championship podium in Saturday's race at Rockingham, Northants, drivers Adam Jones and Jason Templeman bringing the team's Lamborghini Gallardo home third in the hour-long event. The podium celebrations proved to be the highlight of the weekend for the team, the car unable to start Sunday's race due to a gearbox problem.
"We are very pleased, it was great to see the guys on the podium," said Team Principal Graham Schultz. "The drivers did very well, we were just a bit slow on the pit stop but overall it was a great day. After the highs of Saturday we had a disappointing end to the weekend, but we had a problem with a gearbox bearing - which was caused by one of the driver's lack of familiarity with the car and subsequent blipping of the throttle on downshifts - which is not required with the gearshift software the sequential box employs. However the car started from pole and has broken a few lap records this year showing the pace inherent in the car. We have used the part season we have undertaken this year, as an opportunity to learn about the car and we plan an intensive testing and development programme over the winter under the direction of our technical director Sergio Rinland. We think the car has demonstrated fantastic potential and will make an announcement about our increased committment to the British GT series for 2008 very soon."
The Lamborghini Wycombe-prepared Gallardo showed its pace in qualifying, Templeman setting the quickest time in the first of the two 15-minute sessions. Team regular Adam Jones was third quickest in the second session, setting the grid for Sunday's race, despite lapping the Gallardo even quicker than its first session time.
Making his debut with the team this weekend, qualifying was the first time Templeman had the opportunity to take to the Rockingham circuit on slick tyres in the Gallardo, making his feat of setting pole even more impressive.
"I only drove the car in the wet yesterday," said Templeman straight after qualifying, "so that was my first dry run. I'm sure there is still more to come, and we are confident for the race. It's my first outing this year, so it's great to be in a good car and straight on the pace."
Jones put in a series of rapid and consistent laps during the following session, which set the grid positions for Sunday's race.
"It was our first time all weekend on slick tyres," said Jones, "and the car felt a bit different to how I remembered it from when I had driven it before. Jason will be starting in today's race and we can get on with the job and have a good result. I did several laps that would have got me pole in the first session - so it is a bit frustrating!"
Templeman was in the GT3 Gallardo for the start of Saturday's race and led the early laps, battling for the lead with a Viper and brining the car into the pits from second place on lap 21 less than a second behind the lead car.
Once the pit-stops had all taken place Jones found himself in fifth place, but was soon charging back up the order, taking fourth by diving inside an Ascari at the Deene hairpin and sitting it out to take the position two corners later.
Jones closed on the third placed car and challenged into the banked Turn One, only to be forced wide and lose momentum, slipping to fifth again. Back into fourth before the end of the lap, Jones got alongside the third placed car going into the very long left-hander at the back of the circuit, and stayed alongside all through the corner to take the position into the Tarzan hairpin with ten laps to go.
In the final laps Jones had the Gallardo lapping rapidly and was closing on the second placed Porsche at a second a lap, finishing less than two seconds behind at the end, the driving duo recording the team's best British GT finish in just the fifth meeting for the Lamborghini.
"The first stint went well," said Templeman. "I opened a gap to the Viper but ran a little wide and he got past. I close right in on him and then it was time for my stop. The car felt good and was getting better and better as the race went on."
"Jason did a great first stint," said Jones, "I went and got a feel for the car as we had changed it since qualifying and closed on the Viper. Like Jason I had a bit of a moment, I got off line going past the Viper, and had to start over again. It's a great result for the team, they have been working hard to get the car on the podium since it first turned a wheel and to get this far in such a short space of time is a great performance."