on Title at Thruxton
James Gornall and Jon Barnes extended their championship lead with victory in Round 10 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Thruxton, leading home Jeremy Metcalfe and Luke Hines in a 30-minute shortened race. Nigel Moore and Joe Osborne took the honours in GT4, ahead of championship leaders Stewart Linn and Matt Nicol-Jones.
The race was red flagged after just six laps after an accident between the Ginettas of Rob Austin and Bradley Ellis on the fast run into the last corner. The accident resulted in the Team RPM Ginetta shooting off the circuit and hitting the marshal‘s post before coming to rest well off the track. Ellis clambered out of the wreckage but was taken to hospital in Winchester where he was diagnosed with a chipped bone in his neck which will mean he will miss the next FIA GT3 races in Germany.
Michael Bentwood led the field into Allard for the first time with Allan Simonsen putting the CiM Ferrari alongside the Aston Martin to challenge for the lead. As they entered the Complex for the first time the two cars touched with the Ferrari spinning off the track and the furious Danish driver rejoining the field at the back. Aaron Scott in the ABG Motorsport Viper had made a great start from 4th on the grid and took advantage of the situation at the front to nip through to take the lead. The VRS Motor Finance Ferrari of Adam Wilcox had also made rapid progress to end the opening lap in 3rd place from 7th on the grid.
The leading Viper started to pull away from the Aston as Bentwood pulled away in turn from the Ferrari but on lap 6 the Red Flags came out to stop the race after Bradley Ellis’ accident at the approach to the final corner at Club.
The race was restarted over 30 minutes with the 15-minute pit window opening after 10 minutes of racing. The grid formed up as they had finished the first 6 laps with the ABG Viper of Aaron Scott at the front of the grid. Scott pulled away from Bentwood as the pace car released the GT field and for 3 laps looked to in with a chance of the teams first overall British GT victory. However a loose undertray forced the car into the pits and into retirement, gifting the lead back to pole position holder Michael Bentwood who now had the #14 CRS Ferrari of James Sutton all over his rear bumper after Sutton had passed James Gornall on the second lap.
The top three circulated in unison as the pit window opened, the top drivers all electing to stay out as long as possible. In GT4 Joe Osborne was holding a comfortable lead over Stewart Linn as Rob Austin’s battered Ginetta was moving back into a podium position after starting from the pitlane.
The leaders came in right at the end of the 15-minute pit window and Tom Alexander emerged in the lead but on lap 20 a spin at the Complex denied him his first British GT victory of the 2008 season. Second placed Jon Barnes was now at the front of the field ahead of Jeremy Metcalfe and Hector Lester. However the CiM Ferrari was coming under pressure from Michael Meadows for the final podium position and two laps from home Meadows swept past to deny Lester a double podium at Thruxton. He lost a further place to Paddy Shovlin on the last lap to come home in 5th place.
At the front Jon Barnes punched the steering wheel with delight as he crossed the line for the teams third victory of the championship, which increased their overall to 25 points with just four races remaining.
A full round up of the races at Thruxton can be found on the Championship website at www.britishgt.com where you can also find the TV schedule for Channel 4 and Motors TV
CLICK HERE to see the championship positions after Round 10
Round 10 – Result
1 – 40 - GT3 – James GORNALL / Jon BARNES – Viper Competition Coupe – 31:18.484 – 23 laps
2 – 16 – GT3 – Luke HINES / Jeremy METCALFE – Ferrari 430 - +1.305s
3 – 14 – GT3 – James SUTTON / Michael MEADOWS – Ferrari 430 - +9.400s
4 - 15 – GT3 – Michael CULLEN / Paddy SHOVLIN – Ferrari 430 - +14.278s
5 - 23 - GT3 – Hector LESTER / Allan SIMONSEN – Ferrari 430 - +15.170s
6 – 18 – GT3 – Gavan KERSHAW / Barrie WHIGHT – Aston Martin DBRS9 - +25.670s
7 - 12 - GT3 - Adam WILCOX / Phil BURTON - Ferrari 430 - +38.932s
8 - 42 - GT3 - Michael BENTWOOD / Tom ALEXANDER - Aston Martin DBRS9 - +40.389s
9 - 2- GT3 - Matt GRIFFIN / Peter Bamford - Ferrari 430 - +1:01.725s
10 - 51 - GT4 - Joe OSBORNE / Nigel MOORE - Ginetta G50 - +1 lap
11 - 88 - GT4 - Stewart LINN / Matt NICOL-JONES - Ginetta G50 - +1 lap
12 - 50 - GT4 - Phil BAILEY / Steve TANDY - Ginetta G50 - +2 laps
13 - 71 - GT4 - Ian STINTON / Neil CLARK - Ginetta G50 - +2 laps
14 - 54 - GT4 - Derek PALMER / Maxi JAZZ - Nissan 350Z - +3 laps
DNC - 1 - GT3 - Steve CLARK / Oliver BRYANT - Viper Competition Coupe - +14 laps
DNC - 20 - GT3 - Aaron SCOTT / Craig WILKINS - Viper Competition Coupe - +20 laps
DQ - 55 - GT4 - Rob AUSTIN / Hunter ABBOTT - Ginetta G50
1 - GT3 - Oliver BRYANT / Steve CLARK - Viper Competition Coupe - 1:17.019 - 110.12mph
51 - GT4 - Joe OSBORNE / Nigel MOORE - Ginetta G50 - 1:22.500 - 102.80mph