4TH PLACE IN HUNGARY FOR SUGDEN The last 3 races in the FIA GT Championship have given Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander in their JMB-GruppeM Ferrari two 3rd places and a retirement from 2nd place and another podium seemed on this week until 25 ...
4TH PLACE IN HUNGARY FOR SUGDEN
The last 3 races in the FIA GT Championship have given Tim Sugden and Iradj Alexander in their JMB-GruppeM Ferrari two 3rd places and a retirement from 2nd place and another podium seemed on this week until 25 minutes from the end of the 3 hour race. Qualifying had been close and Sugden could only manage 5th after not quite getting the best set up through the free practice sessions but just 1.3 seconds covered the top 5 Ferrari F430s. The factory backed Ebimotors Porsche was next, 1.4 seconds further back.
As the leading cars were even closer in race trim the JMB team decided to try to gain time through pit stop tactics and ran maximum fuel from the start allowing Tim to run 1 hour 20 minutes before handing over to Iradj. This allowed the JMB car to take the lead and the situation was repeated as Iradj also led at the end of his stint. The tactic was a gamble that a pace car period would intervene and allow the #55 Ferrari to complete the race on one stop but alas this did not happen. As a result a short final stop was required for a "splash and dash" but Iradj was losing time due to fatigue and the stop was lengthened as Tim took over the driving for a final 22 minutes. This late stop dropped the car from 2nd to the 4th place it held to the end.
After the race Tim said that the tactic was used as they knew they had the pace of the two factory AF Corse F430's, Tim having posted 2nd quickest time behind the fastest Michelin shod Scuderia Ecosse car in the morning warm-up session and so hoped to gain an advantage In the end the JMB car split the AF Corse cars with factory test driver Jamie Melo finishing second between the two Scottish cars. The second AF Corse car driven by Mika Salo and Matteo Bobbi was 5th. Race fastest laps of these 5 cars were within less than 1 second of each other.
The result confirms the AF Corse team as FIA GT2 champions with 2 races still to run but the driver's title is still open although Tim cannot now equal his second place in the table from last year, he currently lies joint 6th. Two races remain, the next at Adria in Italy on the 15th October followed by Dubai on the 17th November