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Crash.Net Brit GT News

Champions start with a double

17 April 2006

Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos ensured that Scuderia Ecosse made a perfect start to the defence of its Avon Tyres British GT Championship crown with a comfortable lights-to-flags win in race two at Oulton Park.

Starting from pole position, Mullen made a perfect getaway in the Ferrari 430 and led the way as the Ferrari and the Team LNT Panoz Esperante of Tom Kimber-Smith quickly pulled away from the third placed Mosler of Ian Flux.

The car on the move during the early stages was the Eclipse Mosler of Lee Caroline which held sixth at the end of lap one before the former TVR racer battled past both Ryan Hooker in the Trackspeed Porsche and Jon Finnemore in the Team Tiger Marcos to take fourth.

From there, the battle out front calmed down, with the Ferrari and Panoz lapping almost two seconds a lap quicker than Flux, the racing veteran sitting comfortably in third, with Caroline equally comfortable in fourth.

Finnemore held fifth and the GTC class lead, with Hooker coming under increasing pressure from Phil Glew, who was producing an impressive display in the early stages at the wheel of the #17 RPM Porsche before he was forced to retire on lap 12.

With Glew out, the sister car of Alex Mortimer took third in class after Mortimer made his way past Matt Harris, who then lost a further position just a lap later when team-mate Matt Allison found space to ease past the sister Porsche.

Mullen was first of the leaders to pit, but once the driver changes had taken place, it was Niarchos who held the lead, with Luke Hines emerging just behind the Ferrari after taking over at the wheel of the Panoz from Kimber-Smith. However the former BTCC racer wasn't able to close the gap to the Ferrari and had to settle for second as Scuderia Ecosse doubled up – added race two to the victory secured in race one on Saturday.

Behind those two, it was the Eclipse Mosler that ended up taking the final place on the podium, rather than the similar Rollcentre machine as Kevin Riley was unable to match the pace of team-mate Flux and dropped down the order to eventually take the flag in sixth overall. The Jones' Porsche claimed fourth, with Beighton and Finnemore also securing a double victory but taking GTC class honours in fifth overall.

Second in GTC went the way of Trackspeed, with Jonny Lang and Matt Allison seventh overall, and the second of three Porsches entered in the race by the team taking the final podium place and eighth overall in the hands of David Ashburn and Ryan Hooker.

Ninth was the Vauxhall Monaro of Steve Hyde and Matt Griffin, Emotional Engineering putting the woes of Saturday behind them to take a solid finish with the Australian car, with Bradley Ellis and Mortimer completing the top ten in the RPM Porsche.

Race results (2) – Oulton Park (top ten):

1. Niarchos/Mullen
2. Kimber-Smith/Hines
3. Keen/Caroline
4. Jones/Jones
5. Beighton/Finnemore
6. Riley/Flux
7. Lang/Allison
8. Ashburn/Hooker
9. Hyde/Griffin
10. Ellis/Mortimer


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