Late Griffin Lap Lifts MTECH To Top FP1

by James Broomhead
Fresh tyres helped Matt Griffin to top the first free practice at Silverstone (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

With a lap late in the first free practice session Matt Griffin put the MTECH Ferrari fastest of the 31 car field assembled for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone.

It was a promising start for the team, who with driver pairing Griffin and Duncan Cameron are just half a point shy of championship lead David Ashburn. After making small changes in set up throughout the session, first with Irishman Griffin, then Cameron, at the wheel the team re-installed Griffin in car for the final run of the session with brand new Avon tyres.

The result, predictably, was Griffin surging to the top of the times. His lap of 2:03.734 knocked long time pace setters Team WFR off the top of the timesheets. Their Ginetta G55 of Jody Firth and Riki Christodoulou was the class of the field for most of the session, setting a 2:04.558 on just their third lap of the session making them the only team in the 2:04 bracket for much of the session.

Their speed was also consistent, the duo putting in three more laps that would have been good enough to put them fastest. Those times fell into a half second gulf between they and MTECH’s earlier time – set by Griffin in his opening stint in the car.

While the Ginetta remained unmoved the honour of second fastest changed hands several times before Griffin took hold of it. The Invitation class GT3 Chevron was the first to take the place before both of the Aston Martins took their turns, the Beechdean car taking, then losing the place to the Cyber Racing entered car of Aston Martin Racing MD John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh, the pairing making their first appearance in the championship this year, and their first since the opening round of the 2009 season.

Gaw and Dryburgh ended the session fifth fastest, still ahead of the sister Vantage GT3 and the Chevron, but behind two other teams making their seasonal debut.

Defending champion Glynn Geddie put the Apex Motorsport McLaren MP4-12C fourth fastest, Mike Simpson leaping up to fourth fastest for Team LNT in the late going to make it two GT3 G55s in the top four.

Points leader Ashburn, sharing with Phil Keen for the weekend in the #31 Trackspeed Porsche, was just 15th fastest, with RJN Motorsport men Jann Mardenborough and Alex Buncombe two places better off in 13th.

In GT4 it was champions elect Team WFR who were fastest, three tenths faster than the Jota Mazda MX5. The Century Motorsport Ginetta G50 of Zoe Wenham, the only driver capable of depriving Team WFR’s Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes of the title was just fifth fastest in class at the start of the weekend for a race she and co-driver Dominic Evans need to win to keep her in the championship hunt.

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