Wins for Harvey/Wilson and Franchitti/Burt
17 September 2001
Tim Harvey and Rob Wilson took a commanding win in the 12th and penultimate round of the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship round at Brands Hatch yesterday afternoon (Sunday 16 September). However, a safe second place for David Warnock and Mike Jordan was more than enough to clinch the overall championship title for the Lister Storm pairing.
In GTO, Kelvin Burt and Marino Franchitti took another victory, but only after a race-long battle with the TVR Tuscan R of Martin Short and Rob Barff.
It was Chrysler Viper versus Lister Storm at Brands Hatch in qualifying for the penultimate round of the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship on Saturday 15 September.
With Rob Wilson off qualifying for one of the races at Goodwood this weekend, Tim Harvey had the Viper to himself for the first session and just grabbed pole position. Wilson arrived at Brands for the afternoon qualifying session, which proved to be generally slower than the morning session.
A whisker behind the Viper was the Lister Storm of Mike Jordan/David Warnock. Having hit electrical problems in testing on Friday, the team has switched cars for the weekend, but Jordan was right on the pace. ''All the Listers are very, very close,'' reported Mike after the first session. Also in a different car for the weekend was the TVR crew of Bobby Verdon-Roe/Michael Caine, just two tenths of a second behind the Lister.
In GTO, the leading cars were superbly quick and took fourth and fifth places overall on the time sheets. Marino Franchitti/Kelvin Burt set the pace in their Porsche 911GT3RS, but the TVR Tuscan R of Martin Short/Rob Barff was less than two tenths of a second slower.
Third best in GTO, but split from the two top cars by three GT cars, was the Porsche of Terry Rymer/Adam Simmons, which headed a group of seven GTO cars covered by only half a second. Despite having a major gearbox problem, the Porsche of Matt Turner/Ed Horner took fourth. Horner had been going for a top two time when the gearbox seized at Clearways and the car spun.
Missing from the grid was the Dave Welz Porsche 911GT2 after a shunt in testing and the Lotus Esprit of Rob Croydon, which broke its crank in testing. In the first qualifying session, the Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 911GT2 of Stephen Stokoe/Charlie Cox was damaged at the rear after spinning into the tyre wall at Clearways. The team had the car rebuilt in time for the warm-up session on Sunday morning.
Race: 74 laps:
Mike Jordan and David Warnock clinched the British GT title at Brands Hatch yesterday by finishing second to the Chrysler Viper of Rob Wilson/Tim Harvey. Second place was more than enough to settle the title for the Lister Storm duo.
With 26 GT cars racing for a total of 74 laps around the Brands Indy circuit, it was always going to be a hectic race and the spectacle of the cars away from the rolling start was stunning.
Immediately, Wilson fired the Viper into the lead from the TVR Speed 12 of Michael Caine as Warnock made a careful start and dropped behind the leading GTO cars. ''We just had our plan to stay out of trouble and bring the car home,'' said Warnock, knowing that fourth place in GT was all they needed to clinch the title.
Up front, Wilson pulled away and when a safety car period car just as the pit stop window opened, most cars dived for the pits. A rapid stop by the TVR crew put Bobby Verdon-Roe out ahead of Harvey and when racing resumed, the TVR led the field into Paddock. However, a spin at the bottom of the hill cost Verdon-Roe any chance of challenging and the TVR then lost several laps with a pit stop to replace a punctured tyre.
That left Harvey well out front and he steered a clean path through the backmarkers to take a commanding win. ''We attacked all the way along,'' said Wilson. Jordan, meanwhile, was content that a safe second was more than they needed for the title. Into third and fourth in GT came the pair of NCK Marcos LM600s after strong drives. The Andy Purvis/Phil Bennett car ended the race four seconds up on the Paul Stephens/Gerry Taylor car.
In the GTO class, Kelvin Burt/Marino Franchitti took another win, despite a fierce chase by the TVR Tuscan R of Martin Short/Rob Barff.
Franchitti and Barff battled hard in the opening stages, with the TVR leading for many laps until the Porsche slipped ahead. After the pit stops, the battle continued with Short mounting a relentless pursuit of Burt. Late in the race, delays caused by backmarkers just cost Short the chance for a final attack.
The second Parr Motorsport entry of Matt Turner/Ed Horner worked through to third in GTO from the Harlow Motorsport car of Robert Babikan/Neil Cunningham. Out of the race after a spin at Druids went the TVR Tuscan R of Steve Hyde/Richard Stanton, while the Chrysler Viper of Curtis Hayles/Stephen Day went off at Clearways after a tangle with Barff. The removal of the Viper was the cause of the safety car.
The results of the race remain provisional pending the outcome of several judicial issues.
1 Rob Wilson/Tim Harvey (Chrysler Viper) 60m37.532s
2 David Warnock/Mike Jordan (Lister Storm) 60m59.922s
3 Andy Purvis/Phil Bennett (Marcos LM600) 72 laps
4 Paul Stephens/Gerry Taylor (Marcos LM600) 72 laps
1 Kelvin Burt/Marino Franchitti (Porsche 911GT3RS) 61m17.328s
2 Rob Barff/Martin Short (TVR Tuscan R) 61m19.144s
3 Matt Turner/Ed Horner (Porsche 911GT3RS) 73 laps
4 Robert Babikan/Neil Cunningham (Porsche 911GT3R) 72 laps
Provisional championship points after round twelve:
1 Warnock and Jordan, 148; 3 Harvey and Wilson, 128; 5 Verdon-Roe and Caine, 113; etc.
1 Burt and Franchitti, 149; 3, Turner and Horner, 98; 5 Sumpter and Balfe, 87; etc.
Final round: Silverstone, 29 September.