SUGDEN TAKES SEASON'S FIRST WIN The second round of the FIA GT Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday May 28th gave Tim Sugden his first win of the 2006 season. Partnered by Swiss driver Iradj Alexander in the JMB - GruppeM Ferrari...
SUGDEN TAKES SEASON'S FIRST WIN
The second round of the FIA GT Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday May 28th gave Tim Sugden his first win of the 2006 season. Partnered by Swiss driver Iradj Alexander in the JMB - GruppeM Ferrari F430 GTC Sugden made up for the disappointment of overheating problems whilst leading at Silverstone in round 1 by taking a late race win in Brno. This also made up for the disappointment in the 2005 race at the same circuit when he and Emmanuel Collard in the GruppeM Porsche had to retire from a good lead.
Sugden had qualified the car on grid 3 in GT2 for the race behind the two Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari F430 cars but ahead of the official factory backed AF Corse Ferraris of Jamie Melo and Miko Salo. After qualifying one of Scuderia Ecosse cars had to change an engine and so started from the back of the grid leaving only one ahead of Sugden and the usual first lap crush left Tim in third place behind Melo and his co-driver from 2005, Collard in the works backed Ebimotors Porsche. He moved ahead of Collard to run second to Melo for the first 30 minutes and then picked up a puncture that necessitated a pit stop. The JMB crew changed the wheel and topped up the fuel getting Sugden out without losing a lap although he was now dead last, this however proved to be a very significant stop as things worked out
Over the next 45 minutes Sugden lapped very quickly to gain places and move up to the back of the leading trio and as the others now pitted was able to take and consolidate a lead. The car now had to pit to hand over to Alexander but this was accomplished without dropping lower than 5th and so, as the others then also had to make their second stops the car was running in a close 4th place on the road which was a good position as the race entered an eventful last 15 minutes.
At this time the leading AF Corse Ferrari of Melo was being challenged by the Scuderia Ecosse car of Andrew Kirkaldy and the two touched and spun as Kirkaldy tried to pass, Tim Mullen following in the second Scuderia Ecosse car spun on oil, possibly dropped after the coming together of the two leaders, Alexander saw the spin, avoided the oil and so passed all three cars to take the lead with 7 minutes to go. Emmanuel Collard in the Porsche was closing but could not get close enough to challenge in the time remaining and so Sugden and Alexander ran out winners. The win puts the JMB - GruppeM pair into joint second place in the championship behind 4 drivers sharing first place as they head for Oscherslaben in Germany for race 3 in the FIA series at the beginning of July.
A THIRD FERRARI CONTRACT FOR THE LE MANS 24 HOURS
Just before leaving the UK for the Brno race Sugden signed a contract with "Russian Age Racing" to drive a Ferrari 550 Maranello in the Le Mans 24 hour race next month. Sugden will lead a team of 3 British Drivers; Nigel Smith with whom he shared a Porsche at Le Mans in 2004 and Christian Vann, a regular driver with the Cirtek team who will run the car.
Sugden has driven one of the highly successful Ferrari 550 cars that were developed for CARE Racing by Banbury based Prodrive Engineering on one previous occasion. In 2003 the inaugural Le Mans Series1000 kilometre race was run in November on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans and Veloqx Racing entered two of these cars. Sugden shared no 11 with Peter Cox and finished second in GT1 behind the sister car after Cox had a spin while leading early in the race. It will be the first time since then that Tim has driven a GT1 car and he will be up against the factory Aston Martin, Corvette and Maserati cars in what is just about the most famous race in the world and certainly the world's top sports car race.