Barnes and Gornall Consolidate Challenge

Round 8 Race Report – Snetterton, Norfolk

Bradley Ellis and Alex Mortimer secured the first win for the Ford GT in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, taking the chequered flag in the sunshine at Snetterton just 2.8 seconds ahead of championship leaders Jon Barnes and James Gornall in the Team Trimite Brookspeed Viper, with James Sutton and Michael Meadows a distant third.  Matt Nicol-Jones and Stewart Linn returned to the top step of the GT4 podium to record their 4th win of the year to extend their GT4 championship lead.

After the rain over Norfolk the day before the welcome appearance of some warm sunshine changed the track conditions completely.  The two Aston Martin DBRS9 that were abscent from the grid due to the wet conditions rolled out onto the grid but the Cadena Motorsport Aston wouldn't be taking part after a wheel collapsed forcing the cars retirement before the race even began.  Another car missing from the proceedings was the #11 Team Modena Lamborghini of Guy Harrington and Ben de Zille Butler after a problem with the engine in round 7 proved to be terminal for the rest of the weekend.

The remaining 24 cars lined up behind Bradley Ellis in the Matech Ford GT with Adam Jones in the #21 Team Modena Lamborghini alongside as the lights went out to begin the race.  Allan Simonsen in the #23 CiM Ferrari had a look at the inside of Jones at the first corner but the cars held position as they jinked and swerved, fighting for track position.  Adam Wilcox was making progress in the VRS Motor Finance Ferrari but he then ran wide on the entrance to the Esses and while he kept on the track he lost momentum, denting his challenge.

At the end of the opening lap it was Ellis from Jones, Simonsen, James Sutton in the CR Scuderia Ferrari and Wilcox.  Jonny Cocker in the #9 Tech 9 Lamborghini had lost three places to finish the opening lap 8th, one place ahead of Jon Barnes in the Team Trimite Brookspeed Viper who had climbed an impressive five places.

In GT4 Stewart Linn took the lead from Jamie Smyth in the Beechdean Aston Martin N24, who was also passed by Rob Austin on the opening lap.  Linn then slipped back to 3rd after being caught out by Austin and Smyth and a three car battle ensued for the GT4 lead for lap after lap.

Ellis started to pull away from Jones as Simonsen started to pile on the pressure with Sutton keeping pace and watching to see if he could take advantage of any mistakes made by the battling duo. 

On lap 7 Cocker started to move back up the order after his earlier slip and went down the inside of the #3 Chad Peninsula Racing Ferrari of Anthony Reid at Riches, with Reid losing another place at the next corner as Barnes followed Cockers lead.  The Viper closed up on the Lamborghini and Cocker was demoted back a place on the next lap by the charging Barnes.

With Ellis holding a 5.9 second lead it was a sense of déjà vu for the Ford GT team as the safety car boards came out to close the field back up.  With an extra 30-seconds on the pitstop time for the Ford GT pairing this was the last thing they needed.  The safety car circulated while a cars undertray was removed from the racing line at the Esses and on lap 13 racing resumed with Ellis, Jones and Simonsen moving ahead of the rest of the field as 4th placed James Sutton had to negotiate some slower GT4 cars.

Ellis started to pull away from Jones as Simonsen resumed his assault on the second placed Lamborghini.  Aaron Scot in the #20 ABG Motorsport Viper swept past Anthony Reid at the Esses on lap 16 and further back Oliver Bryant passed Michael Cullen, Matt Griffin and Anthony Reid in the #2 Team RPM Viper as the pitstops approached.

At Sear there was contact between two cars, with the #12 VRS Motor Finance Ferrari of Adam Wilcox making it back to the pitlane with damage to the front right quarter.  The team got the car going again with Phil Burton at the wheel but the Ferrari eventually expired.

Meanwhile in GT4 Stewart Linn finally made it past the Beechdean Aston of Jamie Smyth just as the pit window opened and he decided to come in early to hand the car over to Matt Nicol-Jones.

With the pit window open confusion reigned as the back markers came in for their mandatory stops while the leaders elected to stay out for as long as possible. 

Once the pitstops had all been completed it was the #23 Christians in Motorsport Ferrari of Hector Lester who was in the lead, 20 seconds ahead of the Matech Ford GT, now with Alex Mortimer at the wheel, with James Gornall a further 6 seconds up the road in the Team Trimite Brookspeed Viper.  Mortimer was rapidly catching the leading Ferrari and on lap 35 swept past the Ulsterman on the Revett Straight to retake the lead.  It was now the turn of Gornall to catch and pass the CiM Ferrari, which he duly did on the next lap. 

