Mortimer & Ellis Make it 6 Different Winners in 6 Races Alex Mortimer and Bradley Ellis scored the first victory for the Team RPM Viper at Brands Hatch today in a thrilling lights-to-flag victory just ahead of the Barwell Motorsport Aston ...
Mortimer & Ellis Make it 6 Different Winners in 6 Races
Alex Mortimer and Bradley Ellis scored the first victory for the Team RPM Viper at Brands Hatch today in a thrilling lights-to-flag victory just ahead of the Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin of Tom Alexander and Michael Bentwood. The GTC podium was an all Porsche affair with David Ashburn and Phil Keen stepping onto the top of the podium.
With the Aston Martin of Guy Harrington and Ben de Zille Butler missing from the front of the grid due to an engine failure the 25 strong grid lined up to start round 6 of the 2007 Avon Tyres British GT Championship with five different manufacturers represented in the top six starters.
The Team RPM Viper with Alex Mortimer at the wheel sped away from the rest of the field as the lights went out to begin the 60-minute race. Paul Drayson in the #1 Aston Martin slotted in behind Mortimer's Viper, with Nigel Redwood in the Team RPM Porsche 997 was in 3rd place but had the Team Eurotech -- Preci Spark Ascari of Godfrey Jones crawling all over his rear bumper, having a looking on the inside at Surtees but Jones was unable to make the move stick.
In the GTC Class Jamie Smyth got the drop on the class pole sitter David Ashburn, the RSS Performance Porsche getting ahead of the Trackspeed Porsche on the opening lap. However Smyth's triumph was short lived as three laps later Ashburn regained the class lead and moved quickly away from his rival.
Back at the front the status quo remained, with Mortimer pulling away from the rest of the field by 1.5 seconds a lap. Redwood was pressurizing second placed DRayson but he also had to watch the Ascari of Godfrey Jones that was filling his rear view mirrors. On lap 4 Jones finally got the drop on his rival to move into the top three and set off after the bio fuelled Aston. Matt Harris in the Tech9 Porsche 997 was also on the move, passing Tom Alexander in the #2 Barwell Aston Martin, with Alexander struggling to drive the mighty V12 engined car with broken ribs following a skiing accident.
Mortimer continued to circulate at a rapid pace and by lap 6 he was seven seconds ahead of his nearest rival but he was soon to see this advantage wiped out at the Team Modena Lamborghini Gallardo of Matt Owen was beached on the corner after hitting the barriers at Westfield, bringing out the safety car and closing the entire field up.
The safety car stayed out until lap 10 and as soon as the race went green Jones attacked Drayson into Paddock Hill, with Drayson defending his second place. As the cars went down the hill into Graham Hill Bend Mortimer slid wide onto the grass but held onto to regain the track in the lead but with Drayson and Jones breathing down his neck as the field headed out towards Hawthorns. As the cars came back into view Mortimer had a huge advantage over the next car which was the Team RPM Porsche of Nigel Redwood, the Ascari and the Aston Martin had disappeared. Jones and Drayson had collided on the back of the circuit spinning both cars out of contention. Jones rejoined at the back of the field but the Safety Car was once again deployed as Drayson appeared to be stuck on the track.
As the cars circulated slowly behind the Ford Mondeo Drayson got the Aston moving and recovered to the pits allowing the Safety Car to be withdrawn before it had completed a lap. Once again Mortimer shot away as the green flag was waved and the pit window was opened a lap later.
The GTC Class Ferrari of Andrew Howard crawled into the pitlane with a lot of damage, smoke pouring from the back of the Beechdean Motorsport race car. Howard admitted that he had been battling with a GT3 Porsche and got a bit wayward coming out of a corner; the damage happening form a solo incident out on circuit.
The pitsstops began in ernest, with 4th placed Hector Lester in the Christians in Motorsport Ferrari 430 being one of the first to hand over. He was quickly followed by 5th placed Tom Alexander and 6th placed Phil Burton, who handed over to Allan Simonsen, Michael Bentwood and Adam Wilcox respectively, setting the scene for the best battle of the race.
Bentwood was the first of the trio to regain the track, quickly followed by Simonsen and Wilcox. The Aston Martin and the two Ferrari's were nose to tail for the next two laps, with Wilcox getting the drop on Simonsen by the end of lap 14 to move up a place. Simonsen fought back but spent the next 14 laps trying to find a way around the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari.
Mortimer came in on lap 18 to hand over to Bradley Ellis, who regained the track just ahead of Bentwood and the battling Ferrari's. Bentwood started to close the gap to the leading Viper and by lap 27 was just 1.6 second adrift of Ellis, but the driver from Croydon wasn't going to be denied his first outright win in British GT and started to open the gap up again.
Meanwhile the #64 Trackspeed Porsche with Phil Keen now at the wheel was given a drive through penalty for overtaking under the Safety Car when David Ashburn was in the hot seat. For lap after lap Keen maintained his pace until he finally came in to serve his penalty which had been extended to include a 10 second stop at the end of the pitlane. Keen rejoined still ahead of the RSS Performance Porsche of Graeme Mundy, and this is how the GTC class battle remained until the chequered flag.
Meanwhile Allan Simonsen was getting increasingly frustrated with being held up by Adam Wilcox, with Wilcox using every trick in the book to keep the quicker Ferrari at bay and hold onto the final podium position. As the race entered the final 10 minutes the pair of Ferrari's came up to lap the Moore Racing Viper of Paul Fenton. As they entered Graham Hill, Wilcox was unsighted by the Viper and allowed Simonsen to get on terms with him, the two Ferrari's side by side into Surtees but Wilcox was able to hang onto the place -- for now.
Two laps later the two cars clashed out on the circuit and the Ferrari's came back into Clearways, their roles now reversed and the Ferrari of Adam Wilcox streaming smoke from the rear left tyre, but he was able to maintain a reasonable pace. As the cars entered Paddock Hill for the 31st time Wilcox was pitched into a spin, that left the Ferrari beached in the gravel. With only five minutes to go the red flags were shown and the result declared on lap 29, with the hapless Adam Wilcox and Phil Burton being declared non finishers for causing the red flags.
Barwell Motorsport got the #1 Aston Martin DBRS9 going again, three laps down, with Jonny Cocker showing the pace of the bio fuel car by posting the fastest lap of the race on lap 18 with a 1m31.949, breaking his own British GT3 lap record by 1.6 seconds.
Bradley Ellis and Alex Mortimer claimed their first outright win in British GT, just ahead of Michael Bentwood and Tom Alexander. The Team RPM pair become the sixth different winners in the six British GT races this season. Second place was good enough to put Bentwood and Alexander in joint first place in the championship with Jonny Cocker and Paul Drayson.