Second Victory for Lester-Mullen Partnership The Christians in Motorsport Ferrari 430 of Hector Lester and Tim Mullen scored their second victory of the 2007 season, finishing well ahead of the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari of Adam Wilcox and...
Second Victory for Lester-Mullen Partnership
The Christians in Motorsport Ferrari 430 of Hector Lester and Tim Mullen scored their second victory of the 2007 season, finishing well ahead of the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari of Adam Wilcox and Phil Burton and the Aston Martin DBRS9 of Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker.
As the lights went out it was Adam Jones, starting from the second row, who got away well, moving ahead of both Ferraris on the front row. Phil Burton found himself boxed in by the Lamborghini and the Ferrari of Hector Lester and as the 27 car grid went through Copse for the first time it was Jones from Lester from Burton.
The first retirement came at Becketts when the Damax Ascari of Stephen Keating pulled off having lost all drive. As the rest of the field came back into the stadium, Tom Alexander in the Barwell Aston Martin spun at Luffield and the Cadena Motorsport Aston of Barrie Whight also had a spin somewhere out of view.
As the cars crossed the line the Team Modena Lamborghini Gallardo had already opened up a 1.7 second gap over the CiM Ferrari, which in turn was pulling away from the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari in third. Matt Harris in the Tech9 Porsche had made up two places on the opening lap and crossed the line one place behind the 4th placed Rollcentre Mosler of Kevin Riley. Riley had the Porsche snapping at his heels as they went through Copse and on the run into Becketts Harris made his move and breezed into 4th. Riley then seemed to have a problem as he dropped back to 20th before the end of the lap.
Erik Zwart in the Team Berlanga Ascari was also making up ground from 11th on the grid and swept past Ben de Zille Butler in the Barwell Aston Martin catching the front splitter on the DBRS9 as he passed. However the Ascari ended up in the gravel a few corners later in an unseen incident, though Zwart managed to recover the car to the track, while de Zille Butler was forced into the pitlane and into retirement with damage to his oil cooler from a lap one incident.
Meanwhile Phil Burton was falling into the clutches of Matt Harris, who in turn was being caught by the flying Bradley Ellis in the Team RPM Viper, up to 5th on lap 3 after starting in 14th. As Harris started to put 3rd placed Burton under pressure Ellis was content to watch and wait for his opportunity. On lap 6 Harris made his move at Woodcote, with Burton unable to stop the Porsche moving into 3rd place and at Copse Ellis repeated the move and the pole position holder found himself down in 5th at the end of the lap.
Meanwhile David Jones in the Team Eurotech Preci Spark Ascari was served with a drive through penalty for overtaking under yellows. Having started at the back of the grid, Jones had worked his way up to 11th by lap 9 when he came in to serve his penalty and knew he had to do it all over again.
By now Harris was catching the second placed Hector Lester and on lap 9 the Tech 9 Porsche took another Ferrari scalp followed by the Team RPM Viper of Bradley Ellis. By this time Adam Jones in the Team Modena Lamborghini had disappeared into the distance and was over twenty seconds ahead of the rest of the field. The Team Trimite Brookspeed Viper of Nigel Greensall was another car on the move through the field. After starting in 19th place Greensall was scything through the field and was lying in 6th place behind the Damax Ascari of Oliver Bryant as they crossed the line to start lap 11. The two cars entered Copse nose to tail but the Viper got the better exit and Greensall was now 5th and chasing down the Ferrari of Phil Burton. In the next two laps Greensall overtook Burton and Lester and was now closing in on the Viper of Bradley Ellis.
Kevin Riley in the Rollcentre Mosler came in for an unscheduled stop and a sticking throttle was diagnosed when downshifting which had caused him to lose places. The team managed to solve the problem and Riley rejoined the race.
At the rear of the field the Team Aero Morgan of Steve Hyde was 15th overall and well ahead of the rest of the GTC field after the team had changed the engine overnight, forcing them to start form the back of the grid. By lap 14 Hyde was nearly 10 seconds ahead of nearest rival Graeme Mundy in the RSS Performance Porsche, with Andrew Howard in the Beechdean Ferrari holding third a bit further down the road.
Meanwhile back at the front Adam Jones was now 26 seconds ahead of Matt Harris, but Ellis, who was being caught by the Viper of Nigel Greensall, had had enough of following the Porsche and made a move to take second and on lap 16 he made it stick. It was now the turn of Harris to have the pressure from Greensall but the Tech 9 Porsche was able to maintain the pace and not hand the Viper any opportunity to get past.
Phil Burton had caught up with Hector Lester and was applying a bit of pressure to the CiM Ferrari and on lap 21 Lester slid wide at Abbey and Burton took advantage of the mistake to move into 5th as the pitstops approached.
Lap 23 finally saw Greensall get ahead of Harris at Copse as the Porsche seemed to be struggling. Hector Lester lost another place to Oliver Bryant in the Ascari and further back Paul Drayson was having a great battle with the Team RPM Viper of Henry Fletcher.
On lap 25 the first of the pitstops took place when Peter Bamford came in to hand over to Matt Griffin in the Team RPM Porsche, while further back David Jones was coming through the field once again passing the Cadena Motorsport Aston Martin of Barrie Whight into Abbey.
