SILVERSTONE GT MEETING REVIEW


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Marco Attard and Oliver Bryant were the GT victors at Silverstone. Photo: www.ajbphotographic.co.uk

Donna Kelly reports from Silverstone, which played host to an action packed weekend of racing with nose to tail action in all of the championships, including the Avon Tyres British GT Championship…..

Avon Tyres British GT Championship
The #79 Ecurie Ecosse of Marco Attard and Oliver Bryant was on pole position for round 4 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, ahead of the #31 Trackspeed Porsche of David Ashburn and Nick Tandy and #32 Trackspeed Porsche of Gregor Fisken and Richard Westbrook. Action started on the first lap, with the #31 Trackspeed Porsche of David Ashburn taking the lead from Marco Attard in the #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4, only for Attard to retake the lead moments later. Contact between the #3 Rosso Verde of Hector Lester and the #8 888 Optimum Racing left Lester in the gravel, forcing him to join the back of the pack.

A major incident involving three cars also forced the Safety Car out onto the track after just 15 minutes. Mark Blundell appeared to lose the back end of his #24 United Autosports McLaren into the Loop, sandwiching Richard Sykes’s #16 Team LNT Ginetta with Derek Johnson’s #41 Mtech Ferrari. After spinning on track, Blundell is forced to abandon his car and retire from the race. The #41 Mtech is also forced to retire despite efforts from team to repair the damaged Ferrari. As the Safety Car comes in on lap 11, the #6 PGF Kinfaun AMR of John Gaw starts to put pressure on the race leader #14 Fortec Mercedes AMG SLS of Benji Hetherington, overtaking him for the lead in Maggotts, pulling away from the rest of the pack.

Despite a decent qualifying, Trackspeed’s weekend is cut painfully short with all three cars out in the first hour. The problems start with Gregor Fisken’s #32 Trackspeed Porsche, which after picking up a rear left puncture, is then hit by Phil Keen in the #33 Trackspeed Porsche as he attempted to overtake Rob Barff’s #18 AF Corse Ferrari. The Safety Car is forced out on track to recover the two stranded Porsches. All eyes were then on David Ashburn in the #31 Trackspeed who in a bizarre pit lane incident, crashed his Porsche into the wall at speed, ripping off the back wheel, taking him out of the race and leaving Nick Tandy looking very frustrated in the pit garage.

The Safety Car is called in on lap 26 as the race enters the second hour and the #13 AF Corse Ferrari of John Dhillon leads the way onto the start/finish straight. Further back, the #3 Rosso Verde Ferrari of Allan Simonsen flys through the field, pulling off a great move on #15 Steve Jans for seventh, before setting his sights on the #27 Ferrari of Matteo Bobbi in sixth. The #14 Fortec Motorsports of Jason Minhsaw also starts to bring down the gap to John Dhillon’s #13 Ferrari by 0:524 for first position in lap 34, resulting in a four car battle for first place. A lap later, Matteo Bobbi takes the race lead ahead of Allan Simonsen as the #13 AF Corse of John Dhillon falls back to third position and is handed a 1 second stop go penalty. A drive through penalty is also given to the #6 PGF-Kinfaun AMR Aston of John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh in 23rdposition. As the #3 Rosso Verde Ferrari of Simonsen/Lester takes the lead on lap 38 in another great battle for first position, the #406 Camaro of Viebahn leads in the GT4 battle, 6 seconds ahead of the #401 Ekris BMW.

As the race enters the final hour, the 3 Rosso Verde Ferrari of Simonsen/Lester leads the #27 Ferrari of Palmer/Bobbi at the front of the grid. The #23 United Autosports McLaren of Brown/Parente is given a drive through penalty for a pit stop infringement, while the #28 AF Corse of Wyatt/Rugoloho picks up a right rear puncture forcing the Ferrari to limp around the track into the pits. The #27 Ferrari of Palmer/Bobbi takes the lead on lap 54 while a battle for third position rages behind between #40 Ginetta of White/Sharp and the #14 Fortec Motorsport of Minshaw/Hetherington. As the cars starts to make their final pit stops, Hetherington begins to hunt down Palmer in the #27 Ferrari, taking 3.5 seconds a lap out of the race leader. Further back, the battle in the GT4 class hots up between the #408 Pro Sport Performance of Viebahn/Christodoulou and the #401 Ekris of Van der Ende/Van Oranje with just 0.127 seconds between them.

