Mullen and Niarchos take Thruxton win Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos took a dramatic victory in round 13 of the British GT Championship at Thruxton this morning. The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari was involved in a thrilling race with the Mosler of...
Mullen and Niarchos take Thruxton win
Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos took a dramatic victory in round 13 of the British GT Championship at Thruxton this morning. The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari was involved in a thrilling race with the Mosler of Shaun Balfe and Nigel Taylor which ended in contact just before the chequered flag.
Series leader Jonathan Cocker managed to pass Taylor on the run up to the complex on the first lap. Mike Jordan did the same trick on the exit of the series of corners as Taylor got up to speed.
Jordan immediately set about trying to close the gap on Cocker but was unable to catch him in the early stages. A handful of laps later and the rear tyres of the JW Racing Porsche started to go off and he was passed by Taylor for second on the way to a collision with the Embassy Corvette at the complex before taking 10th at the flag.
Taylor caught and passed Cocker for the lead on lap 13 and pulled out a small lead. Nathan Kinch had a troubled race, in his efforts to catch Cocker in the battle for the championship he got caught up with two other cars in the complex and ran over the grass. The moment caused the engine to begin overheating so a trip to the pits put the Ferrari down the order and seemingly out of contention.
After the pit-stops Mullen was the man on a charge and had worked up from fifth to challenge and pass Tim Sugden for second and begin relentlessly hunting down Balfe. Backmarkers made the task longer than it should have and the crowds were treated to a fantastic cat and mouse chase before the Ferrari managed to get onto the back of the Mosler.
With just three laps to go Mullen managed to get alongside Balfe at the chicane but had to give way to him as they dived in. A hard charge by Mullen over the next lap meant the pair of them came up on the Porsche of Godfrey Jones. Balfe went for the inside line and Mullen tried the opening between the two of them. Contact was the result and it spun the Mosler around at 150mph and down into fourth place.
Mullen was able to keep momentum and took the chequered flag a lap later, taking the number 34 car's first race win of the season.
"I knew we could win here," said Niarchos. "The car is very good around here and I have been working hard to get up to speed here and trying to give the car over to Tim. He drove a good race to get us the win."
Andrew Kirkaldy was having a worse opening race than team-mate Kinch. The Scuderia Ecosse team had decided not to change tyres as Kirkaldy took over the car. The Scot set a blistering pace, taking a new lap record in the process, before one of the tyres cried enough and punctured as he went into the ultra fast Church corner. A huge spin was the result and a slow lap was needed to get the car back to the pits for a replacement.
A storming drive meant that he managed to get back up to 6th place before the end of the race, keeping his and Kinch's championship hopes on track by the slightest of margins. Patrick Pearce drove a steady race, keeping the Rollcentre Mosler out of trouble to take third place after Balfe spun. Ben Collins helped Neil Cunningham bring the Embassy Corvette home in fifth.
The Dailysportscar.com GT Cup race went down to the wire as Jon Finnemore and Chris Beighton managed to take their third win of the year in the Team Tiger Marcos Mantis. Gavan Kershaw was unable to take advantage of his superb qualifying position when a water pipe ended his and Barrie Whight's race on lap two.
David Mason made a great GT debut in the Rollcentre Noble M12GTO3R, handing the car over to Martin Short in contention for the win. Short managed to get into the lead in the bright green car but lost it when it picked up a misfire.
A couple of slow laps cured the problem for Short and he was soon back on the tail of the Marcos. However, the problem returned twice more and it meant he dropped into the clutches of Mark Cole in the Tech 9 Porsche -- himself driving without second gear since qualifying. The Porsche dived past the Noble at the Chicane on the last lap, leaving a frustrated Short pondering what could have been the car's first race win of the year.
"I had to keep the revs down below 5000 to cool the electrics down," said Short. "It happened three times and when it had gone the car was fantastic."
"I kept a consistent pace right through my stint," said Finnemore. "There was pressure for me but it was on and off as Martin struggled. I'm pleased t wasn't constant as that would have made it very difficult," he added.
<pre> British GT Championship -- Round 13 Thruxton -- Results:
N-GT 1 Niarchos/Mullen Ferrari 360 Modena 47 laps 1h01m14.169s 2 Sugden/Cocker Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 1h01m57.827s 3 Stanton/Pearce Mosler MT900R 1h02m32.472s 4 Balfe/Taylor Mosler MT900R 1 lap 5 Collins/Cunningham Corvette C5R 1 lap 6 Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 Modena 1 lap
Dailysportscar.cm GT Cup 1 Beighton/Finnemore Marcos Mantis 45 laps 2 Cole/Wandless Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 45 laps 3 Short/Mason Noble M12 GTO3R 45 laps 4 Wilcox/Amorim Ferrari 360 45 laps 5 Chambers/Caine Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 44 laps 6 Lesniewski/Sharpe Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 44 laps