Ellis Holds FIA GT3 European Championship Position at Brno Reigning British GT champion Bradley Ellis, from Croydon, maintained his third position in the FIA GT3 European Championship standings despite enduring another testing race weekend,...
Ellis Holds FIA GT3 European Championship Position at Brno
Reigning British GT champion Bradley Ellis, from Croydon, maintained his third position in the FIA GT3 European Championship standings despite enduring another testing race weekend, at Brno circuit in the Czech Republic on 13&14 September. Once again the Matech Ford GT was the victim of a first lap incident in round seven that put teammate Alex Mortimer out of the running, but the duo fought back to finish seventh and collect two valuable championship points in round eight.
Although the Matech Ford GT's penalty ballast was reduced by 40kilos to 100kilos for Brno, the car was subject to further restrictions including a smaller rear wing, a 45mm air restrictor and an exhaust silencer. The combined affect of the increased measures quenched the horsepower by 60bhp around the undulating Czech Republic circuit, which meant drastic set up changes were required to the #21 Ford GT.
Mortimer qualified fifth in the first session on Saturday but was one of several drivers penalised for setting a fast sector time on a yellow flag lap during practice on Friday, resulting in a grid drop to eighth. Regardless, Mortimer made a good start for round seven before Ettore Bonaldi (ITA) backed his Ascari into the rear of the Ford GT at turn two, punting Mortimer off the track and into the gravel trap, ending his race on the opening lap.
With the rear-end damage repaired, thanks to a great job by the Matech crew, Ellis started 10th for round eight on Sunday but an incident at the first corner forced the 21 year-old to take avoiding action, dropping him down to 12th. The resulting safety car period lasted one lap before racing resumed, allowing Ellis to get to grips with the task of regaining positions.
Although suffering from a dramatic loss in straight line speed, Ellis took three places and picked up a further spot to pit from eighth position and handover to Mortimer with just over 25 minutes to go. The #38 Corvette retired in the latter stages, rewarding Mortimer with seventh place after a solid stint.
"After a difficult weekend at Oschersleben back in July, where Alex was taken out of the lead at the first corner in race one and we had brake failure in race two, we needed to score points here," said Ellis. "It was really unfortunate that Alex innocently ended up in the gravel trap at turn two so it was important to survive the first lap today. The balance of the car was okay but the lack of power due to the restrictions meant that we were getting out-dragged by even the slower cars. We were still fairly quick through the corners but it was impossible to get near anyone's slipstream on the straights. We did well to recover from 12th to seventh today and score two valuable points to keep us in the championship fight as we head for Nogaro in October."
Ellis lies third in the FIA GT3 European Championship battle on 24 points, 12 points behind the leaders, while Mortimer remains fourth on 22. As the penultimate championship rounds loom on 3&4 October at Nogaro, France, Ellis and Mortimer will be aiming to return to their winning ways in order to be in with a chance of catching the championship leaders.