The final round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship took place at a sunny Donington Park, but the season finale proved ultimately frustrating for Team Modena with Guy Harrington and Ben de Zille Butler retiring shortly after their mid-race pit stop. The car had been placed strongly, running in the middle of the top ten and looking good to gain places at the two-hour race progressed, before being sidelined with an engine problem.
“It’s a very disappointing result,” said Team Principal Graham Schultz, “we were preserving the car for the last 15 or 20 minutes of the race, but then problem that has haunted us all season occurred.”
Team Modena will lined up in fourth place on the grid, Ben and Guy putting the number eleven Lamborghini Gallardo on the second row of the grid. With one 30-minute session to decide the grid for tomorrow’s two-hour race, Ben ran in the first part in light rain, while Guy made the most of the drying track late in the session to set the car’s best time.
“The start of the session was interesting,” said Ben after qualifying, “it was never really raining but there was a lot of spray on the windscreen at some points of the circuit. It was dry enough for normal breaking, but you had to be careful putting the power on. A Ginetta spun past me at one point and disappeared from my view, and I had to back off then in case he came back on in front of me. We are fourth on the grid and the times are close – so it is looking for tomorrow and we are really pleased.”
“I enjoyed that,” said Guy, “the car was handling superbly and the engine felt strong. It was slippery when I first went out, but it got better and the car was fantastic, the team have done a good job.”
Guy was in the car for the start of the race, and was in the thick of the battles at the front before settling into and holding fifth position. A Safety Car period after 40-laps saw the team make their compulsory pit stop, Ben taking over the car. A short way into his stint engine temperatures started to rise, and Ben brought the car into the pits, not the way the team and drivers were hoping to end the 2008 season.
“Early on it was ok,” said Guy, “the Vipers were quick in a straight line but I could get them back under braking, and I was just trying to preserve the car as it was a two-hour race. I thought the tyres were going off at one point, then towards the end of the stint the car felt really sweet. I came in for Ben, and then we had our problems. It’s a disappointing end to the season and we look forward to next year now.”
“From the minute I went out things didn’t feel quite right,” said Ben, “but on my fourth or fifth lap the back end came round and there was smoke, so I brought the car back in. Not the end to the season we wanted, it is a shame because the car was looking good and ran well at Brno.”Click here for the Official Team Modena web site - designed and built by Racecar