ANDREW HOWARD SCOOPS BRITISH GT TITLE
British GT champion Andrew Howard with the people who made it possible. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com
Donna Kelly was the BRSCC’s correspondent at Donington Park over the weekend for the British GT finale and reports on what was a busy and decisive weekend……
United Autosports win at Donington as Andrew Howard claims 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship title
Andrew Howard claimed the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship title at Donington Park this weekend after a nail biting 2-hour race, which saw the United Autosports pairing of Matt Bell and Mark Patterson,take their first win of the season. Over 30 GT cars took to the track in the thrilling season finale with all eyes on the title-contenders in both the GT3 and GT4 classes.
Action started early with contact between Derek Johnson and the #22 Mercedes SLS of the Jones’ twins resulting in a puncture for the #42 Mtech Ginetta. A great battle between Zoe Wenham and Adrian Barwick in the GT4 class also saw Barwick spin off onto the grass. A Safety Car was called out onto track just 15 minutes into the race after a spin by David Ashburn at Coppice left his Porsche stranded on the circuit.
As the clock ticked on, the title contenders started to feel the pressure with Andrew Howard flashing his lights at Marco Attard in fourth place, as the Aston Martin bore down on the BMW. Further back, contact between the Steve Tandy, the Jones’ brothers and the Ahmad Al Harthy saw Al Harthy’s title hopes take a dent as the #1 Porsche spun off track. David Jones #22 was later given a black flag for his part in the collision, putting an early end to his race.
A drive through penalty was issued for cars 2-8-13-33-80 for overtaking under yellow flags as the #69 APO Sport car of James May was being removed from the track following a spin on lap 29. Race leader Joe Osbourne was then handed a second drive through penalty for speeding during the first drive through, temporarily changing the order in the title race. All eyes were on Richard Westbrook as he flew through the field, passing Oliver Bryant, Andrew Howard and Duncan Tappy to take third place. Further back, Ryan Ratcliffe in the #44 Optimum Motorsport Ginetta was given a stop go penalty for taking too short of a pit stop. A drive through penalty was also handed to the #9 McLaren of Duncan Tappy for overtaking under yellow flags.
It was drama in the few laps as the pole sitting #8 BMW Z4 of Joe Osborne was forced to pit from third and subsequently retire from the race following a propshaft failure. A great performance by Matt Bell in the United Autosports saw him take the chequered flag and the GT3 win ahead of the #18 FF Corse Ferrari of Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood and the #32 Trackspeed Porsche of Richard Westbrook and Gregor Fisken. Nathan Freke and Declan Jones took the win the GT4 class race from Richie Stanaway and Harry Whale in P2 and Rick Parfitt Jnr and Ryan Ratcliffe in P3. The thrilling 2013 season finished with Beechdean-AMR driver Andrew Howard claiming the GT3 title and Rick Parfitt Jnr and Ryan Ratcliffe winning the GT4 title by just two points.
Mike Comber dominates in BRSCC Mazda MX5 Autumn Challenge
Spectators were in for a treat on Saturday with both Mk1 and Mk3 classes out on track in the BRSCC Mazda MX5 Autumn Challenge. Mike Comber and Abbie Eaton were in a class of their own in race 1 with Eaton taking the lead to pull out a 4-second gap to Justin Newnam in second after just the first lap. It wasn’t long however before pole sitter Mike Comber was back on the pace, retaking the lead at half distance and the eventual chequered flag. Further back, a great battle between Litherland & Greatrex in the MK1 class was developing with just 0.162 seconds separating the two drivers at one point. The race finished with Mike Comber out in front, ahead of Abbie Eaton in second and Justin Newnam in third. Jason Greatrex was quickest in the MK1 class, ahead of Mark Litherland & Simon Woods.
Second successive win for Mike Whittaker in HRDC Allstars
The thundering TVR Griffith of Mike Whittaker was on form in the HRDC Allstars race on Saturday, as the driver took his second successive win in the Allstars series, ahead of Bill Shepherd and Richard Dutton. A slow start by Whittaker saw Shepherd initially take the lead into Redgate but it wasn’t long before Whittaker was soon back on the pace, retaking the lead after first lap. As the pack spread out behind him, all eyes were on the battle for third between Neil Brown in his Ford Lotus Cortina MK1 and Richard Dutton in his Ford Mustang, with the two drivers nose-to-tail for almost the entire race. It was Richard Dutton who came out on top, managing to hold off the persistent Ford Lotus Cortina to take the third and final place on the podium.
