Metcalfe and Hines Take First Win
Jeremy Metcalfe and Luke Hines (#16 CR Scuderia) won the first British GT race held at Knockhill since 2005, finishing Round 3 of the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship ahead of the Dodge Vipers of James Gornall and Jon Barnes (#40 Team Trimite Brookspeed) and Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins (#20 ABG Motorsport), a race that had four safety car periods.
The GT4 class was won by Rob Austin and Hunter Abbott (#55 Rob Austin Racing) finishing a lap ahead of Matt Nicoll-Jones and Stewart Linn who retain the lead in the GT4 championship.
A heavy rain shower 30-minutes before the race had made the track very slippery but it had started to dry out thanks to the previous qualifying session by the Ginetta G50 Cup cars. All the teams elected to start on slick tyres, the Trackspeed Porsche going to the grid on wets and David Ashburn choosing to swap the Avon tyres before the green flag lap. Missing from the grid was the #12 VRS Motor Finance Ferrari of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox after the engine dropped a valve in qualifying.
Jeremy Metcalfe led the 22 car grid as the race began but behind him David Jones had got the run on Michael Meadows into the first corner to snatch 2nd place. Oliver Morley had a spin at the first corner in the Tech 9 Lamborghini and Peter Bamford (#4 Chad Peninsula Racing) also had an off at Butchers on the same lap. Metcalfe led from Jones who had Meadows shadowing his every move but on lap 2 the Ascari ran wide at the Carlube corner and ended up stuck in the gravel trap. Steve Clark in the #1 Team RPM Viper also went off early on in the race, retiring against the barriers at Butchers.
A lap later David Ashburn also span at the Carlube corner, narrowly missing the stranded Ascari and the stewards decided to deploy the safety car to retrieve the beached car. As the remaining cars lined up behind the safety car, Metcalfe was leading from Meadows, with Guy Harrington in the Team Modena Lamborghini now in third ahead of James Gornall in the Team Trimite Brookspeed Viper and Oliver Bryant in the #2 Team RPM Viper. GT4 was led by pole sitter Joe Osborne (#51 Team RPM) from Hunter Abbott, who had moved ahead of Matt Nicoll-Jones on the opening lap.
Lap 7 saw the race resume and Metcalfe took advantage of his lead position to move away from the rest of the field as Peter Bamford in the Chad Peninsula Racing Ferrari, who was a lap down, held up the second placed driver for a couple of corners at the restart. Gornall had Bryant filling his mirrors on the run into the final corner and the Team RPM Viper swept past into 4th place at the end of the lap just before the safety car was deployed for the second time as Oliver Morley went off at Scotsman in a dangerous position.
The Tech 9 Lamborghini was pulled from the gravel trap by the recovery vehicle and racing resumed on lap 13. This time Meadows was able to keep pace with the leading Ferrari but Metcalfe seemed to have control of the race as the pitstop window approached.
Another safety car period was declared a few laps later when the #51 Team RPM Ginetta of Joe Osborne disappeared in a cloud of oil smoke at Butchers while leading the GT4 class. As the lead cars approached the scene Michael Meadows went off into the barriers on the oil dropped by the stricken Ginetta, quickly followed by the CiM Ferrari of Hector Lester and the Trackspeed Porsche of David Ashburn, who got the Porsche back on track almost immediately. As the field were led around by the safety car the pit window opened and there was a mad dash for the pits by all the cars still running except the Team Modena Lamborghini of Guy Harrington and the Chad Peninsula Racing Ferrari of Peter Bamford.
The beached cars were all recovered and Osborne’s Ginetta was moved to safety and the the race went green once again with Harrington now in the lead by 30 seconds ahead of Luke Hines, who was now at the wheel of the #16 CR Scuderia Ferrari. Harrington stayed out until the last minute of the pit window to hand over to Ben de Zille Butler.
After the pit stops the GT4 class was now led by Fulvio Mussi (#52 Team RPM) from Stewart Linn (#88 IMS Motorsport), with Rob Austin (#55 Rob Austin Racing) now in 3rd but Austin overtook the 2nd place Ginetta on lap 24 and then four laps later swept into the class lead as he and Mussi went door-to-door across the start finish line.
At the front Hines led by just over 6 seconds from Jason Templeman (#9 Tech 9) and a further 4 seconds ahead of Jon Barnes. Richard Williams, now at the wheel of the Trackspeed Porsche 997, was storming through the field passing the #2 Team RPM Viper of Nick Foster at the first corner to move into 4th place at the end of lap 38. Templeman was handed a stop go penalty after it was judged that the Tech 9 Lamborghini was stationary for less than the required 45-seconds during the driver handover and this promoted Barnes into second place and Williams into 3rd. Hines now had a comfortable 17 second lead over Barnes and looked set to take his first win in British GT since 2006. However Ian Stinton (#71 Stark Racing) went off into the gravel at Scotsman corner and the safety car was deployed for the 4th and final time.
