Ecurie Ecosse Pair Out Duel Nissan Squad To Take Victory at Spa

The victory cemented Attard (left) back in the points lead (Credit Jakob Ebrey)

Ecurie Ecosse’s Marco Attard and Alexander Sims took a second win of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, leading the grid home in the second of the series’ races at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

The race was interrupted by two safety car periods that went some way to influencing the finishing order. However, both the Ecurie Ecosse BMW and the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN run GT-R of Chris Hoy and Wolfgang Reip were the front runners throughout the race.

Starting from pole position Sims held the lead through the opening corners of the race as Reip moved from third to second at La Source, Jonny Adam forced wide and falling from second to eighth on the opening lap.

Reip followed Attard through Eau Rouge and Radillion but emerged at Les Combes with the lead ahead of Attard with Tom Onslow-Cole third in the Strata 21 Aston Martin. The shuffling of the opening lap had seen Tom Sharp move up ninth on the grid into fourth in the IDL/CWS Racing Ginetta G55 GT3. He became the head of a gargantuan train, with almost the entire GT3 field fighting for position behind.

That allowed the top three to break away, Reip starting the fifth lap 13 seconds ahead of Sharp. However, a punctured tyre on the Ginetta would pitch Sharp into a spin and high speed crash as he climbed Eau Rouge and though Sharp climbed from car unhurt the cover of the safety car was needed to recover the seriously damaged machine. The accident was a help twice over for the pack that had previously been behind Sharp.

Now led by Joe Osborne in the #88 Triple Eight Race Engineering BMW they were able to catch the lead trio as the pit window approached. With the teams starting the race with their Pro drivers at the wheel it was the almost universal choice to run a longer first stint meaning that most teams pitted only once the safety car reappeared following Derek Johnston’s crash in the #888 BMW.

The top two remained unchanged through the stops, Chris Hoy taking the Nissan over from Reip, Attard replacing Sims aboard the Ecurie Ecosse Z4 GT3. Third, however changed hands the Strata 21 Aston – in the hands of Paul White for the second half of the race dropping to fourth while Lee Mowle picked up the place in the #88 BMW, despite Osborne pitting from fifth after Toni Vilander moved the blue and white AF Corse Ferrari ahead in the period of racing between the safety car interventions.

Taking over from the Finn Yannick Mallegol was seventh when the safety car final returned to the pits behind the FF Corse Ferrari of Gary Eastwood and Beechdean AMR entries.

The race restarted inside the final ten minutes, and though only three laps of green flag running remained in the race the running order changed significantly from the final green flag to checkered flag. Attard quickly reversed the opening lap move, taking the lead from Hoy, pulling out three seconds over the Olympian who maintained second place to stand on the British GT podium for the first time.

Mowle fell from third place on the final lap. Gary Eastwood completed a late fight up from sixth and onto the podium in the closing laps while Jody Firth beat Mowle to the line to take fourth in the #12 Trackspeed Porsche started by Warren Hughes. The sister Trackspeed entry of race one winners Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen was forced to retire with suspension damage following contact.

Andrew Howard plummeted from the top ten to finish 15th to end a day that he and Jonny Adam started as championship leaders. The Strata 21 team finished sixth ahead of the #15 and #29 AF Corse entries, Pasin Lathouras and Richard Lyons taking a second top ten on the day in eighth.

John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh combined for ninth place in the PGF-Kinfaun AMR entry with Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine collecting the final point in the #4 Oman Racing Team Aston.

Jake Giddings and Ross Wylie won the GT4 class for Beechdean AMR. Wylie was given the lead after the pitstops, the team running Giddings’ opening stint one lap longer than most of their rivals, moving from fourth in class to the lead in the process. Wylie slotted in ahead of the ISSY Racing Lotus that had led the class in the hands of Gavan Kershaw through the first half of the race.

With Oz Yusef at the wheel the Evora held second place, Giddings eking out a few second in the final laps of racing. Tom Oliphant and Rick Parfitt Jr. completed the class podium for Century Motorsport, Oliphant powering from fifth to third, past James May and Andrew Jarman, on the penultimate lap.