Brit GT » 18 August 2002
Erdos and McKellar beat the rain at Oulton Park.
Thomas Erdos and Ian McKellar survived a dramatic round nine of the BRDC British GT Championship at Oulton Park this afternoon (Sunday 18 August) to win a race that was interrupted by a massive thunderstorm.
The race was halted and only re-started an hour and a half later after the debris from a six-car accident was cleared. In the second part, run over 30 minutes, it was the Saleen of Erdos/McKellar that held off the challenge of Rob Barff/Michael Caine (TVR Speed 12).
The race was only six laps old when the rain hit, leaving the section of track from Hill Top into Knickerbrook awash with water as car after car lost control.
The Saleens of Tom Herridge/Nathan Kinch and Mike Newton/Chris Maries were eliminated along with the Chrysler Viper of Steven Watson/Randolph Watkins, the GTO leading TVR Tuscan of Martin Short/Simon Pullan and the Ferrari 360 of Tim Mullen/Alan Simonsen.
''We came over the brow and the rain just dumped down. The cars lifted off the track on the water and I was sideways for 300 yards,'' said Mullen of the frightening accident. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.
Finally, 14 cars took the re-start on a wet track and it was the Lister Storm of Mike Jordan that hit trouble with a spin at Druids that cost two laps before Jordan could rejoin.
In the closing stages, the TVR got ever closer to the lead Saleen, but the margin of victory was still close to 10 seconds. ''That was a tough race for everyone,'' said Erdos. ''It was horrendous in the rain,'' he added.
Into a fine third in GT came the Steven Brady/Neil Cunningham Ultima, which caught and passed the Chrysler Viper of Peter Cook late in the race.
In the GTO category, several leading cars were eliminated in the multi-car accident when the rain arrived, and it was the Porsche 911GT3RS of Piers Masarati and Robin Liddell that swept to victory after a fierce battle with the similar car of Steve O'Rourke/Tim Sugden.
''To be honest, I had no idea where we were, but I realised that Tim was struggling with his wet tyres,'' said an elated Liddell. ''That was a really unbelievable race,'' added Masarati.
John Hartshorne and Piers Johnson turned in a fine drive to claim third in GTO in their TVR Tuscan R, while David and Godfrey Jones worked their Porsche ahead of the David Leslie/Tommy Rustad Ferrari late in the race to take fourth in GTO.
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