POUCHELON RACING HAS FRUSTRATING RACE Sunday's race of the FIA GT3 championship started in full wet conditions with almost all the cars on wet tyres, including the Pouchelon Vipers. Anthony Reid started in 23rd on the grid - the position set by...
POUCHELON RACING HAS FRUSTRATING RACE
Sunday's race of the FIA GT3 championship started in full wet conditions with almost all the cars on wet tyres, including the Pouchelon Vipers. Anthony Reid started in 23rd on the grid - the position set by his partner Gilles Duqueine on Friday. Reid was delayed in the appalling spray of the pack of 42 cars and at the end of lap 1 sat in 29th but had importantly survived the first lap intact. He then set about what was undoubtedly a classic charge through the field, already up to14th place by lap 2.
Meanwhile Rachel Green, in her first GT3 start, had a less happy time of it. Blocked by the smoking Ascari of Richard Stanton on her formation lap, she was bumped 5 places off the number 32 grid slot set by her partner Luc Dewinter and crossed the start line 37th. Despite barely being able to see in the worst of the spray she displayed grit and skill in equal measure by scything past 13 cars in the first three laps - the next best climb through the field after Reid's.
All eyes now on Reid's charge, he played to the Silverstone grandstands picking off cars at Copse almost every lap, including a pass round the outside which had the crowd on its feet. By the 4th lap, Reid was in 12th and had everyone wondering if a miracle was possible. Rachel Green's hopes were dashed on the 5th lap by the Maserati of Diego Alessi, the Italian having apparently chosen the grass as the best line through Beckettts then centre-punched the rear wheel of her Viper as he eventually worked out what the black bit of the track was for. Rachel was not best pleased. "This is the same guy who was penalised for ignoring the red at the pit exit on Friday. TWICE!" she said later. "Anthony's work on setup yesterday paid off and my car was fantastic. I was working my way up quite easily and I'm upset for team and Luc more than myself". Being robbed of what looked a likely top 10 handover, Dewinter was as laid back as he had been all weekend, showing his experience in sportscar racing "that's sportscars, it happens" he shrugged.
Reid was still on the march in 11th after 6 laps and catching old sparring partner top toff Tiff Needell, Reid outbraking Needell in the slippery conditions to take 10th. Another lap and Reid had dispatched young hotshoe Sean Edwards to take 9th. By lap 8, he was up to 7th, now just 27s behind race leader Alan Simonsen in the Ferrari. Reid claimed 6th at Woodcote on the 9th lap and on lap 10 set the fastest lap as he closed on the similar Viper of Bornhauser. He soon demoted this one and set to work on reeling in the Zacchia Viper. By the end of Reid's 14 lap stint he was just 1.5s off the 4th placed car, having made up 18 places, the outstanding charge of the race and undoubtedly a great hit with the crowd and TV viewers.
Time was lost somewhere in the driver change and as the stops worked themselves out, Gilles Duqueine had lost out and at lap 17 was also passed by the Turvey Ascari for 6th place. Having led the field for his entire stint on new tyres in Saturday's wet race, Duqueine fought hard with what he had left in this set after Reid's maximum attack. He was soon back in 6th and only 37s adrift of the Simonsen/Lester Ferrari, matching the leader's lap times second for second. As the track dried somewhat, Duqueine's wets began to degrade rapidly, his lap times extending. He was mobbed by a pack including the Van Splunteren Porsche and Ian Khan's Ferrari and slipped to 11th, just over a minute adrift of the Cioci/Zonca Viper. Gilles was pragmatic "the car was good at first but there was nothing I could do at the end" he said.
After the race, Team Manager Alex Pouchelon was satisfied with the team's first outing in FIA GT3; "after everyone in the team put in so much hard work to get us here, we are pleased to see that we can be competitive. We were disappointed to receive equalisation measures from the FIA just before the first race because this meant we could not test to find a setup. It caused problems. Nevertheless, we led more than half our first race in GT3, this is a good performance". What did he have to say about his drivers? "Luc Dewinter showed his experience and with very little time in the car before the first race he performed well and brought the car home safely. Rachel Green has real speed and a lot of heart, the team loves her and she can do great things we believe. Gilles was fantastic on Saturday, he made the best of the second row start and put Pouchelon at the front in our first GT3 race, a great time for our team. Anthony Reid was a pleasure to work with and has helped us so much with car setup. He drove with passion in both races and now I can see why the British fans love him".
The team looks forward with optimism to the next FIA GT3 round at Oschersleben in two months and before that will be running cars at the famous Pau street race, ranked second only to Monaco among street circuits.