Avon Tyres British GT Championship race winner Jeremy Metcalfe has moved to within just 12 points of the top of the 2008 GT3 Class driver standings thanks, in part, to an excellent piece of driving during a rain-lashed fifth round of the season at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit yesterday afternoon, Sunday, 25th May.The 20-year-old CR Scuderia driver, from Fleet in Hampshire, ran as high as second place in the afternoon’s encounter ahead of his mandatory pit-stop. Handing over to team-mate Luke Hines under Safety Car conditions at mid-distance, the latter brought the car home in fifth position to make it three points scores from the last three races.In addition to today’s result, Jeremy and Luke’s championship position has also benefited from the application of penalties to several rival competitors in the aftermath of the previous event at Knockhill. With a number of drivers declared guilty of yellow flag driving infringements during round four, the No.16 Ferrari 430 has now been classified in eighth position overall – sixth in the GT3 Class – and therefore scores three points for the second Knockhill race. With the round four result still remaining provisional for the time being, added to the fifth place achieved during today’s round Jeremy and Luke find themselves back in joint fifth position in the championship standings – just nine points shy of CRS stable-mates Paddy Shovlin and Michael Cullen who are currently second.“As we expected, the Vipers and the Lamborghinis were fast but things didn’t go too badly for us today”, said Jeremy after round five, “Both Luke and I raced well and although it would have been great to finish on the podium, I’m pretty happy with fifth place and more good championship points.“The conditions were very tricky but it was the same for everyone out there. We lost out a bit when the Safety Car was deployed but that’s the way it can work out. Tomorrow we start further down the grid but I’m confident we should be able to fight for more points.”During his round five qualifying run today, Jeremy produced the fifth fastest time with a lap of 1m 37.664 seconds (71.50mph). The rainy conditions progressively got worse throughout the day until part way through the first of the weekend’s British GT races. For that reason, the opening Rockingham encounter started under Safety Car conditions and when the action properly got underway at full racing speed on lap three, Jeremy’s fifth place soon became fourth when the pole-sitting Lamborghini Gallardo of Leo Machitski pulled out of the lead with problems at the end of the fourth tour.At the end of lap six, Jeremy moved into the top three following a spin at Brook Chicane for another of the Lamborghinis. Lapping consistently well, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star then started to produce fastest lap pace to move within two seconds of the pair of Dodge Vipers ahead. With the Safety Car having been deployed due to a car in the gravel at Tarzan, Jeremy pitted at the end of his 16th lap from second place. Following the change-over to team-mate Hines, the car rejoined the track in fourth position and although losing the spot to the Viper of Nick Foster and Oliver Bryant very late in the race, a top five result was still welcome.
Scoring points in all of the last three races, Jeremy and his team-mate are on a good run of consistency and are now aiming to make it four points scores on the bounce during the sixth round of the season tomorrow, Spring Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May.Repeating this afternoon’s result will be a tall order with the duo starting 14th on the grid for tomorrow’s encounter. Hines, who qualified the car for round six, will start the one hour race with Jeremy taking over at mid-distance for the second stint. Following a short warm-up session at 10.00, round six will take place at approximately 13.25.Provisional 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT3 Class Points:=1st James Gornall & Jon Barnes, 29pts; =3rd Paddy Shovlin and Michael Cullen, 26pts; =5th Jeremy Metcalfe & Luke Hines, 17pts