8 July 2001
Double success for TVR at Brands.
Michael Caine and Bobby Verdon-Roe swept to a dominant victory in the eighth round of the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, while the GTO TVR Tuscan crew of Martin Short and Rob Barff also climbed to the top of the podium.
The TVR Cerbera Speed 12 team won easily after a first-lap accident eliminated the Lister Storm of David Warnock/Mike Jordan and the Chrysler Viper of Rob Wilson/Tim Harvey, along with four other cars. The Tuscan R of Short and Barff scored a closer, and more thrilling, victory over the Porsche 911GT3RS of Kelvin Burt/Marino Franchitti, giving TVR an historic double victory for the first time.
Jordan and Warnock clinched pole position for the race, their Lister topping the times nearly three-tenths of a second faster than the Viper of Harvey and Wilson.
''We just want it to rain now,'' joked Jordan after the first session.
Typically, the afternoon session was dry, but few times were improved. Jordan, however, trimmed the Lister's best to 1min 25.547secs to underline its status as pre-race favourite. Caine's hopes of challenging for a front row grid position were thwarted by brake problems on the Speed 12.
Fourth best on its return to the championship was the Marcos LM600 of Robin Liddell/Geoff Lister.
''We've closed the gap to the top three,'' said Liddell, who was just ahead of the Porsche 911GT2 of Calum Lockie/Dave Welz.
The ten-car field represented the strongest field to date for the GT category, amidst a 31-car grid for the race, with a superb line up of 21 GTO cars. In the latter category, the TVR Tuscan R of Short/Barff set a scorching pace to head the class and take sixth fastest overall. Short turned in a stunning performance to head the GTO times, putting the Tuscan R ahead of the leading Porsches.
Three-tenths of a second slower than Short was the Porsche 911GT3RS of Kelvin Burt/Marino Franchitti. Burt set the time, but was hampered by the problem of finding a clear lap with 30 cars on the circuit. Ed Horner/Matt Turner were next up for Parr Motorsport in the team's other Porsche, while the Steve Hyde/Richard Stanton in their TVR Tuscan R, despite an exhaust problem.
The Porsches of Terry Rymer/Adam Simmons, Adam Jones/Tony Littlejohn and Mark Sumpter/Shaun Balfe were next up in GTO, although the Chrysler Viper of Curtis Hayles/Stephen Day missed the session. An engine problem that struck on the first lap of testing on Friday has forced the team to fit a new engine, which was still at the engine builder's by mid-day Saturday. The Hayles Racing team will work into the night to change the engine in time for the drivers to qualify in the untimed warm-up session on Sunday morning.
The expected race drama happened right from the start of the 60-minute event, as Warnock and Wilson battled for the lead into Paddock Hill Bend. Wilson claimed that the cars touched as he turned into the corner clearly ahead. What was clear, however, was that both cars spun and chaos erupted in the following pack as cars went all ways.
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