ELLIS SCORES SECOND BRITISH GT PODIUM Team RPM's Bradley Ellis (Croydon) and Alex Mortimer (Stoneleigh, Warwickshire) clinched their best result of the Avon Tyres British GT season so far by finishing second in round three at Donington Park...
ELLIS SCORES SECOND BRITISH GT PODIUM
Team RPM's Bradley Ellis (Croydon) and Alex Mortimer (Stoneleigh, Warwickshire) clinched their best result of the Avon Tyres British GT season so far by finishing second in round three at Donington Park on Saturday 21 April. The weekend wasn't without its challenges, with the Team RPM Dodge Viper suffering from an intermittent misfire, but the dynamic Team RPM duo still managed to bag another important points-paying finish with fifth on Sunday, despite starting from 12th.
Mortimer put in a sterling performance during qualifying on Saturday to take his first pole position since the 2005 season and a flying start saw the 22-year-old take the lead from Ben de Zille Butler. Together they pulled out a more than comfortable 17-second gap to third, but Mortimer had to contend with the Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin filling his wing mirrors throughout.
The Team RPM Dodge Viper pitted at the halfway point, with around just one second to spare. Under pressure, Ellis stalled exiting the pits and despite quick reactions to rectify the situation, he rejoined the race behind the Barwell Motorsport car, with Guy Harrington at the wheel.
Although Ellis had Harrington in his sights, with the pair posting similar lap times, it was impossible to make ground, yet a steady five-second gap was maintained. Sandwiched between the two Aston Martins, Ellis came under pressure from Jonny Cocker in the closing stages, who was consistently posting impressive lap times.
Despite suffering from a misfire on the last few laps, Ellis kept his cool in what was a nail biting finish to clinch second, taking the chequered flag just 0.236 seconds clear of Cocker.
The misfire became apparent during Ellis' qualifying session, stopping him from setting a flying lap time and forcing him to retire to the pits. Consequently, Ellis would start from 12th for round four on Sunday.
A solid start saw Ellis maintain 12th, behind Nigel Greensall in the Brookspeed Dodge Viper. Although quicker than Greensall, Ellis couldn't find a way past. However, in an astonishing display of determination, Ellis remained glued to Greensall's bumper, staying consistently around five tenths apart. Together they worked well to push and join the pack in front, matching lap times set by both of the Ascaris and Aston Martins.
On lap nine, Ellis followed Greensall in taking Mark Cole in the Porsche for 11th place at Goddards. The 19-year-old took three further places and benefited from a clear track to set some quick laps before pitting at the 30-minute marker.
Mortimer maintained position and rejoined in eighth place. Once in the groove, he proceeded to take around one second per lap out of Phil Burton in the Ferrari. With just over 45-minutes gone, Mortimer took Kevin Riley in the Mosler for seventh, followed by Thomas Erdos in the Damax Ascari for sixth two laps later.
A fantastic battle ensued between Burton and Mortimer in the final laps for fifth. Although suffering from a return of the misfire on the last lap, Mortimer managed to take the place going through Goddards for the final time in what was a sensational end to a challenging weekend.
"We've managed to score good points this weekend, which is the most important thing," said Ellis. "Our efforts have promoted Alex and I to fourth in the drivers' championship, but there's still a lot of work to be done on the car. Although it was vastly improved from Oulton Park, with 40kilos of ballast removed and the ride height lowered by 10mm, we aren't quite there. We are having to drive the car to its absolute limits, which isn't ideal, but I'm confident there's a lot than can still be achieved."
Team RPM boss Robin Mortimer commented: "If only the equalisation with the Aston Martins could be levelled, we would be in for a rather exciting championship battle. However, with things the way they are, it is impossible for us to compete on a level footing. The team will continue to work hard on the car and can only hope that the organisers will look at the situation again before Snetterton. The boys' performance as usual was flawless with both matched incredibly closely on both old and new tyres. Sadly there is nothing more to come from them, merely the machinery."
For full race results go to www.msttiming.com and for further information on the 2007 Avon Tyres British GT Championship visit the new website www.britishgt.com
Team RPM and the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will head to Snetterton, Norfolk, for the two-hour race for round five, on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June 2007.
-credit: team rpm