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Wins for Harvey/Wilson and Franchitti/Burt

20 August 2001

Tim Harvey and Rob Wilson mastered appalling conditions at Knockhill yesterday afternoon (Sunday) to win a rain-hit Privilege Insurance British GT Championship race.

In second place overall, and having led the first half of the race, was the GTO class winning Porsche 911GT3RS of Kelvin Burt/Marino Franchitti.

GT qualifying:

Four-tenths of a second split the top three cars after qualifying for the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship at Knockhill on Saturday (18 August). At the end of the second session, the Lister Storm of Mike Jordan/David Warnock was fractionally ahead of the Chrysler Viper of Tim Harvey/Rob Wilson.

''That's a lot better than we thought it would be,'' said Jordan after taking the fight to the Viper. ''We've got a good set-up, but we're having to be a bit more circumspect than in a touring car,'' said Harvey. Initially, the Viper set the provisional pole time in the first session, but the time was disallowed due to a technical infringement, and so Harvey and Wilson had to qualify in the second session, with Harvey just unable to match the times from the earlier session.

Having been rebuilt after a major fire in testing on Friday, the TVR Cerbera was third fastest in the hands of Bobby Verdon-Roe and Michael Caine, while fourth in GT and fourth overall went to the new Stealth B6 of Terry Pudwell/Mark Pashley.

GTO category:

In GTO category, the Porsche of Marino Franchitti/Kelvin Burt set the pace in fourth slot overall. ''If it rains tomorrow (Sunday), there's every chance of a GTO car winning outright,'' reckoned Franchitti after setting the GTO pace.

Matt Turner/Ed Horner were second for Parr Motorsport, while Martin Short/Rob Barff saved their major challenge for the second session. However, track conditions in the afternoon session were generally slower and so their TVR Tuscan R stayed third in the GTO times from the other Tuscan of Richard Stanton/Steve Hyde.

The Chrysler Viper of Stephen Day/Curtis Hayles was fifth in GTO from the Porsche 911GT3RS of Mark Sumpter/Shaun Balfe.

Race: 43 laps:

With the Knockhill circuit beset by heavy rain for much of the day, the conditions were some of the worst that the championship has experienced. Just before the race, the rain increased and so race officials elected to start the race behind the safety car to allow some of the standing water to be shifted from the track.

After six laps behind the safety car, the race started for real and a brave move by Wilson took the Viper into the lead around the outside of the David Warnock/Mike Jordan Lister Storm into the first corner.

Franchitti soon had the Porsche up into second place and closed in on the Viper as the young Scot drove a brilliant race. By lap 12, Franchitti was able to take the lead by diving inside the Viper into the hairpin. As Franchitti pulled clear, Wilson settled into a safe second with the other Parr Motorsport Porsche of Matt Turner/Ed Horner in third. Less happy with the conditions was Warnock in the Lister, and he slipped down the field as the car struggled in the wet. A first lap spin had already dropped the Michael Caine/Bobby Verdon-Roe TVR Cerbera well down the order.

With 28 laps run, the safety car was back out after the Marcos LM600 of Ken Thomson was left in the hairpin gravel trap after contact with the Porsche of David Jones. Several cars headed to the pits, including Franchitti and the fourth placed TVR Tuscan R of Rob Barff/Martin Short. However, with a long train behind the safety car stretched around the track, both cars were forced to wait in the pit lane longer than they would have wished before being able to rejoin the race.

After a further seven laps of racing, the race was halted early after the Chrysler Viper of Curtis Hayles/Stephen Day was left stranded at the hairpin after a spin.

That drama left Harvey/Wilson ahead by nearly 12 seconds when the result was declared at 43 laps. Franchitti/Burt took GTO spoils and second overall, although it could easily have been a shock overall win. ''This was one we really had to win. The car has been fantastic, wet or dry,'' said Harvey.

Franchitti, meanwhile, was elated to prove his class in a stunning drive. ''It's great to show what I can do,'' said Marino after the drive of the race. The result takes them to within two points of clinching the GTO title.

Jordan managed to haul the Lister up to fourth overall, but knew that he could not challenge Harvey for victory. Points for second in GT were a relief for the Lister squad after a difficult race. Right behind the Lister was the Andy Purvis/David Leslie Marcos LM600 after an excellent race.

Turner/Horner made it a great day for Parr Motorsport by taking second in GTO, while Tim Sugden/Paul Knapfield took their best result of the season in third after Sugden drove a great stint in the rain. Hayles/Day were classified fourth in GTO, while Short/Barff were a dejected fifth, having lost what would have been a top three finish.

Results:

GT category:

1. Tim Harvey/Rob Wilson (Chrysler Viper) 43 laps in 47m26.388s
2. Mike Jordan/David Warnock (Lister Storm) 47m38.201s
3. Andy Purvis/David Leslie (Marcos LM600) 47m59.258s
4. Bobby Verdon-Roe/Michael Caine (TVR Speed 12) 42 laps

GTO category:

1. Marino Franchitti/Kelvin Burt (Porsche 911GT3RS) 47m38.201s
2. Matt Turner/Ed Horner (Porsche 911GT3RS) 48m09.519s
3. Tim Sugden/Paul Knapfield (Porsche 911GT3R) 48m20.671s
4. Curtis Hayles/Stephen Day (Chrysler Viper) 42 laps
5. Martin Short/Rob Barff (TVR Tuscan R) 42 laps
6. Richard Stanton/Steve Hyde (TVR Tuscan R) 42 laps

Provisional championship points after round ten:

GT category:

1. Warnock and Jordan, 121; 3. Verdon-Roe and Caine, 108; 5. Harvey and Wilson, 101; etc

GTO category:

1. Burt and Franchitti, 119; 3. Sumpter, Balfe, Turner and Horner, 76; etc.

Next round: Thruxton, 02 September.


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