The CR Scuderia team is at the top of the drivers and teams championship tables after a fantastic first weekend of racing in the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship. The drivers had a tough task ahead of them in this afternoon's...
The CR Scuderia team is at the top of the drivers and teams championship tables after a fantastic first weekend of racing in the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
The drivers had a tough task ahead of them in this afternoon's race, starting from seventh, 10th and 11th places on the grid. James Sutton, Michael Cullen and Luke Hines all got away well and were soon running in formation in sixth, seventh and eighth places.
Just a few laps in Luke got hit from behind which sent him into a spin and off the track at Knickerbrook. He managed to rejoin but had to retire with gear selection problems. James and Michael meanwhile were running strongly in sixth and seventh places respectively.
The race really stepped up a gear after the pit-stops. Michael handed Ferrari no.15 over to Paddy Shovlin as soon as the pit window opened and James came in towards the end of the window to hand over no.14 to Michael Meadows. With 12 minutes to go, Michael was up to fourth, chasing down third place, then vaulted up to third when the leader received a stop-go penalty for pitting after the pitlane had closed. A spin for the Trackspeed Porsche put Michael up to second and gave him a real chance to go for the race win, running just six seconds behind the leading Lamborghini. He got his head down and caught the leader but was ultimately unable to get through as there was a lapped car between him at the Lamborghini.
During this time Paddy was fighting his way through the field from seventh all the way up to fourth, giving the Irish pair another haul of points to keep their position in the lead of the 2008 British GT Driver's Championship.
CR Scuderia Ferrari no.14: James Sutton & Michael Meadows
JAMES SUTTON: "After not doing as well as we possibly could have in qualifying we pushed hard today. We had a good car and had to work it very hard to stay in front of the competition during the opening stint. I'm delighted we're leading the championships, especially for Chris (Niarchos) as I know he gets as much of a kick out of good results as we do."
CR Scuderia Ferrari no.15: Michael Cullen & Paddy Shovlin
PADDY SHOVLIN: "Michael and I are very happy with the two races we had here this weekend. It came as a bit of a surprise that the competition was stronger than we expected so we are naturally delighted to be leading the championship. We can't wait for Knockhill now."
CR Scuderia Ferrari no.16: Luke Hines & Jeremy Metcalfe
LUKE HINES: "I got away well at the start which was good as the first start of the year is always a little tentative. I managed to avoid collisions, made up a few positions and set off with a pair of Vipers on my tail. After a few laps one of them got impatient which resulted in me getting hit from behind and spinning off at Kinickerbrook. I then couldn't get it into gear so I switched everything off and tried again, eventually getting it into first. That was really the end though as after that the gears kept popping into neutral."
CRS Team Principal, Chris Niarchos:
"Overall I'm very satisfied with our first weekend of racing. The team performed very well in difficult conditions, both in terms of the weather and the strong competition. The drivers all performed well and were competitive within their classifications. They will all only get stronger as we go through the season. It's good to get the first event out of the way and to come out on top is fantastic."
Next up for the British GT racers are rounds three and four at Knockhill in three weeks' time but attention now turns to Formula Renault with the new season kicking off next weekend at Brands Hatch.