Kinch crosses line first but Cocker takes British GT crown Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy took victory in round 14 of the British GT Championship but it the third place result for the GruppeM Porsche 911 GT3-RSR which gave Jonathan Cocker the...
Kinch crosses line first but Cocker takes British GT crown
Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy took victory in round 14 of the British GT Championship but it the third place result for the GruppeM Porsche 911 GT3-RSR which gave Jonathan Cocker the overall 2004 British GT Championship title.
Two safety car periods meant that the race to the flag was a sprint finish. The GruppeM team called Tim Sugden in as the second safety car period was scrambled, giving Cocker a track advantage as the rest of the field came in a lap later.
The early call gave Cocker the lead as the green flag was waved with Nathan Kinch behind the Embassy Corvette of Neil Cunningham and the GT Cup class Lotus Elise of Frazer Corbyn. The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari blasted past the Corvette on the first green flag lap and set about hunting down the leading Porsche.
It took Kinch three laps but he found a way past Cocker as the pair dived into the complex on lap 26. Cocker was driving to the championship though and as Cunningham decided to strike straight after the Ferrari he opened the door for the Corvette and gifted him second place.
Cocker held station behind the Embassy car up to the flag, taking enough points to clinch the title with two races (one round) left to run. Kinch and Kirkaldy were left to contemplate what might have been as they took their fifth win of the year.
"The second safety car gave us the chance for the win as there was no way we could have clawed the time back for the pit-stop after the first one," said Kirkaldy.
"The car was good and I had to get past Jonathan to keep our championship hopes going. The car was getting bad towards the end but I had it in hand and another win is good," said Kinch.
A stunned Cocker was still trying to take it on board that he had become the new champion, but was relieved to has accomplished what he and team-mate Sugden had set out to do.
"The car was ok but I knew that I couldn't hold off Nathan and when Cunningham came through I decided that letting him go was better than trying to fend him off and putting the championship at risk," said Jonathan.
Mike Jordan brought the JW racing Porsche 911 GT3-RS across the line in fourth. The team made some major changes between the two races and gave Jordan and Mark Sumpter a better car to race with. Jordan was still annoyed about being caught too far back after the second safety car as back markers held back.
Ricky Cole drove a great race in the Xero Corvette. He was unable to hold off Jordan in the closing stages and was caught on the final lap by Dan Eagling in the Peninsula TVR T400R but was able to keep fifth place.
The Dailysportscar.com GT Cup Class win went once again to Chris Beighton and Jon Finnemore. The Noble of Martin Short had starred in the early laps of the race, keeping pace with some of the N-GT class cars. However, Short was the reason for the first safety car after a wheel broke, pitching him into a huge spin.
Ni Amorim closed the gap to the Team Tiger Marcos in the final laps of the race and looked like snatching the win on the final lap. But, Beighton had the measure and knew the Ferrari was there and claimed win number two of the weekend.
"I knew that he was coming and it was a case of keeping it steady where the yellow flags were so I didn't make any errors," said Beighton.
Adam Sharpe brought the Tech 9 Porsche 911 GT3-Cup car home in third place after Pete Chambers suffered from suspension failure on the final lap, dropping them to fourth.
<pre> British GT Championship -- Round 14 -- Thruxton Race results:
N-GT 1 Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 Modena 38 laps 1h01m07.636s 2 Collins/Cunningham Corvette C5R 1h01m13.315s 3 Sugden/Cocker Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 1h01m14.713s 4 Jordan/Sumpter Porsche 911 GT3-RS 1h01m35.032s 5 Cole/Le Bas Corvette C5R 1h01m39.080s 6 Dan Eagling TVR T400R 1h01m39.775s
Dailysportscar.com GT Cup 1 Beighton/Finnemore Marcos Mantis 37 laps 2 Wilcox/Amorim Ferrari 360 37 laps 3 Lesniewski/Sharpe Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 37 laps 4 Chambers/Caine Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 36 laps 5 Steven Wood Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 36 laps 6 Horton/Turvey Corvette C5 35 laps