Ashburn Holds On To Take Second Win 2013 Season


Ashburn held Steve Tandy at bay to put he and Nick Tandy on the top step of the podium (Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

In a pair of close finishes in the second Avon Tyres British GT Championship races at Snetterton David Ashburn and Nick Tandy became the first repeat winners of the 2013 season while Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jr. added a second GT4 win to their first earlier in the day.

Ashburn’s progress to the victory was – in fact – made by co-driver Nick Tandy. The Porsche works driver started from fifth and passed 888Optimum’s Dan Brown on the opening lap before passing Matt Bell and Stephen Jelley to take second place and start the task of chasing down Joe Osborne who had taken the lead from Jelley on the opening lap.

Osborne had set a new lap record in the first race during a recovery drive after co-driver Lee Mowle was delayed in the first lap accident but in the lead he continued to improve the new record. Tandy replied in kind, taking the record down to 1:51.256 as he closed in and passed Osborne before pulling away to a lead that neared five seconds before Tandy led all of the top nine in making their mandatory pitstops at the last possible opportunity.

The polka-dot Porsche was turned over to Ashburn to return to the lead, not with Steve Tandy in the #888 888Optimum BMW Z4 in second. Mark Patterson, having taken over from Matt Bell in the United Autosports Audi was third while Lee Mowle dropped to fourth in the BMW Osborne had taken to the lead in the early laps.

Through his stint Ashburn’s led fell from nearly nine seconds, the Porsche driver following a pattern of losing time, then holding his advantage steady for several laps before Tandy sliced into his lead once again. As the minutes ticked away Tandy closed to just a second behind, Patterson and Mowle closing in with him bunch the top four into just 1.8 seconds to start the final lap of the race.

The order and, incredibly enough the gap, remained almost unchanged through the final lap with Ashburn leading to the line with Tandy less than half a second behind in claiming second for he and Dan Brown. Patterson’s drive to third gave he and Matt Bell a third podium of the season.

The two McLaren’s run from the same United Autosports garage fared less well. In the early laps both Alvaro Parente and Glynn Geddie pitted with flat right-front tyres. The race for Parente and Zak Brown’s #23 was further complicated by a stop-go penalty later in the race after they made their mandatory stop outside of the pit window.

Behind the top four there was a 12 second gap to Andrew Howard in fifth for Beechdean. Fortec Motorsports, Ecurie EcosseMarco Attard and Olly Bryant salvaging points from a difficult weekend. Motorbase, AF Corse and M-Sport completed the points paying positions.

After being stripped of their race one win Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw spun into retirement at Riches while fighting with the Motorbase Porsche in the first half of the race. Gregor Fisken and Stephen Jelley continued a string of Trackspeed retirements due to a cracked exhaust. Having started on pole Jelley, the car still suffering with the after effects of the race one crash, fell back to ninth before pitting to hand over to Fisken.

The Barwell Motorsport Aston, the car which had triggered the race one accident had earlier confirmed their own double retirement due to power steering problems. The most serious accident of the race was that of Tom Sharp who destroyed the front end of the Ginetta G55 GT3 he shared with Colin White against the barriers on the outside of Corum.

Declan Jones led GT4 throughout his race opening stint for Century Motorsport, but he and Zoe Wenham were removed from the lead equation by an extra pitstop to secure a loose bonnet after contact with the a faster Ferrari.

His problem gave the lead back to the Dan Eagling and Matt Smith driven Redgate/Lifetime Racing Ginetta G50. However, with Smith several seconds a lap slower than both James May in the APO Sport G50 and Parfitt Jr. a relatively comfortable looking advantage was whittled away before both May and Parfitt Jr. passed Smith on the same lap.

Then it was left to Partfitt Jr. to turn the top three in class inside out, completing a pass for the lead on may on the inside of Riches. The move also completed an unlikely comeback after the car had cut out underneath Ryan Ratcliffe with the loss of a minute to the rest of the class.