ROCKINGHAM GT ROUND-UP
The sun was out at Rockingham Motor Speedway for the second round of British GT championship. An impressive 32 cars lined up on the famous Northamptonshire grid for the two-hour endurance race. The Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge andAPR Volkswagen Racing Cup supporting races also provided plenty of entertainment out on track during the Bank Holiday weekend. Donna Kelly reports……
Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge
Kick starting the racing action on Sunday was the Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge with Will Burns showing impressive pace in his G40 Academy Motorsport to take the chequered flag eight seconds ahead of David Pittard in second place. The pole sitter got off to a great start holding off Brad Bailey, David PittardandLuke Davenport in the first corner to make the most of the clear track, pulling away from the rest of the pack. Despite a quick start, championship leader Brad Bailey fell back to fourth place after losing out to David Pittard in the Deene hairpin and then to Luke Davenport’s Reflex Racing G40 at the Tarzan hairpin.
As the race progressed, Burns continued to stretch his lead at the front whilst a battle between Pittard, Davenport and Bailey raged on behind him as the three drivers fought for second place. As the chequered flag fell, Will Burns took the win in round 4, with David Pittard taking second place. Brad Bailey took third position from Luke Davenport in the final lap, diving inside Davenport at the Deene hairpin to claim the last place on the podium. G20 honours went to the class pole-sitting car of Gary Simms, who took his first class win of the season having been absent from the opening event at Oulton Park.
Race 2 began with a great battle between pole sitter Will Burns, Oliver Basey-Fisher and Luke Davenport as the three drivers went side-by-side all the way into the Deene hairpin. As the cars bunched up, Brad Bailey was once again forced back but managed to fight his way back through the field to eventually finish in fifth position. The battle for second place was hotting up between Pittard and Basey-Fisher before a brake issue on Pittard’s car forced him to drop back and nurse the car home in 7th position.
Will Burns took the chequered flag to take his second win of the weekend. Despite a five second penalty for exceeding track limits, Oliver Basey-Fisher finished in second place whilst Luke Davenport completed the podium line-up finishing in third position. In the G20 class, it was a disappointing race for pole sitter Gary Simms who was forced to retire into the grass at Chapman Curve following a problem with his car. Stuart Pearson took the class win with Brian Murphy in second and Nick Zapolski in third.
The Protyre Ginetta GT5 cars were back out on track for the final race of the weekend. It was another dominant start for pole sitter Will Burns who pulled away from the rest of the pack to set a 1.737 lead over Luke Davenport after just the first lap. A Safety Car was initially called out during lap four to recover the stricken car of Alex Drabble from outside of Gracelands but was not needed thanks to the marshals managing to move the car to a safe area. With Will Burns out in the lead, all eyes were on Brad Bailey as he battled his way from fifth on the grid to take third position from Luke Davenport in the final lap of the race.
Will Burns once again showed impressive form to take the chequered flag ahead of David Pittard and Brad Bailey in second and third respectively. Clive Richards finished in 6th position after receiving a five second penalty for exceeding track limits. In G20, Stuart Pearson took the class win ahead of Brian Murphy and Nick Zapolski.
APR Volkswagen Racing Cup
Aaron Mason took the win in round three of the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup, leading from lights-to-flag in a comfortable victory ahead of Philip House. Whilst Mason stormed ahead at the front, it was all action behind him as Oulton Park race winner Ross Wylie spun his Scirocco R whilst exiting Yentwood and Joe Fulbrook dropped down from second place to 13th following ahalf-spin at Kirby.
It was a disappointing race for James Walker as the reigning champion braked too late at the Tarzan hairpin caused him to slide off into the gravel forcing a retirement at the end of the lap. Elsewhere, all eyes were on the midfield battle for 5th, 6th and 7th place between Stewart Lines, Joe Fulbrook and Henry Gilbert. Round 3 finished with Aaron Mason taking the chequered flag 1.8 seconds ahead of Philip House who took the first podium of his season. Martin Depper completed the podium in third place.
It was nose to tail action in round four of the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup with Joe Fulbrook taking his first win of the weekend. Henry Gilbert started from pole but after what looked like a decent start, Gilbert struggled to keep up the pace, losing the lead to Joe Fulbrook at the Tarzan hairpin in the first lap and eventually dropping back to sixth position. Behind the race leader, a nail biting battle between Aaron Mason, Didge Dziurzynski and Stewart Lines saw Mason take second place from Dziurzynski at Tarzan, only to lose the place moments later.
