4 July 2009
Jones brothers win Snetterton opener
David and Godfrey Jones claimed their second win of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship season at Snetterton, taking command of the ninth round during the second half of the race and holding off determined challenges from several of their rivals to win by the narrowest of margins, thus extending their championship lead.
The brothers' Preci-Spark Ascari held station during the first half of the race behind the Momo Mosler, which Daniel Brown catapulted into the lead away from pole position. On the eve of his 18th birthday, Brown showed maturity well beyond his years as he resisted challenge after challenge from David Jones.
Brown's lead at the pit stops was of the order of five seconds, but his team-mate for the weekend, Rollcentre boss Martin Short, found his hopes of maintaining that advantage disappearing along with the Mosler's engine coolant.
"The water temperature rose significantly in the pit stop," said Brown, "and then the car lost a large amount of water as it left the pits. The engine was running far too hot, causing a significant loss of power, and that really hurt us. Martin had to back right off."
Within seven laps the Ascari, now in Godfrey Jones's hands, swept past for the lead through the Esses, Godfrey spurred on by the Preci-Spark team in the pits, who warned him that the MTECH Ferrari 430 was closing in fast. Duncan Cameron had put in a superb opening stint in the car, battling with Piers Johnson in the Barwell Ginetta G50Z for third, and now Cameron's driving partner, ex-BRM F1 driver Mike Wilds, was performing similar wonders to threaten for the lead.
Wilds slipped past Short for second on the 40th of the 50 laps, but alas got it all wrong through Sear next time around and spun off.
Godfrey was to get no relief, however, as the Ginetta was now coming up fast, Olly Bryant at the helm.
"The Ginetta was catching quite quickly," said Jones. "If there had been an extra lap it would have been even harder work. We had to push hard right to the end..."
The Ascari made it to the line three-tenths clear of the Invitation Class Ginetta, with Short nursing home the Mosler for third overall and second in GT3.
The Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen Rosso Verde Ferrari made it to third in GT3 on the final lap, when the VRS Ferrari of Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox started to run out of fuel and lost ground. The VRS car managed to splutter across the line for fourth in class, still some way clear of the RPM Ford GT of Philip Walker/Michael Bentwood.
With the ABG Viper and Chad Ferrari both retiring with mechanical woes, the only other classified GT3 finishers were Andrew Howard/Jamie Smyth in the Beechdean Aston, which lost time in the pits with a clutch issue, and the Cameron/Wilds Ferrari.
The GT4 class was dominated by the Team WFR Ginetta of Jody Firth and Nigel Moore. Firth was given a good run for his money in the opening laps by Ian Stinton before pulling into a clear and unassailable lead which Moore stroked out to more than half a minute over Stinton's driving partner, Hunter Abbott, by the end.
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