QUAIFE WINS ON BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP RETURN Phil Quaife marked his first British GT Championship appearance in four years with an overall victory for Barwell Motorsport and Ginetta at his home track Brands Hatch at the weekend. Sharing the...
QUAIFE WINS ON BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP RETURN
Phil Quaife marked his first British GT Championship appearance in four years with an overall victory for Barwell Motorsport and Ginetta at his home track Brands Hatch at the weekend.
Sharing the Barwell-run Ginetta G50Z with Russian driver Leo Machitstki, Quaife scored a class victory and fifth overall in race 1 on Saturday before taking an outright win on Sunday in race 2.
Starting second on the grid for the opening race, Machitski made a strong start to hold his position off the line and throughout his stint. He handed over to Quaife midway through the one-hour race, but a problem with a jammed seat at the stop left the Kent-based driver in trouble as he rejoined the circuit in his considerably taller team-mate's seating position.
"It wasn't easy as I couldn't see any of the apexes and was reaching for the steering wheel and the pedals!" said Quaife, who fought through his discomfort and graining rear tyres to battle home in fifth overall and first in the invitational class.
The team made some set-up changes for race 2 to combat the graining problems and they seemed to work perfectly.
Starting from fourth, Quaife held his place off the grid and battled throughout his stint with the Ferrari 430 of Adam Wilcox and Ford GT of Alex Mortimer ahead, while consistently pulling away from the cars behind. He was the first of the leaders to pit at the mid-race point and excellent work from the Barwell Motorsport mechanics saw them vault Machitski into second place as the stops began to shake out.
The strategy of Phil staying in touch with runaway leader Allan Simonsen during his stint soon began to pay off as, with Simonsen's gentleman-driver team-mate Hector Lester having now having taken over, Machitski began to wipe out the Ferrari man's advantage.
With two laps remaining, Leo made the decisive move to grab the lead and held his advantage to the chequered flag.
"It felt so good to be stood on the top step of the podium drinking champagne again," said a delighted Quaife. "We were on the pit wall nervously trying to work out if Leo had enough time to catch Hector before the finish, so when he passed him on the penultimate lap it was a huge relief.
"The set-up changes we made for race 2 really helped, in fact the team has done a great job because we've got quicker and quicker throughout the weekend.
"I've really enjoyed being back in the British GT paddock and seeing some familiar faces. I'm also really impressed with Leo and with Barwell Motorsport and hopefully we can all race together again in the future."