Aaron Mason finally takes championship honours in APR Volkswagen Racing Cup
Action in the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup started on the first lap with Ross Wylie pulling away from the pack, leaving Joe Fulbrook and Aaron Mason to battle it out for second place. Further back, Jack Walker-Tulley,Josh Caygill and former British Superbike ChampionTommy Hill all span off the track, beaching their cars into the gravel and forcing a Safety Car after just one lap. At the restart, Ross Wylie pulled away and the fight was on for third, fourth and fifth place between Joe Fulbrook, Chris Levett and Martin Depper. A red flag on lap 6 forced an early end to the race, leaving Ross Wylie to take the win and Aaron Mason to take the championship, a title he has been striving to win for the past five seasons.
A nail biting battle between Martin Depper and Aaron Mason in race 2 of APR Volkswagen Racing Cup saw the two drivers side by side for almost the entire race. A decent start for Depper saw the Birmingham driver put pressure on the newly crowned champion, taking the lead in the first half of the 20-minute race. It wasn’t long however before Mason retook position, managing to hold off a persistent Depper lap by lap to take the eventual chequered flag. The battle for third place was won by Stewart Lines who took the final place on the podium ahead of Fulbrook and Sutton.
Oliver Basey-Fisher takes 2013 Ginetta GT5 Challenge title
Oliver Basey-Fisher claimed the 2013 Ginetta GT5 Challenge title in a thrilling season finale which saw two races red flagged. In race 1, all eyes were on Jake Giddings and Oliver Basey-Fisher as the two drivers battled it out for the lead, while championship contender Brad Bailey’s hopes were cut short as he pulled into the pits with a puncture. A fantastic drive by George Gamble saw the Nottingham driver dive down the inside of Basey-Fisher at the Melbourne Hairpin to take second place, only to pull the same move on Jake Giddings a few laps later to take the lead. Jake Giddings’ luck then went from bad to worse as contact with another car forced him off track and a Safety Car was called out to remove his stranded G40.As Gamble pulled away at the restart, a great battle between Basey-Fisher and Will Burns got underway, with the two drivers side by side into Redgate for second place. An action packed last lap saw George Gamble take the chequered flag ahead of Oliver Basey-Fisher in second and Will Burns in third.
A nasty crash for Tudor Alexander in race 2 of the Ginetta GT5 Challengeforced the race to be red flagged on the first lap. His G20 suffered multiple rolls at Coppice, leaving debris on the track and the driver with a trip to the hospital.The race was subsequently abandoned in order to keep time for the televised British GT race, putting an end to Brad Bailey’s title hopes.
The Ginetta GT5 Challenge was back on track for the final race of the weekend at Donington Park with all eyes on the title race between Will Burns and Oliver Basey-Fisher. A storming start by Luke Davenport saw him push past Bailey to claim the lead, only for Bailey to spin at the Old Hairpin, leaving his G40 facing the wrong way at the Craner Curves. Will Moore also spun, collecting Nick Zapolski on the way, leaving debris on the track and forcing a Safety Car out onto track. A bold move by Jake Giddings at the restart saw him take the lead from Luke Davenport only for oil on the track at Craner Curves causing multiple cars to spin and a second Safety Car to be deployed. A red flag was then called with 10 minutes left on the clock.
At the restart, a dominant race by George Gamble saw him take an early lead ahead of Luke Davenport and Jake Giddings. As Tor McIllroy went off into the gravel at Coppice, Basey-Fisher was promoted into third with Will Burns right on his tail. As the race entered its final few laps, Will Burns was all over the back of Basey-Fisher as they went three abreast with Jake Giddings at the Melbourne Hairpin. It wasn’t enough however to stop the 2013 Ginetta GT5 Challenge title going to Oliver Basey-Fisher. The race finished with George Gamble taking a well-deserved win over Luke Davenport in second and Oliver Basey-Fisher.
The full results for the weekend can be found at DONINGTON RESULTS