Le Castellet -- 20 August 2006: A fast and furious race at Paul Ricard this afternoon produced the best result so far for Scuderia Ecosse in the FIA GT Championship. An emphatic victory for Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy, followed by a very...
Le Castellet -- 20 August 2006: A fast and furious race at Paul Ricard this afternoon produced the best result so far for Scuderia Ecosse in the FIA GT Championship. An emphatic victory for Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy, followed by a very close second place for Tim Mullen and Marino Franchitti, rounded off a weekend of racing that showed what a peak-performing Scuderia Ecosse can do.
The weekend had started well on Saturday when Kirkaldy made the pole position tally five-out-of-five, whilst Mullen kept him on his toes with a lap time just inside the two minute mark. The race had a clean, formation start that saw Kirkaldy get away well from pole, closely followed by Mullen. The pair were then nose-to-tail for the entire first stint before handing over to their respective team-mates.
Franchitti set off in pursuit of Kinch and found a way past him when Nathan ran wide. Kinch wasn't about to let him go though and stuck to his rear bumper for the next hour! The team double-stinted the Michelin tyres from the second pit-stops which meant both cars got a big jump on the third-placed JMB Ferrari which finished the race over 40 seconds down the road from the Scuderia Ecosse cars.
The final stint was another race between Kirkaldy and Mullen with the Scot leading to take first place in a fantastic 1-2. With Kirkaldy's pole position, Mullen's fastest race lap and the 1-2 finish, the team scored a perfect set of results at Paul Ricard.
This result means both cars will run heavier at Dijon in two weeks' time as they will have additional success ballast on board, but the aim is the same, to keep on taking those points. We have now just reached the halfway mark of the season so there is still a long way to go in the 2006 FIA GT Championship.
Nathan Kinch: "We did what we set out to do today so it's a superb result for the whole team. We need to keep taking maximum points as we are here to win the Championship. I had a great battle with Marino; I went into the first corner a bit hot and lost the rear which meant I got a lot of rubbish on my tyres. This meant Marino could sneak through on the inside a bit later on but I didn't let him go and made sure his mirrors were full of Ferrari for the remainder of the stint!"
Andrew Kirkaldy: "The car has been great all weekend. The guys have worked really hard; they're doing the British Championship and this (FIA GT Championship) at the same time so it's doubly hard for them. We've been the fastest all weekend so it's fantastic that the hard work paid off with a 1-2."
Tim Mullen: "That first stint was amazing; I was an inch off Andrew's bumper for over an hour! Marino then jumped in and, after passing Nathan, was bumper-to-bumper with him for his whole stint. During the last leg I got fastest lap whilst chasing Andrew down but once I'd set that we settled down and ran to the flag so we could be sure of all those points. It's the closest race we've had so far and I loved every minute!"
Marino Franchitti: "It's a great result for the team as we achieved our target of taking as many points as possible off AF Corse. Both cars did a great job and it felt good to get back on the podium again so soon after Spa. I led my whole stint so I was pleased about that and I want to thank Chris again for letting me take his seat this weekend....it was fun! I think it's a bit of a con though that you don't get any Champagne on the podium...in France!"
Stewart Roden, Scuderia Ecosse Team Principal:
(Stewart stayed in Scotland this weekend to look after Carol Roden, who was taken ill last week.)
"It's great to get a 1-2. I'm delighted for all the guys as they've worked hard and done a fantastic job this weekend. I'm happy to report that Carol is on the mend too so it's a great way to finish a weekend!"
There is no let up in Scuderia Ecosse's race schedule as next up is round 10 and 11 of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch next weekend.