The two drivers then got tangled up, allowing Stewart Lines to jump up to second place which he managed to defend to the chequered flag, claiming second place on the podium. It wasn’t an easy victory for race winner Joe Fulbrook however as Lines and Mason started to catch him in the final few laps, with just 0.824 between the leader and Lines. Despite the pressure, Fulbrook managed to keep his cool to take the chequered flag. Stewart Lines finished in second position with Aaron Mason in third.
Avon Tyres British GT Championship
The #31, #33 and #32 Trackspeed Porschesstarted 1-2-3 on the grid for the second round of the Avon Tyres British GT championship after an impressive qualifying session on Sunday. The #31 of Nick Tandy and David Ashburn set the best time with a 1:22:569, just 0.075 faster than the #33 Trackspeed of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw. The #50 Redgate Lifetime Racing Ginetta of Dan Eagling and Matt Smith was on pole in the GT4 class with a time of 1:31:372, 0.128 quicker than the #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G50 of Zoe Wenham and Declan Jones.
In the race, action started on the first lap as Zac Brown spun his #23 United Autosports McLaren at the outside of the Deene hairpin, forcing the Safety Car out after just one lap. At the restart, Phil Keen leapt ahead of teammate David Ashburn to take the lead, whilst Ashburn was left to battle with Gregor Fisken for second place. The #1 Oman Air Motorbase of Ahmad Al Harthy was given a drive through penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner.
30 minutes into the two hour endurance race and Ashburn’s race goes from bad to worse as Mark Patterson in the #25 United Autosports pushes through into Pif Paf, as Ashburn drops down to 6th position in just two corners. Ashburn then takes a spin at Graceland, dropping back to 22nd place. Out in front, Phil Keen leads the pack whilst Gregor Fisken and John Gaw battle it out for second place. Jay Palmer in the #27 Vita4one Team Italy Ferrari 458 retires from the race on lap 18, parking his car on the school straight.
As the pit lane opens, the action continues with Rob Barff in the FF Corse Ferrari 458 nipping ahead of Gregoire Demoustier’s Von Ryan McLaren as they both exit the pit lane side-by-side. A mechanical issue with Rick Parfitt Jnr’s Optimum Motorsport Ginetta forces the GT4 leader into the gravel at Tarzan and into early retirement. The #69 APO Sport of James May and Alex Osbourne also receives a 10 second stop and go penalty for running the car engine whilst on jacks in the pits.
As the race enters its final hour, the Safety Car is called out whilst the GT4 of Rick Parfitt Jnr is removed from the track. At restart, Richard Westbrook in the #32 Trackspeed takes the lead from Phil Keen in the #33 Trackspeed while #6 Aston Martin of Phil Dryburgh is given a 10 second stop and go penalty for overtaking before start finish line. Westbrook starts to pull away from the rest of the pack, building a 5.918 gap over Keen. But as the #32 and #33 Trackspeeds battle it out for the lead, it’s a disappointing end for the #31 Trackspeed of Nick Tandy and David Ashburn as the pole sitting car pulls into the pits with just over 30 minutes left and retires.
With just under 30 minutes, Richard Abra ‘s brakes on his #80 Barwell Motorsport Aston failed, forcing him to take the long route around the speedway. Abra wasn’t the only one with problems as the #33 Trackspeed Porsche of Phil Keen also encounters problems, forcing Keen to retire on the exit of Pif-Paf in lap 63.
In final 10 minutes, Warren Hughes starts to chase down Richard Westbrook, bringing the gap down from just over 26 seconds to 18 seconds but Westbrook holds his lead to take the chequered flag with a 16.611 lead over Warren Hughes. The #007 Beechdean Aston of Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard initially finished in third place only to drop to 7th after receiving a 60 second penalty for overtaking under yellows. In GT4 class, Steven Chaplin and Tom Wilson claimed their first class win of the season, with #43 Century Motorsport of Declan Jones and Zoe Wenham finishing in second and #50 Redgate Lifetime Racing of Dan Eagling and Matt Smith finishing third.
The full meeting results can be found at ROCKINGHAM RESULTS