AFTER THRUXTON PODIUMBritish Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Jeremy Metcalfe took his third podium result of the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship season at Thruxton, Sunday, 29th June, with an outstanding drive at the wheel of his Ferrari 430.Competing at his home venue, the Fleet based 20-year-old took the round 10 chequered flag in second position but he and team-mate Luke Hines were then handed the race win after the victorious Trimite Brookspeed Viper Competition Coupe of series leaders James Gornall and Jon Barnes was served with a penalty for speeding in the pitlane.Having enjoyed the podium celebrations on the top step, everything changed once again when the CR Scuderia pairing were dropped back to their original placing of second after the penalty decision was overturned by race officials. After all of the confusion, the final result of second sees Jeremy move back into equal third in the championship standings.Commenting on the result, he said: “It’s great to finish second, when we thought we had the win the feeling was obviously even better but we’re happy with the result. The car was great when I got in it, after about five or six laps though the tyres went off quite badly as they were wrecked by then - everyone’s were. I’d say our car was looking after the tyres the best of anyone on track though.”Due to start round 10 from 13th on the grid, this became ninth when several cars were unable to take the race start. With Hines in the car for the first stint, he managed to avoid chaos at the complex on lap one and emerged into lap two in seventh position.As the field headed towards the conclusion of lap six though, contact involving several of the GT4 Class Ginetta G50 cars resulted in the race being stopped. Taking some time to clear away the very badly damaged car of Bradley Ellis, after a lengthy delay the race re-started over 30 minutes.The compulsory driver change pit-stop window opened in time for the start of the ninth lap of the re-started encounter and the team instantly brought Hines in – having climbed his way into fourth position. Jeremy rejoined outside the top 10 but immediately started to close the gap to the cars ahead.As the race order settled following all of the pit-stops, Jeremy found himself in fifth place after reeling off a series of strong laps. Picking off fellow CRS driver Michael Meadows part way through lap 19, Jeremy then moved into the top three with an excellent pass on Hector Lester’s Ferrari into the chicane.Pressing Tom Alexander’s second placed Aston Martin as the race entered lap 21, Jeremy looked as though he would easily be able to negotiate his rival but before he had chance, the 22GT Racing car had a spin at the complex. Although Jeremy was able to move into second, the spinning Aston did cost him several seconds and prevented him from trying to challenge the leading Viper of James Gornall over the last couple of laps. In the end, Jeremy crossed the line just 1.3 seconds behind.
“I drove a steady and solid race”, added Jeremy, “We had a bit of luck at the end but then again, we were a bit unlucky for the second placed Aston to spin in front of us as I would have passed it anyway and I think we’d have had a chance of getting onto the back of the Viper too if we hadn’t been delayed.Having slipped to joint eighth in the standings on Saturday, Jeremy has now leapt back up the order into equal third in the championship ahead of the next race meeting, the last double-header event of the season, a fortnight from now at the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.“I think Brands GP should be a strong track for the Ferraris and I’m really looking forward to it”, said the Hampshire ace, “The circuit is fantastic and hopefully we’ll be able to fight hard for wins there. We had good pace at Thruxton, I managed to qualify on pole again, so I’m sure we can carry that level of performance forward to Brands Hatch.” Rounds 11 and 12 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will take place on 12th/13th July at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.Provisional Avon Tyres British GT Championship Driver Standings (after Rd10)=1st James Gornall & Jon Barnes, 63pts; =3rd Jeremy Metcalfe & Luke Hines, 38pts