In the final few laps, it is disappointment for the race leader Jay Palmer in the #27 Vit4one Team Italy as the Ferrari picks up a left rear puncture forcing him to drop back, only get to another puncture a few laps later, this time on the right rear. The lead is handed to the #79 Ecurie Ecosse pole sitting car of Attard/Bryant which crosses the line to take the win in round 4 at Silverstone, Oliver Bryant’s first win in British GT and Ecurie Ecosse’s second win. The #007 Beechbean Aston Martin of Adam/Howard comes home in second place while the #888 Optimum Racing of Brown/Tandy finishes third. In the final few minutes, only 8 tenths of the second separate the #408 of Viebahn/Christodoulou and #401 of Ende/van Oranje in the GT4 class which finish first and second respectively. The #44 Optimum Motorsport of Parfitt Jnr/Ratcliffe takes third place to complete the podium line-up in the GT4 class.

Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge
Action in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge started in qualifying with championship leader Brad Bailey and Luke Davenport forced into early retirement following contact at Becketts. David Pittard took pole position in the G40 class, whilst Thiago Calvet put in an impressive lap time of 2:27:897 to take second place on the grid. Brad Bailey’s earlier lap time of 2:28:083 put him in third position. Stuart Pearson, Brian Murphy and Gary Simms qualified as the top three in the G20 class.

Race 1:
David Pittard got off to a great start in round 7 with Brad Bailey following close behind. As Pittard and Bailey started to pull away from the pack, all eyes were on the battle for third place between Oliver Basey-Fisher, Clive Richards and Luke Davenport. It wasn’t long however before the fight was back on for first position with David Pittard managing to maintain his lead despite increasing pressure from Brad Bailey. A lap later, Bailey spins at Brooklands, almost crashing into the cars of Luke Davenport and Clive Richards who were battling it out behind him, forcing Bailey to rejoin the pack in fifth position and giving Pittard some breathing space at the front. It was a disappointing race for Will Burns who after qualifying in fourth position, was forced to drop back after damage to his bonnet caused it to lift at high speed. The Weston Super Mare driver finished in 15thposition. As David Pittard took the chequered flag, it was a nail biting battle between Luke Davenport, Oliver Basey-Fisher and Clive Richards for the final two places on the podium. Luke Davenport took second place just 0.150 ahead of Oliver Basey-Fisher in third. Stuart Pearson maintained his lead to take the win in the G20 class ahead of Gary Simms and Brain Murphy in second and third respectively.

Race 2:
David Pittard was back on pole for round 8 of the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge on Sunday, ahead of Thiago Calvet in second and Oliver Basey-Fisher in third. It was another fantastic start for Pittard who pulled away from the pack to take a big lead on the first lap. In the midfield, a great battle between Brad Bailey and Luke Davenport saw the two drivers go side-by-side for 7thposition. Further back, a battle was also raging between Brian Murphy and Gary Simms in the G20 class, with the two drivers jostling for position, only for Simms to spin at Copse, losing a rear tyre and forcing him to retire from the race. On lap 5, a great move by Will Burns saw him overtake Clive Richards and then Oliver Basey-Fisher for second place, before the Weston Super Mare driver ran wide on the track, undoing all his hard work and dropping back to fourth position. David Pittard took the chequered flag on track but was later excluded from the timesheets after he checked in tyre pressures in parc ferme. The win went to Will Burns, with Oliver Basey-Fisher and Clive Richards in second and third respectively. In the G20 class, Stuart Pearson took his second win of the weekend ahead of De Spong & Greenwood. It was a DNF for Thiago Calvet who retired at Chapel Curve after placing his car in the gravel.

Race 3:
Will Burns on pole position for round 9 of the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge, ahead of Oliver Basey-Fisher and Clive Richards, whilst David Pittard was forced to start from the back of the grid following his exclusion from round 8. As Will Burns got off to a good start, it was poor start for Oliver Basey-Fisher who got caught up in the traffic and dropped down to sixth position. As the cars jostled for position, Luke Davenport sustained contact, forcing him into earlier retirement out of the race. As the race progressed, all eyes were on Tor McIroy and Ben Hyland as they battled it out for fourth position before McIroy took a spin, dropping down the pack and leaving Pittard and Hyland to scrap it out for position. It was a three car battle at the front for the lead, with Oliver Basey-Fisher taking the top spot ahead of Will Burns on the final lap. Brad Bailey finished in third position to complete the podium line-up. In the G20 class, Stuart Pearson made it a hat-trick of victories to take the chequered flag in the final race of the day. Brian Murphy finished second whilst De Spong took third in class.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series

