ELLIS SCORES FIRST BRITISH GT3 DOUBLE FOR DODGE ON HOME TURF Croydon's Bradley Ellis and teammate Alex Mortimer (Stoneleigh) clinched a double Avon Tyres British GT Championship win in rounds six and seven on 14 & 15 July, made all the more...
ELLIS SCORES FIRST BRITISH GT3 DOUBLE FOR DODGE ON HOME TURF
Croydon's Bradley Ellis and teammate Alex Mortimer (Stoneleigh) clinched a double Avon Tyres British GT Championship win in rounds six and seven on 14 & 15 July, made all the more sweeter on Ellis' home circuit of Brands Hatch, Kent. Astonishingly, the pair started the weekend lying fifth in the championship but walk away leading the series.
In the process, the lights-to-flag win on Saturday earned the Team RPM pair a small place in motorsport history by clinching Dodge's first British GT3 victory while producing six different winners in six races for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship. Their second win on Sunday confirmed them as the only team to win two races this season and delivered Ellis and Mortimer's first ever double victory at one event.
Elated with the results, Ellis commented: "This was almost the perfect weekend and I am over the moon to take our first GT3 wins at my home circuit. The only thing missing was the double pole position, but otherwise it couldn't be any better. This goes some way to making amends for all of the bad luck we've had this season and it was fantastic to show what we are made of in front of all our sponsors. I must thank ATS, Fathom, GENT, Schroth and Cult for their continued support. Undoubtedly, this weekend leaves us in a more commanding position going into the two-hour round eight at Silverstone."
The Team RPM duo looked promising from qualifying when Mortimer put the Team RPM Viper on pole position. As usual, mere one hundredths of a second separated the pair's pace and, although Ellis set the faster overall time on this occasion, the 20-year-old clinched sixth on the grid for Sunday's race.
An excellent start from pole for round six on Saturday afternoon saw Mortimer command the lead from Paddock Hill Bend with Paul Drayson's Aston Martin in second. Comfortable out in front, Mortimer continued to pull away at a rate of 1.5 seconds per lap and boasted a seven second lead by lap six when the Safety Car was brought out, wiping out his advantage.
Mortimer nailed the restart on lap 10 but understeer at Graham Hill Bend sent the 22-year-old wide allowing Drayson and Godfrey Jones to pressurise. But Mortimer emerged from Clearways with a four second lead while the Aston Martin and Ascari had disappeared, due to an incident between Hawthorn and Westfield.
The advantage was again short lived as the Safety Car came out two laps later, but went in the same lap. Another good restart allowed Mortimer to increase the margin from Nigel Redwood's Team RPM Porsche and continued to pull out nearly nine seconds before pitting with 27 minutes left to run.
A swift pitstop and Ellis rejoined in the lead with Michael Bentwood's Aston Martin bearing down in second, followed by the two Ferraris of Allan Simonsen and Adam Wilcox. Ellis put in lap after consistent lap to pull out a 3.5 second lead with 17 minutes to go.
With four seconds covering the first four cars as the field approached the last 10 minutes, the crowd were in for a thrilling end to the race. Ellis refused to succumb to the pressure and was pulling away once again when the race was red flagged with eight minutes remaining. Despite a premature end to the race, Ellis had pulled out an increasing lead and was elated to take his maiden GT3 win on home ground.
A strong start for round seven on Sunday and Ellis held sixth into Paddock and immediately set about fifth-placed Wilcox. Glued to the Ferrari's bumper for the first six laps, Ellis made a smooth move down the inside of the Ferrari at Paddock Hill to take fifth on lap seven.
Two seconds clear of the Ferrari by the end of the lap, Ellis began to reign in Michael Bentwood who was 4.5 seconds up the track in the Aston Martin. The second-placed Lamborghini Gallardo suffered a puncture promoting Ellis to fourth, while the gap to Bentwood continued to fall by tenths of a second each lap.
As the pit window opened Ellis' mighty efforts saw him just 2.3 seconds adrift of the Aston Martin and the Croydon racer made his pitstop at the 30 minute marker, giving teammate Mortimer the best opportunity to maximise their track position.
Once the pitstops were completed, Mortimer emerged in third and set about the leaders lapping nearly a second quicker than Drayson and the second placed Ferrari of Hector Lester. By the end of lap 27 Mortimer had reduced Lester's five second advantage to five tenths and took second place at Westfield with 15 minutes to go.
On lap 29, Mortimer took the lead when an incident at Surtees saw Drayson retire at Hawthorn. With a double victory in sight, Mortimer continued to build a comfortable margin from Lester to take the chequered flag and the second win of the weekend, over eight seconds clear.
After the second champagne podium celebrations at Brands Hatch, Team RPM Principal Robin Mortimer commented: "It just doesn't get any better than this. Once again, both Al and Brad didn't put a foot wrong and the strategy we devised at the start of the race worked perfectly. An enormous amount of credit must go to the hard working mechanics and data staff who work tirelessly to help achieve the results. I think this has reignited interest in the British GT Championship as it is no longer an Aston Martin benefit."