2012 Silverstone Classic: Evans’ Silver Arrow Hits The Target

by James Broomhead
After being moved up to the front row, Evans dominated the race (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

In his fantastic Sauber Mercedes C9 Gareth Evans survived a clash with a back marker to win the twilight Group C sportscars race at Silverstone Classic powered by the AA.

The 30 minute race for the famous Le Mans racers of the 1980s and very early 90s was eventful from the start of the race, with three cars taken out in a crash at Abbey for the first time.

Driving one of the three superb Martini liveried Lancia LC2 in the race Robin Ward push the Spice of David Mercer into a spin at the apex of the quick right-hander and chaos ensued as the spinning Mercer and Ward scattered everyone behind.

Chris Eyre spun his Jaguar harmlessly in avoidance, while Kent Abrahamsson's Nissan RC90 ended the melee in the gravel trap guarding the inside of Farm curve. The main damage was to the two cars that started it, Ward's Lancia rolling back and into Mercer's stationary car, doing heavy damage to both cars.

From pole position Christophe D'Ansembourg was beaten around the first few corners by Evans – gifted a front row start as Nicolas Minassian and the Peugeot 905 failed to take the start – and Roger Wills, the Kiwi in another of the trio of headlining Lancia.

The man on the move in the early laps was Steve Tandy in the From A Nissan. He moved past Rupert Cleverly – the final man in the Martini Lancia trinity for fourth and a lap later demoted D'Ansembourg off the podium with a simple move at the inside of Stowe. With the absence of the Peugeot the Belgian Jagermeister orange Porsche 962 was yet another of the cars fighting for aesthetic top billing, but on track it was struggling to keep pace with the leaders, instead falling back towards Mike Donovan, leading the C2 contingent in his 1988 Spice SE88.

Christophe D'Ansembourg finished third after a battle with Steve Tandy (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Christophe D’Ansembourg finished third after a battle with Steve Tandy (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Donovan looked capable of climbing up to fourth place, looking on the inside of Brooklands, but despite their battling for position both he and D'Ansembourg ahead started to close on Tandy's Nissan once more. With three minutes remaining D'Ansembourg retook third place, sliding past the yellow Nissan at Brooklands to push Tandy back to fourth, the British GT driver spinning back to fifth when the car snapped around alarmingly exciting Chapel.

While the battle for third place raged Evans had pulled away into a comfortable lead from Wills' Lancia. Such was Evans advantage that he survived a spin, pinched by the blue and white Iseki Porsche 956 of Russell Kempnich as he came up to lap him at Stowe. Happily, unlike the opening corner both cars were undamaged and Evans was able to continue, still with a comfortable lead in hand over Wills' leading by nearly five seconds at the end of the race.

Mike Donovan was the best of the C2 cars in the '88 Spice (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Mike Donovan was the best of the C2 cars in the ’88 Spice (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Wills and D'Ansembourg completed the podium, Donovan the best of the smaller C2 cars with Peter Meyrick sixth overall behind Tandy taking second in class in his 1989 Spice that will be driven by son Andy in the second of the weekend's races.

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