FF CORSE STORM TO GT VICTORY AT ROCKINGHAM


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The FF Corse Ferrari of Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood on the way to victory at Rockingham yesterday. Photo: www.shivrajgohil.photography

The FF Corse Ferrari of Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood stormed to victory in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Rockingham in a defiant team bounce-back from their woes at Oulton Park.

An action packed first hour resulted in two Safety Cars, two pit lane fires and an early retirement for the #33 Trackspeed Porsche of Jon Minshaw and #77 Lotus Evora of Oz Yusuf. The drama started on the first lap as Sir Chris Hoy went wide into Deene corner, while John Dhillon in #13 AF Corse Ferrari was handed a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellows. It was a race to forget for the Trackspeed team when the #12 Porsche of Jody Firth rolled into the pits with a left rear fire. The second Trackspeed #33 of Jon Minshaw was then forced to retire a few laps later with radiator damage.

As the #12 Trackspeed Porsche pulled away to re-join the track, the #40 Ginetta of Colin White was forced to pit following a tangle with a GT4. On lap 15, a battle between Al Alharthy and John Dryburgh resulted in a spin at the hairpin and Dryburgh dropping down from fifth to to 15thplace. The #77 Lotus Evora of Oz Yusuf was then forced to retire as it pulled into the pits with smoke coming from the rear. A Safety Car was called out on lap 26 after Tania Mann in the #41 Optimum Ginetta GT4 was beached in the gravel. A second Safety Car was called out at the end of the first hour to recover the #6 Aston Martin of John Gaw and #43 Ginetta of Morten Dons which was stranded on track following engine failure.

As the race entered the second hour, Rob Barff took the lead at the green flag in the #18 FF Corse Ferrari, while the #13 AF Corse Ferrari and #407 Beechdean Aston Martin were given a drive through penalty for over taking under the first Safety Car. A battle between #888 Z4 of Luke Hine and #8 Z4 of Joe Osbourne saw the two drivers go side-by-side into the chicane, with Joe Osbourne running wide into the gravel. Race leader Rob Barff was then handed a drive through penalty for running a red light. Trackspeed’s woes went from bad to worse as the #12 Porsche was handed a drive through penalty for overtaking under the Safety Car.

A brilliant comeback for FF Corse saw Rob Barff and Gary Eastwood take a dominant win in the #18 FF Corse Ferrari with a 18 second gap to the #79 Ecurie Ecosse of Alexander Sims and Marco Attard in second and the #888 Triple 8 BMW Z4 of Derek Johnston and Luke Hines in third. GT4 honours went to Matt Nicoll-Jones and Oli Basey-Fisher in the #55 Academy Motorsport Ginetta, ahead of #407 Beechdean Aston Martin of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings in second and #49 TF Sport Aston Martin of Devon Modell and Andrew Jarman in third.

Two out of three for Sam MacLeod in Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship

A dominant drive by Sam MacLeod saw the Brit take two out of three wins in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship. It was a Fortec Motorsport one-two in round one with MacLeod ahead of Martin Cao in second and Andy Chang in third. It was a disappointing race for Matt Rao however, who went wide into Deene corner and was forced to re-join at the back of the grid. Despite a decent recovery from the Brit, contact between Peter Li Zhi Chong and Matt Rao forced both drivers into early retirement and a Safety Car out onto track.

A fantastic opening lap by Sam MacLeod in round two saw the Brit take the lead ahead of Martin Cao and Camren Kaminsky. As Peter Li Zhi Chong and Matt Rao battled it out for sixth place, Alice Powell pulled off an impressive drive to take third from Kaminskyand claim her place on the podium. Kaminsky’s luck went from bad to worse as the American ran wide at Brook to lose fourth place to Matt Rao. As the chequered flag fell, Sam MacLeod took his second victory of the weekend ahead of Martin Cao and Alice Powell.

