Crash.Net Brit GT News
Three in a row for Rollcentre
9 May 2009
Just as in both the Oulton Park races, it was a Mosler which took the chequered flag first in the opening Avon Tyres British GT Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps, but this time around it was the experienced figures of Martin Short and Gregor Fisken who took a first win of the year.
Rollcentre Racing boss Short and Fisken inherited the lead on the 13th of the 24 laps when Stuart Hall's leading Mosler was called back to the pits for a stop-and-go penalty for a technical infringement of the pit stop procedures.
But the Short/Fisken victory was anything but a lucky affair. Fisken, an old hand at Spa but new to British GT and the Mosler, held second place behind the fiercely driven Preci-Spark Ascari of David Jones for much of his opening stint, and once he was at the wheel Short pulled off a brilliant pass, diving inside Godfrey Jones in the Ascari into the Bus Stop chicane.
"There's no way we would have won had Stuart not been given the penalty," admitted Short. "He was puling away from me - I have a comfortable 50-year-old pace and Stuart has a 24-year-old's proper Le Mans driver pace. Gregor did a great job, kept us in contention, and then it was down to me to pass the Ascari. We were nose-to-tail and at the Bus Stop I put myself right where he couldn't see me, right up his backside, and just before the braking area dived to the inside expecting him to close the door, but he didn't. I think it was the easiest overtaking manoeuvre of my career."
The Short/Fisken Mosler finished six seconds clear of the Jones brothers' Ascari at the flag, with the Aaron Scott/Craig Wilkins Viper close behind for third after a solid performance by both drivers.
The Hall/Brown Mosler had an up-and-down race from the outset: 17-year-old Daniel lost ground in the opening laps, slipping to fourth behind the Ascari, its sister Mosler and the Invitation Class Ginetta G50Z, which was enjoying a superb British GT debut in the hands of Andrew Smith. Brown bounced back to second before his pit stop to hand over to Hall, and Hall duly took over in the lead when the Ascari pitted. Alas the drivers' good work was undone in the pits, their change-over deemed by race officials to have taken a second less than the minimum permitted time.
Hall rejoined fourth after taking the penalty but slipped to fifth four laps from the end when Allan Simonsen's Rosso Verde Ferrari charged past. The Dane had taken over the car from Hector Lester in tenth place, and established a new lap record on his dash through the field.
A fuel pressure problem hampered Smith's pace during his final laps in the Barwell Ginetta, and cost the car a further 30 seconds in the pits when it proved hard to restart. Oliver Bryant took over at the wheel to finish an excellent sixth.
Duncan Cameron's new Ferrari 430 Scuderia came through a troublesome debut meeting to claim sixth in GT3, aided by the efforts of the MTECH team's guest driver for the weekend, 63-year-old ex-BRM Formula 1 driver Mike Wilds.
The Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard/Jamie Smyth, the Chris Hyman/Paul Warren Ferrari 430 and the Adrian Willmott/Tom Alexander Aston completed the GT3 finishers, with the perennially unlucky Adam Wilcox/Phil Burton Ferrari halted early by a driveshaft issue.
The three-way Ginetta battle for GT4 class honours was a boisterous affair, with the Stark Racing entry of Ian Stinton/Mike Thomas holding sway for four laps ahead of the championship-leading car of Jody Firth/Nigel Moore.
Firth was then delayed by the gravel trap at Les Combes for a lap and Gary Simms was able to wrest the lead from Stinton.
Sims and the Rob Austin Racing Ginetta pitted with a handsome class lead and Hunter Abbott took over at the wheel to race on to win the class by nearly a minute.