As the pits became busy with cars making their mandatory stops Adam Jones continued to circulate at the front of the field and by lap 30 held a massive 31 second lead over Bradley Ellis, who in turn was 7 seconds ahead of Nigel Greensall. The little Ginetta G20 of Nick Marsh was another retirement at this point, pulling off the track at Luffield and stopping in a safe place.
On lap 37, as the top three cars continued to race, Phil Burton brought the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari in to hand over to Adam Wilcox. The team decided to stay on the same Avon tyres for the rest of the race and the Ferrari exited the pitlane in good time. It was then the turn of Hector Lester to make his stop to hand over to Tim Mullen. The CiM team decided to change one tyre, the left rear, which was to prove an astute move by the end of the race.
Bradley Ellis in the second placed Team RPM Viper suddenly slowed with a puncture as he headed to the pits and he crawled back to his pit box to hand over to Alex Mortimer. The problem cost the team a massive amount of time and undid all the good work Ellis had done in the opening part of the race. Nigel Greensall, who had briefly held second, came in to hand over to Phiroze Bilimoria.
On lap 43 Adam Jones came into the pits from the lead with a massive 55 second lead to hand over the car to Matt Owen. Owen regained the track still in the lead but a slow stop put the Lamborghini just 2.5 sceonds ahead of the Brookspeed Team Trimite Viper of Bilimoria and the Indian driver was able to move into the lead on lap 45 to lead his first ever British GT race.
A stop go penalty was handed to car 54, the RSS Performance Porsche with Jamie Smyth at the wheel for speeding in the pitlane. However the Team Aero Morgan had a problem and spent a long time in the pits as the mechanics tried to find an electrical problem, dropping the Morgan down the order and out of contention for the GTC win.
As the running order became clearer after the pitstops it was Bilimoria leading from Owen in the Lamborghini with Wilcox in the Ferrari ahead of Phil Keen in the Damax Ascari and Jonny Cocker in the Aston Martin. Tim Mullen was 6th in the CiM Ferrari ahead of Godfrey Jones in the Team Eurotech Ascari after a good pitstop and a great recovering drive from brother David after the stop go penalty.
Wilcox was the driver to watch as he first overtook Owen in Lamborghini at Brooklands and then a lap later he swept past Bilimoria at the same spot to take the lead. However the fastest car on the track was the CiM Ferrari of Tim Mullen who overtook Cocker on lap 51. Phil Keen in the Damax Ascari was also moving up as Owen and Bilimoria dropped back down the order and on lap 55 it was Wilcox from Keen from Mullen from Cocker.
Bilimoria brought the Brookspeed Viper into the pits with a problem, dropping the Indian out of contention as the mechanics tried to find the source of the problem. The Cadena Motorsport Aston of Gavan Kershaw also came into the pits with oil smoke coming from the engine bay and the Trackspeed Porsche of Jonny Lang also came into the pits with a problem.
Back on the track and Mullen was catching Phil Keen and moved into second place at the end of lap 56, 17.7 seconds behind the leading Ferrari of Adam Wilcox. It was then the turn of Jonny Cocker to attack the Ascari and as the two cars crossed the line for the 61st time they were side by side into Copse Corner, with Cocker holding the inside line to take the final podium place away from Keen.
Tom Ferrier in the Tech 9 Porsche and Godfrey Jones in the Team Eurotech Ascari were also on the move back towards the front of the field overtaking Matt Owen's struggling Lamborghini, with Ferrier not targeting the Ascari of Phil Keen as the race entered its final stages.
At the front Mullen was taking huge chunks out of Wilcox's lead, the decision spend the extra time to change the rear tyre during the pitstop clearly giving Mullen a performance boost. By lap 72 the two Ferrari's were nose to tail and as they crossed the line Mullen moved to the inside into Copse but Wilcox defended. However Mullen wasn't going to be denied and at Brooklands the red Ferrari moved ahead and into the lead.
Ferrier caught and passed Keen and was quickly followed by the Jones Ascari. However it was then Ferriers turn to come under pressure and into Copse Jones made his move and made the move stick to take 4th place as the race entered the final lap.
At the flag it was Tim Mullen who scored the Christians in Motorsport teams second win of the year, 11 seconds ahead of Adam Wilcox in the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari. Jonny Cocker was a further 12 seconds down the road in the Barwell Aston Martin, but after the disappointments of two non finishes at Brands Hatch the team were pleased with the result. Godfrey Jones came across the line in 4th, 37 seconds behind Mullen, an excellent result after starting from the back of the grid.
The Tech 9 Porsche 997 of Matt Harris and Tom Ferrier was 5th just ahead of double race winners Alex Mortimer and Bradley Ellis. The Damax Ascari of Oliver Bryant and Phil Keen was 7th and the final championship point was secured by Matt Owen and Adam Jones for Team Modena.
Jamie Smyth brought the RSS Performance Porsche home at the head of the GTC class, the first win of the season for the team, which consolidates their championship lead. Phil Nuttal and Andrew Shelley were 83 seconds behind on their British GT debut for Trackspeed, with Andrew Howard and Aaron Scott two laps adrift to take the final podium finish. Keith Ahlers brought the Team Aero Morgan home to claim five useful championship points.
Bradley Ellis and Alex Mortimer head to Thruxton with a two point advantage over Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker in the race for the 2007 Avon Tyres British GT Championship title, with Godfrey and David Jones just one point behind the Barwell drivers. In fact just six points cover the top 11 drivers with six races remaining.
Rounds 9 and 10 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will be held at Thruxton in Hampshire on August 25/26.