3 August 2003
Mosler dominates at Rockingham.
The Mosler MT900R of Shaun Balfe and Jamie Derbyshire dominated the eighth round of the BRDC British GT Championship at Rockingham, entertaining a packed house of 44,000 fans.
The red-and-white Mosler won by over 20 seconds with a storming performance while, in the GT Cup class, championship leaders Patrick Pearce and Matt Griffin again set the pace to make it seven wins from eight races.
From the start, the Ultima of Jay Shepherd and Colin Blower blasted into the lead and Shepherd built an advantage of 23secs before making the scheduled pit-stop. However, the need to refuel the car meant a mandatory two-minute pit-stop and that cost them any chance of a good finish.
''It is an awfully long time to be stopped, but the car is running superbly,'' said Shepherd of the car's first race of the 2003 season.
When the car rejoined it was down in tenth place, but Blower fought back to take sixth at the flag. Meanwhile, Balfe and Derbyshire were putting in a fine performance to dominate the race.
''The car is well balanced,'' said Derbyshire after his driving stint, before Balfe took over and reeled off the remaining laps to take a resounding victory.
''This is exactly what we needed,'' said Balfe, ''This was the best way we could come back after the problems in the last three rounds.''
Having solved a clutch problem that developed on race morning, the Eclipse Motorsport team took second with Piers Johnson and Shane Lynch at the wheel of the TVR T400R.
''We knew it was going to be tough today,'' said Johnson after a strong race.
Although unable to match the pace of the Balfe Mosler, the TVR was able to stay comfortably clear of the other Mosler of Martin Short and Tom Herridge. Having dashed back from contesting the Spa 24 Hours the weekend before, Short's team never caught up in terms of car set-up for Rockingham.
''It's been like driving a bag of whelks all weekend,'' reckoned Short.
TVRs took fourth and fifth, with John Hartshorne and Graeme Mundy ahead of Gareth Evans and Steve Hyde.
In GT Cup, Pearce and Griffin dominated once more, to win by more than 20secs from the other Tech 9 Porsche of Liz Halliday and Tom Shrimpton.
''We seem to be doing everything right,'' said Griffin, ''The team does a great job.''
In the early stages, a great battled raged for third in the Cup as the VW Golf of Stuart Scott and Steve Wood battled against the Morgan Aero 8 of Neil Cunningham and Henry Taylor and the newcomer Ferrari 360 of Jim McWhirter and Martyn Sims. Gearbox problems eventually sidelined the Golf, and the Cunningham/Taylor Morgan claimed the place as the similar Morgan of Rob Wells and Keith Ahlers moved up to fourth.
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