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Trackspeed Win Race One At Rockingham

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Thought the Trackspeed Porsche may have had the pace to take the win on the track it was the post-pitstop penalties than, in all reality handed them the win in the first of two Avon Tyres British GT Championship races at Rockingham.

The car, driven by David Ashburn and Glynn Geddie had started from second, and held that position for almost all of the first half of the race – a firth lap drop to third an aberration in the long run. Ashburn, who had started the car, however, could not keep pace with the Rollcentre Mosler which had converted pole into the lead in the hands of Gregor Fisken.

The only glimmer of hope for the Porsche pair, it seemed, was traffic. Fisken and the Mosler had built almost a five second lead, but as the red and black car began to wade through the traffic generated by the slower G4 class (and GT3 stragglers). The lead fell, first to 3.8 seconds, then 2.1, but any advantage Ashburn had gained was erased after the pitstops, as Martin Short returned his Rollcentre Mosler to the track, its lead doubled over the Porsche, which Ashburn had relayed to Geddie a few laps previous.

But Geddie, in his first race after announcing he would drive for the team for the remainder of the season began chopping back the lead once more, perhaps it wasn't simply traffic which had seen the lead fall before the stops after all. Cleaving over a second from the gap over the space of only a few laps it seemed as if Rockingham was to bear witness to a close finish between the two, who had moved smartly away from the rest of the field soon after the green flag.

However, race stewards had other ideas, as a clutch penalties were announced. The Chris Hyman/Dan Brown Chad Racing Ferrari, MTECH Ferrari (in third at the time) and Short in the Mosler all called for stop-go penalties of varying lengths, which all but handed Geddie and Ashburn the win.

Only a late, late fuel scare threatened the victory as Geddie eased back – illustrated as he struggled past the G4 class KTM X-Bow of Anthanasios Ladas on the final lap. The economy run, and undoubted tactics to avoid the danger of another lap of the 1.9mile Rockingham track, saw the official winning margin only 5.48 seconds over the Mosler, when the lead had been as much as 19 seconds.

Third, and the final step on the podium went to the RPM Ford GT of Philip Walker and Alex Mortimer – fitting on the day the team's owner Robin Mortimer was honoured in a two-minute silence before the race.

The car had risen steadily through the field during the race, passing cars at regular intervals as they fell back through the field – though they two were helped by the penalties, the three-second stop for the MTECH crew dropping them out of third place.

The final hurdle in the Ford's podium race had been the Tom Ferrier/Paul Warren Chad Racing Ferrari. Clearly having the pace to beat the 430 Scuderia (Mortimer was closing in at more than half a second per lap) the move eventually came on the second attempt on the front straight. The typically nimble Ferrari being out turned and out accelerated by the black Ford GT in front of the grandstands. The two went side-by-side in the turn one sweeper, with Ferrier momentarily looking to cling on around the outside before a flash of red brake light signalled the white flag in the battle for the final podium.

The Ford's quick running at the end of the race was rare in a race where several teams challenged for podium places before sliding back down the order.

The all-Argentine pairing of Juan Garriz and Jose Balbiani had held third from the start of the race – continuing their impressive form in the older style – non Scuderia – Ferrari of Chad Racing. Barriz was the last to come in for the compulsory driver change, though may have paid the price for assuming the lead, and the role of spearhead through the G4 traffic, while Matt Griffin in the MTECH Ferrari benefitted from largely clear track after taking the title leading car from Duncan Cameron.

Having lost third Balbiani continued to slide down the order, eventually being passed by Griffin on track as he recovered from the stop-go penalty, the pair finishing fifth and sixth ahead of the Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox Dodge Viper – another care that had faded badly after an early charge.

Completing the lacklustre showing for the Prancing Horse was the 'lead' Chad car of Hyman and Brown.

Hyman had made what looed like an astounding start – the only man to deprive Ashburn of second, and that only for a few corners before being forced back to third at the Deene hairpin.

That was followed by a spin at Chapman – including a heart-stopping slip broadside across the track infront of several cars – a first penalty, for the jump start and then a paltry one second penalty once Brown had been installed in the car.

The G4 class was one, on debut, by the Chad Racing (something had to go right for the Canvey Island based outfit) KTM X-Bow. Series returnee Michael Mallock had followed the Piranha Motorsport Lotus for his entire stint – more concerned with keeping Jamie Stanley in the Ginetta at bay. Once the car owner Lalas was on board the team moved forward, passing Simon Mason in the Lotus 2-Eleven and extending out to a eight second lead by the checkered flag.

The final spot on the class podium was the Century Motorsport Ginetta. Nathan Freke passing Christian Dick's similar car at Deene in the closing laps to take the position in the car started by Danish lady-race Vibe Smed.

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