ELLIS SCORES SENSATIONAL SECOND IN FIA GT3 DEBUT Croydon's Bradley Ellis stunned the FIA GT3 European Championship grid by clinching second and even leading his first ever FIA GT3 race, in round five of the series at Monza, Italy, on Sunday...
ELLIS SCORES SENSATIONAL SECOND IN FIA GT3 DEBUT
Croydon's Bradley Ellis stunned the FIA GT3 European Championship grid by clinching second and even leading his first ever FIA GT3 race, in round five of the series at Monza, Italy, on Sunday 24 June. The recently turned 20-year-old had a belated birthday celebration when he followed his sensational round five performance with fourth in round six, and was later awarded third place, delivering the best FIA GT3 results to date for manufacturer Dodge.
Guest driving the Team RPM Dodge Competition Coupe alongside 19-year-old Ed Morris (Sittingbourne, Kent) for the first time, the new pairing immediately proved positive with both drivers qualifying fifth.
After a solid start for round six on Sunday morning, Ellis remained in fifth at the end of lap one on the tail of the leaders. Soon settling into the race, Ellis began to make his presence felt and steadily picked his way past three of the leading cars within the first 15 minutes.
By the 20 minute marker, the British driver was looking comfortable in the lead of his inaugural FIA GT3 race. The former British Karting Champion failed to put a wheel wrong and continued to lead until pitting with 30 minutes remaining.
Morris managed to rejoin the race in the lead and began posting impressive lap times, but the number 18 Corvette began to close on the Team RPM Dodge Competition Coupe. Three laps later and the Corvette took the lead but Morris still stayed in contention. Having maintained a comfortable margin to the third placed number 23 Aston Martin, Morris took the chequered flag in second just 4.402seconds behind the Corvette to help clinch Ellis' first FIA GT3 podium finish.
Still buzzing from race one, Morris made a good start for round six on Sunday afternoon and, while holding position in fifth, he was the quickest car in the opening three laps. Despite maintaining his strong pace, Morris was unable to make an impression on the leaders and pitted to hand over to Ellis unchallenged in fifth.
Rejoining in position, Ellis wasted no time in chasing down the fourth placed Corvette and managed to take the place with 25 minutes remaining of the one hour race. Although lapping some two seconds quicker lap after lap, the margin to the third placed number 19 Corvette proved too great and Ellis settled for fourth. Following the race, Ellis and Morris were awarded third place following the exclusion of Luca Pirri and Jurgen von Gartzen in the winning number 18 Corvette, under article 60 of the Championship Regulations.
"My first FIA GT3 weekend really couldn't have gone any better," said Ellis. "I hoped that Ed and I would work well as a pairing but we didn't have any expectations past finishing in the top six, especially considering the fierce level of competition. We both did a great job and it was great to stand on the second step of the FIA GT3 podium for the first time."
Robin Mortimer, Team RPM principal, commented: "This has been a dream weekend. Brad and Ed gelled immediately and it was apparent they would do well from the first practice. They both drove out of their skins, it was unbelievable. Brad has really underlined his level of ability here today and the entire team are thrilled."