First win for MTech at Silverstone
16 August 2009
Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin took their, and MTech's, first Avon Tyres British GT victory at Silverstone.
The pair led for much of the two hours and ultimately won the race by half a minute, giving the 2009-spec Ferrari 430 its first success in the series.
Cameron started the Ferrari from pole and led the opening stages from the Invitation Class Barwell Motorsport Ginetta G50Z of Piers Johnson. Cameron was able to hold off Johnson's challenge, but could not repel David Jones when the Team Pyro Preci-Spark Ascari arrived on his tail.
Jones took the lead after around 20 minutes and Craig Wilkins soon moved the ABG Motorsport Dodge Viper past Cameron as well to run second. The order remained the same, with Jones opening up a 12-second lead over Wilkins, until the pit stops.
Cameron handed over to Griffin with just under an hour to go, and two laps before Jones gave the Ascari to twin brother Godfrey. Griffin immediately set some blistering laps and was on Godfrey's tail when the Ascari emerged from the pits. Griffin swept ahead at Bridge and then paced himself to victory.
Aaron Scott, in the ABG Viper, seemed the Ascari's main threat for second and he chipped away at the gap. He was around five seconds behind when he was handed the place courtesy of a suspected gearbox failure for the Preci-Spark entry.
Jones's retirement allowed the Barwell Beechdean Aston Martin DBRS9 into third in the second half of the race. When Johnson spun the team's G50Z at Priory, the Andrew Howard/Jamie Smyth Aston became Barwell's leading runner. Howard had charged from seventh to fourth during his stint and Smyth carried on the good work. As the Aston used its tyres, however, former GT champion Alex Mortimer started closing in, at the wheel of the RPM Motorsport Ford GT that won last month's round at Donington Park.
Philip Walker started the car and was seventh when he became the first driver to make his compulsory stop. Mortimer immediately became one of the fastest drivers on the track after climbing aboard. He eventually passed the Aston with 20 minutes to go, but only just held off a charging Adam Wilcox in the VRS Equipment Finance Ferrari 430 started by Phil Burton to take the final podium place.
Smyth brought Beechdean's Aston home fifth, well clear of the recovering G50Z in which Oliver Bryant set the race's fastest lap.
Championship contender Hector Lester suffered a frustrating day in the Rosso Verde-UCB Ferrari 430 he shares with Allan Simonsen. Problems in qualifying forced Lester to start from the back and he then clashed with the Chad Racing example of Paul Warren while disputing seventh in the opening skirmishes.
The Chad machine soon retired with gearbox damage from the crash, while Lester continued for several laps with the front of the Ferrari askew. Repairs were effected when Lester pitted to hand over to Simonsen. The Dane was, as usual, one of the quickest on track when he eventually came out, but was too far back and had to settle for seventh overall and sixth in GT3.
Jody Firth all but sealed the GT4 title with another class victory, finishing eighth overall. Nigel Moore started the Team WFR Ginetta G50 and narrowly held off the similar Speedworks car of Christian Dick. Firth was then able to pull away from Dick's co-driver, Richard Sykes, to secure another win. Only co-driver Moore can mathematically stop Firth winning the title and, with the pair sharing the WFR car for the season, that seems unlikely.
The GT3 crown, however, remains wide open as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship heads for the Brands Hatch finale next month. The Ascari's problems left it classified seventh in GT3, leaving the Jones twins just one point ahead of Lester in the standings. ABG's second also means Wilkins and Scott are only another seven points further back.
The day, though, belonged to MTECH, Griffin and Cameron.
"We had everything crossed during the last half hour," said Cameron. "We were telling Matt to slow down. It's been a fantastic weekend and we've finally done it."