29 May 2005
Scuderia Ecosse secure double Thruxton victory.
If there is such a thing as an easy win in motorsport, then Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy secured just that with victory in the second race of the British GT meeting at Thruxton.
The duo secured the first double victory of the season for Scuderia Ecosse to further extend their lead at the top of the championship standings after more bad luck for the sister Ferrari of Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos.
At the start of the race, the two Ferrais led away on the run through Allard for the first time, but as the field approached the complex, contact between the Embassy Porsche of Ben Collins and the LNT TVR of Warren Hughes would see both cars slowed by punctures. That contact meant that Kirkaldy led from Mullen, with the second LNT car of Jonny Kane running third and the Nissan - driven by Michael Bentwood - in fourth and Tim Harvey an impressive fifth in the GT3 Porsche of Motorbase Performance, the former BTCC champion making a one-off appearance alongside Andy Britnell with Chris Stockton having other commitments.
Up front the two Ferrari's continued to lead the way but behind the order was constantly changing. Godfrey Jones and Barrie Whight, in the Eurotech Porsche and Cadena Mosler respectively, both found a way past the GT3 Porsche of Harvey and soon Whight had powered the Mosler past Jones to set about chasing down Bentwood for fourth. Although Bentwood would be able to fend off the challenge of the Cadena car, the positions would change once the driver changes had taken place.
The pit-stops also saw two other major changes, with more problems for the #34 Ferrari costing Mullen and Niarchos any chance of fighting for victory. After the first race saw the duo fail to start, Niarchos found himself unable to leave the pits after the driver change because of a problem with the starter motor, and although the team mechanics were able to push start the car, Niarchos had dropped down the order to fourth by the time he was able to rejoin.
The big winner from the stops was the Eclipse Mosler of Steve Hyde and Phil Keen which had started down in 23rd place but amazingly was up to third once Keen took over from Hyde behind the wheel, behind Kinch in the Ferrari and Andrew Thompson in the TVR.
With Gavan Kershaw charging in the Mosler, Niarchos was unable to keep his fourth place as the Cadena GTC car swept by into fourth and the GT2 battle then calmed down and appeared settled until the clock hit zero to signal the end of the hour long race.
With leader Kinch part way round his final lap, the TVR of Thompson exited the final corner with smoke pouring from a left front puncture. However, the LNT man crossed the line ahead of Kinch before parking his car on the side of the track – meaning he was set to not make the finish of the race. With no option but to continue, Thompson returned to the circuit to bring the car round to the pitlane, although both Keen and Kershaw stormed past to put the two Moslers onto the podium.
Thompson finally brought the T400R back into the pitlane, and after stopping to have a new tyre fitted, was pushed down to the timing line where he fired up the engine to cross the line in fourth place, with Niarchos fifth and Mike Jordan sixth after a strangely subdued race for the #77 Eurotech Porsche. The Embassy Porsche - which would lose more time after getting stuck in fifth gear mid-way through Collins opening stint - could only finish 13th.
In GT3, Jon Finnemore and Chris Beighton ensured it was a weekend to remember for the smaller teams in the championship by taking victory in the Team Tiger Marcos. With the Tech 9 Porsche of Piers Masarati and Dimitris Deverikos again suffering a puncture (as had been in the case in the opening race on Saturday), the Marcos came out on top of a three way battle for the class win, with Keith Ahlers bringing the race one winning Morgan home in second place with the Andy Britnell/Tim Harvey Porsche third after fading late on. Despite the problems, Deverikos would bring the Tech 9 Porsche home fourth to maintain the championship lead.
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