A mistake by Sam MacLeod in round three saw him crash out on the first lap, leaving Matt Rao to take the lead and eventual race win. An excellent drive by Martin Cao saw the former Formula Renault driver work his way up the grid to claim second place on the podium, while Double R's Andy Chang took third. A broken exhaust for Alice Powell forced her into early retirement in the final few minutes of the race.

Silverware for Aaron Mason and James Greenway in Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup

Aaron Mason took home the silverware in round three of the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup ahead ofDavid Sutton and Stefan Di Resta. A decent start by the reigning champion saw him take the lead while Joe Fulbrook and David Sutton battled it out behind for second place. As the race progressed, a mistake byFulbrook saw him run wide coming out of Kirby corner whilst challenging Mason for the lead. Fulbrook then re-joined the Oval circuit instead of International circuit, putting him a lap behind the rest of the pack, releasing the pressure off the race leader.

James Greenway took the chequered flag in round four, ahead of Tom Barley and David Sutton in second and third respectively. Despite losing the lead to David Sutton early on, the 23 year old recovered his position on lap 8 to claim full championship points. It was a disappointing race for Aaron Mason who encountered problems with his car and Philip House who retired early after sustaining damage to his car. A decent race by Joe Fulbrook saw the Maidenhead driver finish in a respectable 7thplace after starting from the back of the grid.

Double victory for Charles Ferguson in Ginetta Racing Drivers Club

It was a double victory for newly-qualified Charles Ferguson in the Ginetta Racing Drivers Club on his birthday weekend. An early Safety Car in race one threatened Ferguson’s lead with Matt Lowe right on his tail but the newcomer kept his cool to take the chequered flag with a 2 second gap to Matt Lowe in second and Gregory Stuart in third.

In race two, a great battle between Charles Ferguson and Gregory Stuart saw the two drivers almost side-by-side throughout the 20 minute race with birthday boy Charles Ferguson coming out on top to make it two wins on his maiden weekend, ahead of Gregory Stuart and Matt Lowe in second and third respectively.

Wins for George Gamble, Gary Simms andDennis Strandberg in Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge

George Gamble took home his second win of the season in round four the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge despitean excellent start by Gary Simms from third on the grid. As Gamble pulled away from the pack, Ollie Chadwick, Mark Davies and Gary Simms battled it out for second place with the drivers' side-by-side on the school straight on the last lap. Gamble took the chequered flag with a 6 second gap to Ollie Chadwick in second and Gary Simms in third.

A fantastic start by Gary Simms in round five saw the experienced racer take the lead, while further back, a crash at the old hairpin forced Mark Davies and Ollie Chadwick into early retirement. All eyes were on the battle for fourth place between Rob Gaffney, Vic Covey, Dennis Strandberg and Matt Flowers with the cars running side-by-side at one point. As the chequered flag fell, Gary Simms held on to take the race win just 0.3s ahead of George Gamble in second and Fred Mortensen in third.

A Safety Car was called out after the first lap in round six to recover the beached car of Finley Ractliffe who went off at Yentwood. At the restart, a great drive by Dennis Strandberg saw the Swedish driver take the lead and eventual race win. The drive of the day, however, had to go to George Gamble who pulled off an impressive recovery to take third place after dropping back to seventh in the first corner tangle. It was a disappointing round for Nick Zapolski who was forced into early retirement after spinning into the gravel at the Chicane.

Dominant drive by Kevin Norville and Calum Lockie in AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain

Kevin Norville and Calum Lockie claimed two race victories for team Track-Club.com in the AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain. Despite an excellent drive by Liam Griffin to take an early lead in both races, it was all change following the pit stops with the #27 Track-Club.com taking victory ahead of the #6 JWB Motorsport entry of Kieran and Liam Griffin in second, and the #91 entry ofChris Kemp and Tom Black in race one. Race two finished with Kevin Norville and Calum Lockie claiming their second victory of the weekend ahead of the #91 of Chris Kemp and Tom Black and the #6 of Liam and Kieran Griffin.

Donna Kelly