Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester secured their place in the record books with victory in the opening race of the new FIA GT3 European Championship at Silverstone.

The JMB Racing duo overcame a spin on the opening lap to storm back through the field as conditions improved to secure a dramatic victory after the drying track worked against the Dodge Vipers that had looked strongest during the opening stages.

At the start, Max Mugelli led the field away in the BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9, with Lester second and Dimitris Deverikos holding third for Tech 9. However mid-way round the opening lap, the Greek driver would spin with Lester and while the Porsche would recover to stay inside the top ten, Lester was left much further down the order - leaving work to do for the rest of the race...

The duo spinning in front of the field allowed Mugelli to scamper away and open up a slender lead with paraplegic racer Gilles Duqueine giving chase in the Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper and Stefano Zonca and Andrea Ceccato in the similar machines of Racing Box in third and fourth.

However three cars expected to challenge but nowhere to be seen where the three Ascari KZ1Rs of Damax which had shown an impressive turn of pace during the weekend but were trailing round at the back well off the pace having started from the pitlane - a gamble on slick tyres not looking too clever during the opening laps of the race.

With the Viper having been viewed as the car to beat, Duqueine was soon closing in on the DBRS9 ahead and on lap three he moved the blue and silver car into the lead -Zonca and Ceccato both following him through within a matter of laps to make it a 1-2-3 for Dodge.

Behind them, Mugelli was left in fourth but he was being rapidly hauled in by a recovering Deverikos who posted the fastest lap of the race on his way past the DBRS9 into fourth on lap eight.

The Vipers continued to lead as the driver changes approached but as the track dried out, so Pouchelon and Racing Box saw their chances of victory start to disappear - with the American cars handicapped when it came to a tyre change by the fact they lacked the all important five point wheel nuts. As a result, any tyre change would take much, much longer than their rivals.

When Duqueiene pitted from the lead, Pouchelon were able to make an impressive stop to help the Frenchman from the car and get Reid installed to see the former BTCC racer emerge in second although he soon forced his way past the Viper of Marco Cioci to take the lead. However, while the two Dodge's led the way, Sean Edwards and Simonsen - having taken over from Deverikos and Lester - were closing in after switching to dry tyres on the stops.

With it only being a matter of time until the Porsche and Ferrari moved ahead, Edwards took the lead on lap 21 with Simonsen following him past and as the pair crossed the start-finish line dead level four laps later - the Ferrari moved ahead.

From there, the Dane eeked out a small advantage to secure victory by 2.3 seconds and get the JMB Racing challenge on the series off to the perfect start. Edwards still secured a fine second place while third went the way of Aaron Scott and Ben Collins in the Damax Ascari. With the gamble to start of dry tyres coming good in the closing stages, Collins was able to pass both Cioci and Reid on the final lap to steal the final podium place.

Cioci claimed fourth after muscling his way past Reid, the Scot doing all he could to make the Pouchelon car as wide as possible, with Morgan Moullin Traffort claiming fifth for SOFREV after Reid was tipped into a spin across the grass.

Although he recovered to finish sixth, Crash.net has learnt that the team has lodged an appeal into the result following the incident with Cioci on the final lap - and contact between the two on the first lap out of the pits - which will make the official results provisional until stewards deliver a decision.

Tech 9 placed two cars in the top seven as Paul van Splunteren and James Murphy claimed seventh, with Martin Rich and Piers Johnson the leading Aston Martin in eighth for Barwell.

Maxime Dumary and Oliver Bryant claimed ninth - although it should have been higher had Bryant not been knocked off track by Traffort on the final lap - while the top ten was completed by the Ceccato/Livio Viper.

The winning Lamborghini took 13th in the hands of Marius Ristkes and Juergen von Gartzen while the top Maserati was the Roberto Sperati/Andrea Palma car in 16th.