The field bunched up behind Hines in the lead Ferrari and the race went green on lap 51. Williams took advantage of the situation to get the Porsche right up behind the Viper of Jon Barnes and at the restart swept past into 2nd place and set off after the leading Ferrari. However the stewards judged that Williams had overtaken the Viper before he had reached the start finish line and was handed a stop go penalty, dropping the Porsche back to 4th with three laps of the race remaining.
Aaron Scott in the #20 ABG Motorsport Viper now found himself in a podium scoring position and was bearing down on Jon Barnes but the Team Trimite Viper held on to score the teams first podium finish in the GT3 class. Luke Hines took the win, the second of the 2008 season for the CR Scuderia team, with Richard Williams in 4th and Michael Cullen (#15 CR Scuderia) in 5th which was enough for the Irish duo to retain the championship lead.
Rob Austin brought the Ginetta home to win GT4 by over a lap from Stewart Linn and Fulvio Mussi. Stewart Linn and Matt Nicoll-Jones extended their championship lead in the GT4 class to six points.
ROUND 3 - PROVISIONAL RESULT
1 - 16 - GT3 - Jeremy Metcalfe / Luke Hines - Ferrari 430 GT3 - 1:00:51.012 - 60 laps
2 - 40 - GT3 - James Gornall / Jon Barnes - Viper Competition Coupe - 1:00:56.611 - +5.599s
3 - 20 - GT3 - Craig Wilkins / Aaron Scott - Viper Competition Coupe - 1:00:57.387 - + 6.375s
4 - 5 - GT3 - David Ashburn / Richard Williams - Porsche 997 GT3 S - 1:01:00.384 - +9.372s
5 - 15 - GT3 - PAddy Shovlin / Michael Cullen - Ferrari 430 GT3 - 1:01:02.467 - +11.455s
6 - 9 - GT3 - Leo Machitski / Jason Templeman - Lamborghini Gallardo - 1:01:06.249 - +15.237s
7 - 42 - GT3 - Adrian Willmot / Michael Bentwood - Aston Martin DBRS9 - 1:01:06.787 - +15.775s
8 - 21 - GT3 - Guy Harrington / Ben de Zille Butler - Lamborghini Gallardo - 1:01:28.598 - +37.586s
9 - 4 - GT3 - Matt Griffin / Peter Bamford - Ferrari 430 GT3 - 1:00:58.372 - +1 lap
10 - 55 - GT4 - Hunter Abbott / Rob Austin - Ginetta G50 - 1:01:39.375 - +1 lap
11 - 88 - GT4 - Matt Nicoll-Jones / Stewart Linn - Ginetta G50 - 1:01:35.442 - +2 laps
12 - 52 - GT4 - Nigel Redwood / Fulvio Mussi - Ginetta G50 - 1:01:38.427 - +2 laps
13 - 99 - GT4 - Andrew Howard / Jamie Smyth - Aston Martin N24 - 1:01:45.172 - +2 laps
14 - 50 - GT4 - RPM - - RPM - 01:46.9 - 57 - 3 - 70.37 - 56.68
15 - 22 - GT3 - David Jones / Godfrey Jones - Ascari KZ1R - 1:00:57.820 - +4 laps
16 - 23 - GT3 - Hector Lester / Allan Simonsen - Ferrari 430 GT3 - 1:01:06.507 - +4 laps
DNC - 2 - GT3 - Oliver Bryant / Nick Foster - Viper Competition Coupe - 43 laps
DNC - 14 - GT3 - Michael Meadows / James Sutton - Ferrari 430 - 16 laps
DNC - 8 - GT3 - Tom Ferrier / Oliver Morley - Lamborghini Gallardo - 8 laps
DNC - 1 - GT3 - Steve Clark / Paul O'Neill - Viper Competition Coupe - 1 lap
DNC - 71 - GT4 - Neil Clark / Ian Stinton - Ginetta G50 - 46 laps
DNC - 51 - GT4 - Joe Osborne / Alex Mortimer - Ginetta G50 - 14 laps
- 23 - GT3 - Allan SIMONSEN - Christians in Motorsport - lap 51 - 51.316s
- 55 - GT4 - Rob AUSTIN - - Rob Austin Racing - lap 44 - 55.192s