British GT

Fisken And Bridgman Tame Tricky Brands Track For GT Win

5 Mins read

After being taken out at Snetterton Gregor Fisken and Tim Bridgman bounced back with victory in the two hour race for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

The duo, who started from sixth on the rolling grid, held off a fleet of Ferraris for the win, the end of the two hours coming just soon enough to allow Bridgman to cross the line clear of the charging Matt Griffin in the MTECH Ferrari 458 GT3.

On a damp track after the latest in a number of downpours that punctuated the weekend's racing most teams opted to start with their slower driver in the car – the gentleman driver for many of the pairing. So it was Fisken who took the first stint behind the wheel of the no.2 Trackspeed car – as he had done at Snetterton – but straight away went about putting the car out of harm's way.

From the outside of the third row Fisken had driven around the five drivers ahead of him, passing Duncan Cameron in the pol-sitting MTECH car in the first few corners to take the lead, though Cameron retook the lead as they ventured out onto the Grand Prix loop for the first time.

Within just three laps the three leaders – Fisken's fellow Trackspeed driver David Ashburn having moved into third – had pulled out a 9 second advantage over Jim Geddie starting the CRS Racing  Ferrari 458.

Conditions were treacherous. Iain Dockerill put the Chad Ferrari into gravel at the foot of Paddock Hill, while Michael Guasch put the Snetterton winning United Autosports Audi into the gravel at the hairpin.

Jim Geddie was another seemingly struggling in the conditions. Running fourth he lost nearly ten seconds to the three leaders – Cameron, Fisken and David Ashburn in the other Trackspeed Porsche – in just three laps and fell back behind a charging Charles Bateman in the Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari.

Bateman's pace was little short of astounding, sometimes at a pace two seconds a lap better than the leader he effortlessly moved up to the rear of the leading trio, picked off the two Porsches on successive and then began whittling down the gap to Cameron, though the differential between the two 458s had decreased substantially, meaning Bateman only took the lead on lap 25, just in time for the safety car to intervene after Peter Bamford nosedived the RPM Ford GT into the Stirlings tyre barriers. The rain had arrived again, lubricating the track under the field of slick-shod GT cars.

The damp track caused problems for several drivers, Chad Racing's Iain Dockerill one man caught out in the early laps

The safety car retreated into the pitlane just as the window for the driver change stops opened after 50 minutes of the race. First in where Anthony Reid in the GTC class Chevron and Jay Palmer in the remaining United Autosports Audi.

Both were on the lead lap, but had spent the safety car period pent up behind the Aston Martin Belgium GT4 entry. The result was they never caught the rear of the snake behind the safety car. Though the ability to stop before anyone else, and the choice to take it was a tactical choice, with the safety car remaining static for the remainder of the race both cars were unable to make up the lost ground. Palmer, who handed the car to John Bintcliffe, finished eighth. The Chevron slipped back with Jordan Witt at the wheel, unable to keep with Reid's pace, but still won the class easily from the Magic Racing Ginetta of Anders and Bjorn Gustavson.

The leaders had to wait another lap before they got their opportunity to stop, Ashburn and Geddie taking the chance to hand over to Stephen Jelley and the younger Geddie – Glynn – respectively.

Jelley's stint would not last. He had taken the lead of those that had stopped, leapfrogging both MTECH and the other Porsche after their stops, but was called into the pits after fluid leaking from the left-rear corner prompted at black-and-orange flag. Stopped in the pitlane and fluid became fire, quickly smothered by a blast of extinguisher, Jelley's exit from the car confirming another retirement for the Trackspeed squad and defending champion David Ashburn.

Bateman was among the last drivers to pit, Michael Lyons resuming in the lead. However, the Essex-based driver began to slip back, struggling with graining on the front tyres. The 12 second lead he emerged from the pits with ebbed away in a matter of laps before Bridgman drove by and began to pull away into the distance.

Lyons gradually fell into the clutches of the normal band of chargers in their Ferraris. Matt Griffin was on terrific form racing back up after the team had lost time in the pitstop sequence. Allan Simonsen was his normal self, having nearly lost a lap under Hector Lester's stewardship before the safety car came out the Dane was clawing back time in the older 430 Scuderia. Lap times three or four seconds better than the leader heaved him up the order, past Glynn Geddie then past Godfrey Jones in the PreciSpark Mercedes that was quietly recording another consistent run – if it's possible for the roaring SLS to do anything quietly!

However, Simonsen's charge fell silent, a challenge for the podium fell short and suddenly the emphasis was on defence from Geddie. The defence was breached on lap 64 of the total of 75 when Simonsen and Geddie – already fighting each other – came upon Lyons. A momentary loss of momentum behind the slower 458 on the trip up the hill to Druids was enough to allow Geddie back by Simonsen and the Scot made short work of moving into third ahead of Lyon's Scuderia Vittoria car to jump two places in the space of a single lap.

At the head of the race Griffin was gaining on Bridgman ahead, the Ferrari man logging a spree of fastest laps as he honed in on the rear of the Porsche. With the end of the two hours approaching, Griffin's pace would have put the two leaders together on track for the final lap. However, the Irishman found himself stuck behind Godfrey Jones and Marcus Clutton on the best of the ABG Motorsport KTM X-Bows, running in second place in GT4. Griffin was forced to follow both slower cars though Druids and Graham Hill Bend, losing a total of just over a second to Bridgman in the first two sectors of the lap, removing the pressure from the Trackspeed man for the handful of laps that remained.

Marcus Clutton was second in GT$ at the start of the final lap, but ended the race with another class win

Griffin had to settle for second at the head of four Ferraris that made up the rest of the lead lap finishers. The Jones brothers finished sixth ahead of the second CRS 458 and Palmer and Bintcliffe's Audi. Predator CCTV and Stark Racing's Ginetta G55 completed the top ten.

Unlike the overall lead, the fight for GT4 honours lasted until the final turn through Clearways on the final lap when David MacDonald span the Scuderia Vittoria Ginetta G50 into the gravel from the lead, allowing Clutton to take another GT4 win to add to the collection of he and co-driver Peter Belshaw, despite changes before the race to the balance of power. The Lotus Evora of Leyton Clarke and Freddy Nordstrom finished second, MacDonald and teammate Dan Denis were classified third in class.

Despite class rivals for the first time this season, and a spin at Paddock Hill on the very first lap Aaron Smith and John Dhillon took the GT3B win. The class was led for much of the race by Tom Alexander and Adrian Wilmott's 22GT Racing Aston Martin, through two drive thru penalties, but fell back to second place, a victim of Scott's pace in the MTECH-run Ferrari.

Aaron Scott and John Dhillon (13) recovered from this spin to win again in GT3B

Related posts
British GT

Enduro Motorsport confirm British GT GT3 full season attack

1 Mins read
Enduro Motorsport bring their ex-Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S to the British GT grid with Morgan Tilbrook and Marcus Clutton.
British GT

Century Motorsport announce two-car 2021 British GT entry

3 Mins read
Century Motorsport will run a two-strong BMW M4 Evo entry in the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship, upgrading on last season’s old-spec car.
British GT

Balfe complete multi-class 2021 British GT entries

2 Mins read
Balfe Motorsport will be running full-season British GT entries in both GT3 and GT4.

Leave a Reply