Race 1:
John Bryant-Meisner pulled out a flying lap of 1:53:882 to put him in pole position for round one of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series with Jordan King, Will Buller and Sean Gelael as the top 3 in the International Class. It was all action on the first lap with Carlin’s Jordan King dropping down the pack, leaving teammate Nicholas Latifi to jump from 7thon the grid to second position. As John Bryant-Meisner pulled away at the front, it was side-by-side for Felix Serralles and Nicholas Latifi before contact between the two drivers at the Loop forced them both to the back of the pack. With Serralles and Latifi temporarily out of the running, the battle for second place hotted up between Will Buller and Jann Mardenborough, while Antonio Giovinazzi was given a five second penalty for not respecting track limits. As the race progressed, Jordan King began to make up ground, battling with Jann Mardenborough for third position on lap 9. Mardenborough then spun at the Loop, dropping back to fourth place, only to be given a 5 second penalty for not respecting track limits, dropping him a further two positions to 7thplace on the timesheets. In the National Class, a great battle between Liam Venter and Alice Powell for 13thposition got underway, with Powell right on the tail of Venter, pulling off a great overtake at Brooklands to take the position. As the chequered flag waved, John Bryant-Meisner took a dominant win in the invitation class, followed by Will Buller and Felipe Lopes Guimaraes in second and third respectively. Sean Gelael completed the top three in the International class. Ed Jones took the win in the National class followed by Sun Zheng and Cameron Twynham in second and third place respectively. It was a disappointing race for Carlin’s Jordan King who was forced to retire after contact with Mardenborough. Despite promising pace, Alice Powell was also forced into early retirement in the final laps of the race after running out of fuel.

Race 2:
Sun Zheng was on pole position for round 2 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, ahead of Ed Jones and Antonio Giovinazzi. It was a fantastic start for Antonio Giovinazzi who leapt from third on the grid to take the lead, whilst pole sitter Sun Zheng was left swamped by the faster International class cars. With the two Double R Racing cars of Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael out in front, Alice Powell was given a drive through penalty for being out of position at the start of the race. Will Buller also pulled out an impressive lap to close the gap and take third position on the second lap. As the race progressed, all eyes were on the battle for fifth position between Felix Serralles and Felipe Lopes Guimaraes with Serralles taking position after a great scrap at the Loop. It was also nose to tail action for second position, with Will Buller putting the pressure Sean Galeal into Stowe corner to take second position in lap 5. Buller than set his sights on Antonio Giovinazzi , attempting to close the 3 second gap for the lead but Giovinazzi responds by increasing the gap as the race progresses. Despite increasing pressure from Buller, Giovinazzi manages to hold on to the lead to take the chequered flag in round 2 with Will Buller finishing second and Sean Galael in third. In the National class, Ed Jones took a comfortable victory ahead of Roberto La Rocca and Cameron Twynham.

Race 3:
It was another action packed first lap in round 3 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series. Pole sitter John Bryant-Meisner produced another impressive start, pulling away from the rest of the pack within the first few corners. Will Buller also jumped up from third on the grid to second, whilst Carlin’s Jordan King went wide, allowing Serralles to go through into third position. As Bryant-Meisner drove off into the distance, there was contact between the two Fortec Motorsport cars of Will Buller and Felix Serralles into Brooklands. Despite damage to his car, Buller was able to continue the race in third position whilst Serralles was forced to retire. After a poor start, Jordan King starts to close down on Bryant-Meisner’s 3 second lead, while Antonio Giovianzzi pulls off a fantastic move to squeeze past Sean Galeal at Brooklands. In the National class, all eyes were on La Rocca and Twynham in a battle that saw the Brit take fourth position at Copse corner, only to hunt down Chris Vlok to take third and the final place on the podium. Elsewhere, Felipe Guimaraes, Liam Venter and Alice Powell were all handed a drive through penalty for not respecting track limits. As the chequered flag fell, it was John Bryant-Meisner who took the win in the Invitation class for the second time this weekend. Jordan King took first place in the International class, ahead of Will Buller in second and Jann Mardenborough in third. The win in the National class went to Ed Jones, ahead of Sun Zheng and Cameron Twynham in second and third respectively.

