31 May 2009
Barwell doubles up, Brown hits front
Dan Brown propelled himself back to the top of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship points standings at Rockingham thanks to a well-judged GT3 class victory in the sixth round of the championship.
Sharing the Momo-backed Rollcentre Mosler with Gregor Fisken, Brown drove superbly to snatch the class victory from the hands of David Jones in the Preci-Spark Ascari on the final lap of the race. But the Brown/Fisken Mosler wasn't the first car over the line – that honour went once again to the Invitation Class Ginetta of Olly Bryant and Joe Osborne, which Osborne hustled past both the Mosler and the Ascari in the closing laps of the race.
Brown now leads the championship by three points from Saturday GT3 winners Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen.
Simonsen started from the pole in the Rosso Verde Ferrari, but any plans he might have had to run away and hide were scuppered by Adam Wilcox in the VRS Ferrari, who muscled his way past and into the lead at the Deene hairpin on the opening lap. Shortly after, the pack was bunched up behind the Safety Car for six laps as the smouldering remains of the Ferrari of luckless MTECH pairing Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin were removed from the track, the 430 having caught ablaze.
At the restart Simonsen wasted no time in dispatching Wilcox but, by the time he pitted on lap 21 to hand over to Lester, his lead was only around 12 seconds, not enough for the Ulsterman to have much hope of maintaining the lead.
The Rollcentre team played a cannier game, Fisken the first to pit, as soon as the opportunity arose, to hand over to Brown, who was able to climb steadily through the field as those ahead made their stops. Lester lost the lead to the Ascari on lap 24, David Jones having taken over from brother Godfrey, and on the same lap Hector was pushed back to fourth by Brown and Phil Burton, who had taken over from Wilcox.
There was a mighty tussle for the lead thereafter between Jones and Brown, the Mosler clearly having the edge in certain sections of the track. Ten laps from the end Osborne and the Barwell Ginetta joined the party, the three cars circulating as if on a short piece of elastic until, with five laps to go, Osborne dived down the Mosler's inside at the hairpin to snatch second place. Two laps later some deft out-braking saw Joe snatch the lead from the Ascari into Brook.
“It was a lunge into the last corner from a couple of lengths back,” said Osborne, who went on to take the chequered flag by a 0.6s margin. “It was a fairly easy move in the end in what had been a very hard race with a lot of overtaking.”
Osborne collected the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend award for his sterling efforts.
The drama was not yet over for, on the final lap, Brown also managed to find his way past the Ascari to snatch GT3 class honours for the third time this season.
“Dan made up a lot of time when he got out on track,” team-mate Fisken said. “I don't think the podium was ever in much doubt, but we are very pleased to take the win. He drove magnificently, picked his moment perfectly where the Ascari braked a bit late, and managed to get through. Today's win was mostly Dan's, I was just pleased to be along for the ride.”
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