Gornall then set off after the leading Ford GT and closed the gap to less than a second before Mortimer was able to respond to the challenge and unintentional intervention by some backmarkers also delayed the Vipers charge.

Michael Meadows was also making progress in the #14 CR Scuderia Ferrari, passing Hector Lester on lap 43 to secure the final podium position.

In GT4 Stewart Linns decision to come in for an early pitstop paid off as Matt Nicol-Jones led the class but came under pressure from Nigel Moore in the #51 Team RPM Ginetta. Moore took the lead on lap 37 only to lose it again two laps later, dropping to third behind Hunter Abbott in the Rob Austin Racing Ginetta and this is how it stayed until the chequered flag.

At the front it was Alex Mortimer who secured the first ever win for a Ford GT in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, 2.8 seconds ahead of James Gornall, the 2nd place moving the Team Trimite pairing further ahead at the top of the championship table.  Michael Meadows brought the Ferrari home in a distant but comfortable 3rd ahead of Marco Mapelli in the #15 CR Scuderia Ferrari.  Hector Lester was 5th, fending off a last lap charge from Leo Machitski in the Tech 9 Lamborghini.

The races at Snetterton will be shown on Channel 4 in the UK and across Europe on Motors TV.  A full TV schedule is available on the British GT website at www.britishgt.com.  Rounds 9 and 10 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will take place at Thruxton in Hampshire on the 28/29 June.

ENDS

CLICK HERE to listen to post race press conference

Round 8 Result

1 - 6 - GT3 - ELLIS-MORTIMER -  Matech GT Racing - 1:00:50.411 - 48 laps

2 - 40 - GT3 - BARNES-GORNALL -  - Trimite Brookspeed - +2.833s

3 - 14 - GT3 - SUTTON-MEADOWS -  - CR Scuderia - +30.921s

4 - 15 - GT3 - CULLEN-MAPELLI -  - CR Scuderia - +33.112s

5 - 23 - GT3 - SIMONSEN-LESTER -  - Christians in Motorsport - +33.962s

6 - 9 - GT3 - COCKER-MACHITSKI -  - Tech 9 - +35.168s

7 - 16 - GT3 - HINES-METCALFE -  - CR Scuderia - +50.473s

8 - 2 - GT3 - BRYANT-FOSTER -  - Team RPM - +55.274s

9 - 20 - GT3 - SCOTT-WILKINS -  - ABG Motorsport - +01:13.101s

10 - 1 - GT3 - O NEILL-CLARK -  - Team RPM - +1 lap

11 - 3 - GT3 - REID-MARSH -  - Chad Peninsula Racing - +1 lap

12 - 42 - GT3 - BENTWOOD-ALEXANDER -  - 22GTRacing - +1 lap

13 - 8 - GT3 - FERRIER-MORLEY -  - Tech 9 - +1 lap

14 - 88 - GT4 - LINN-NICOLL JONES -  - IMS Motorsport - +2 laps

15 - 55 - GT4 - AUSTIN-ABBOTT -  - Rob Austin Racing - +2 laps

16 - 51 - GT4 - OSBORNE-MOORE -  - RPM - +2 laps

17 - 52 - GT4 - REDWOOD-MUSSI -  - RPM - +2 laps

18 - 99 - GT4 - SMYTH-HOWARD -  - Beechdean Motorsport - +3 laps

19 - 54 - GT4 - Derek PALMER -  - Promotorsport - +4 laps

20 - 50 - GT4 - TANDY-BAILEY -  - RPM - +4 laps

21 - 71 - GT4 - STINTON-CLARK -  - Stark Racing - +5 laps

22 - 4 - GT3 - GRIFFIN-BAMFORD -  - Chad Peninsula Racing - +12 laps

Not Classified

DNC - 12 - GT3 - WILCOX-BURTON -  - VRS Motor Finance - +19 laps

DNC - 21 - GT3 - JONES-JOHNSON -  - Team Modena - +27 laps

DNS - 18 - GT3 - KERSHAW-WHIGHT -  - Cadena Motorsport -  

Fastest Lap

6 - GT3 - Bradley ELLIS  -  1:08.802 - 102.13mph - 164.37kph

51 - GT4 - Joe OSBORNE -  1:15.310 - 93.30mph - 150.16kph