3 April 2004
Jordan, Sumpter take round one victory .
Mike Jordan and Mark Sumpter took a dominant victory in round one of the new-look British GT Championship at Donington Park, while Peter Kox overcame intense pressure from Tim Sugden to take second spot for himself and Ian Khan. Phil Hindley and Jonathan Rowland took victory in the dailysportscar.com Cup class.
At the start of the one-hour race, Jordan blasted away into a huge lead, to head Neil Cunningham in the Embassy Racing Corvette in tricky conditions that had plagued the first day of action. However, as the track started to dry out and those drivers on intermediate tyres began to dominate, Cunningham soon dropped back, and Jordan's team-mate David Jones soon reeled the Australian in, before moving into the lead before the pit-stop window opened. Jones pitted early to hand over to his brother, Godfrey, before Jordan swapped places with Sumpter.
Ian Khan inherited the lead in his Porsche 911 GT3RS and stayed out longer than most before handing over to Peter Kox. This promoted the Jones' back into the lead, with Sumpter giving chase. However, a possible JW Racing 1-2 was ended when Sumpter saw a gap and went to pass Jones at Coppice and tapped him into a spin. A puncture and necessary pit-stop saw the Jones car drop to fifth.
Shaun Balfe held third place in his Mosler for a handful of laps, before Kox and a hard charging Tim Sugden caught and passed him. Kox then held off the former series champion to take second place.
“Everything went really well and it is a great result," Jordan, who contested last year's FIA GT Championship, commented, "It's a bit frustrating as we could have had a 1-2 for the team, but it has been so long since me and Mark has won a race, and it feels great. It is definitely going to be a hard season though.”
The Jones brothers' Porsche recovered to finish fifth overall, sandwiched between the Balfe Mosler and that piloted by Richard Stanton and another FIA GT refugee, Bobby Verdon-Roe. The first of the Scuderia Ecosse Ferraris - driven by Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy was seventh, ahead of the leading Cup Class cars.
In the dailysportscar.com-backed junior class, it looked like the race win would go to Barrie Whight and Gavin Kershaw in their Lotus Elise, but a spin in the closing stages meant that Phil Hindley was able to close the gap and, eventually, take the lead. Adam Wilcox and Ni Amorim were also able to sneak past the Lotus to take second place.
“Jonathan did a great job at the start to keep his head on slicks," Hindley said of Gruppe 9 team-mate Jonathan Rowland, "We knew that intermediates would be the best option, but we didn't have any! We had to slither around for a while, but everything went our way at the end.”
Race two is scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon [4 April].
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