Minassian In Class Of His Own In Silverstone Classic Group C Race

by James Charman

Nicolas Minassian ran away with victory in the extended Group C Endurance race at the 2013 Silverstone Classic.

After the Saturday evening dusk race was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, organisers decided that Sunday’s race would be run over 42 minutes, with pit stops to allow two-driver teams to incorporate a driver change.

After storming to pole position in the Jaguar XJR14, over 5 seconds ahead of the second placed Mercedes C11 of Gareth Evans, Minassian disappeared at the start, lapping at four and a half seconds faster than anyone else, eventually lapping all but second place at the drop of the chequered flag.

“That was the most fun I’ve had for a long time,” said a delighted Minassian. “It was just a pure joy to drive, I’d say it was one of the best cars I’ve ever driven. When you drive it it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a car built 22 years ago, it feels like it has been built yesterday and is ready to race at Le Mans. It’s great to see, but it’s even better to drive. I haven’t stopped smiling since we shook it down at Donington on Tuesday.”

The earliest on-track battles took place between the Nissan R90CK of Katsu Kubota and Evans for second, while Klaus Abbelen battled with Evans for fourth. Abbelen eventually passed the Mercedes, only for his Porsche 962 to be removed from the race by the similar car of Christophe D’Ansembourg.

“I’m totally disappointed,” said Sabine Schmitz, who was preparing to take over from Abbelen in the Havoline-liveried Porsche when the incident happened. “The car was in a good place and I was looking forward to joining in. These cars are expensive and moves like that are not necessary, but I guess that’s racing. If my schedule allows, I’d love to come back and try again next year.”

As the race neared its conclusion, it appeared that rain may play its part once again, but the threat soon passed and the race, thankfully, stayed dry. Kubota, however, developed a gearbox issue towards the end and fell down the order and off the podium, allowing Evans and Steve Tandy to join Minassian in the post-race celebrations.

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