APR Volkswagen Racing Cup

Race 1:
Philip House was on pole for round 5 of the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup after setting a time of 2:26:565, with Aaron Mason and Martin Depper filling the remaining top three grid places. A great start by Aaron Mason saw him take the lead ahead of Philip House, whilst Ross Wylie also put in an impressive start to move from fifth to third on the grid. As Martin Depper put pressure on Wylie for third position, further back, David Fairbrother takes at spin at Becketts. As Depper attempts to pass Wylie at Luffield, the Birmingham driver goes wide, managing to maintain fourth position but falling back into the clutches of his teammate Stewart Lines. As the race progresses, Stewart Lines and race leader Aaron Mason are both given a 5 second penalty for not respecting circuit width whilst Tony Harberman is forced to retire from the race after putting his VW Beetle into the gravel on lap 7. Due to his five second penalty, Aaron Mason drops to third position on the timing sheets, leaving Philip House to take the win ahead of Ross Wylie in second. Aaron Mason took the final place on the podium.

Race 2:
Henry Gilbert was on pole for round 6 of the APR Volkswagen Racing Cup, ahead of Martin Depper and Joe Fulbrook in second and third respectively. Martin Depper got off to a good start, taking lead ahead of Stewart Lines and Henry Gilbert after the first lap, leaving a five car train behind him to battle for second place, with just 0.177 between Stewart Lines and Henry Gilbert. All eyes were on Aaron Mason as the Doncaster driver pulls off a sterling drive to overtake Martin Depper for the race lead in lap 4. Further back, a great battle for 7thposition was developing between Chris Levett and Jack Walker-Tully, with Walker-Tully right on the tail of the VW Sirocco R. In final lap, Martin Depper applies the pressure on his teammate Stewart Lines for second place but Lines manages to hold onto his position to take second place on the podium. The race finished with Aaron Mason in first position, Stewart Lines in second and Martin Depper in third.

BRSCC Mazda MX5 Trophy

Race 1:
Will Chappell was on pole position for race 1 of the BRSCC Mazda MX5 Trophy, with Scott Leach and Simon Goddard completing the top three. As the lights went out, a good start from Leach saw him go side-by-side with Chappell into the first corner before Chappell pulled away and Leach was forced to defend second place to Goddard. It was a three car battle for second place on lap 2 with Leach, Goddard and Preston fighting for position with Preston eventually taking position. As Chappell pulled out a 14 second lead to Preston in second place, all eyes were on Matt Robinson and Will Blackwell-Chambers with nose to tail action between the two drivers for 7thposition. In the penultimate lap, Leach starts to put the pressure on Preston for second place by setting a new personal lap, whilst just 1 second covered positions 4thto 9th on the grid. As the chequered flag fell, it was a well-earned victory for Will Chappell, finishing with a 22 second lead over Alex Preston in second position and Scott Leach in third. A five second penalty was handed to Mark Litherland for not respecting track limits along with Scott Leach, who still managed to hold onto the final place on the podium despite the time penalty.

Race 2:
Will Chappell was back on pole for race 2 of the BRSCC Mazda MX5 Trophy, followed by Alex Preston in second and Scott Leach in third. As the top three started to pull away from the pack, a great battle for sixth position was underway between Rhys Jenkins and Simon Goddard with the drivers side-by-side in Becketts. Mark Litherland was given a five second penalty for not respecting track limits. A nail biting battle between Simon Goddard, Will Blackwell-Chambers, Rhys Jenkins and Matt Robinson on lap 4 saw Simon Goddard move up to third position. It was another dominant win for Will Chappell as he took the chequered flag with a 22 second lead over Alex Preston in second place. Third place went to Simon Goddard who beat Wayne Le Montais to the line by just 0.179 of a second to take the final place on the podium.

Race 3:
Richard Collins was on pole for race 3 of the BRSCC Mazda MX5 Trophy. Rhys Jenkins put in a sterling drive on the first lap to jump from 9thon the grid to take first position before the faster MK3 of Will Chappell, who also got off to a great start leaping from 14thon grid to third, managed to take the lead on lap 2. It was nose to tail for Will Blackwell-Chambers and Rhys Jenkins in the fight for second position with Blackwell-Chambers taking the position on lap 2, leaving Rhys Jenkins to fall back into the clutches of Alex Preston right behind him. Further back, a great battle was brewing between Mark Litherland, Simon Goddard and Wayne Le Montais for 6, 7 and 8thposition. With Will Chappell now well ahead of the pack, all eyes were on Alex Preston, Will Blackwell-Chambers and Scott Leach as they battled it out for the final places on the podium on the final lap. As Will Chappell took his third victory in the Invitation class, Will Blackwell-Chambers took the win in the MK1 class, followed by Rhys Jenkins and Alex Preston. Scott Leach dropped to fourth place after a 5 second penalty.

For all the race results from the meeting click SILVERSTONE RESULTS