Having set their sights so high this year after 2002's British GT Championship success, Team Maranello Concessionaires has ended its assault on the FIA N-GT Championship disappointed but ultimately satisfied.

Entering the final round at Monza with Jamie Davies in second place behind the leading pair in the Drivers' Championship and TMC also second behind the Freisinger Porsche squad in the Teams' Classification, the Brackley-based operation knew that they had a mountain to climb.

Despite every effort to ensure the competitiveness of the team's two Ferrari 360 Modenas on race morning, the race ended with car #88 (Davies/Darren Turner) crossing the finish line in ninth position and car #89 (Kelvin Burt/Tim Mullen) not being classified.

Scoring no points meant that the German Freisinger pairing of Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb were crowned N-GT champions by finishing second in the race, and their team also secured the teams' title. Davies ended the ten-race season in third position, while TMC also took third place in the teams' classification behind Freisinger and Monza winners JMB Racing.

The race started well for both cars from fifth and eighth positions in class on the grid. Both Turner (starting in car #88) and Burt (in car #89) quickly made up ground and were running in third and fourth positions within the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately, Burt suffered a collision with a safety barrier, which meant that he had to come in to the pits for immediate repairs. Time spent in the pits repairing car #89's damage effectively ended any attempt at a points finish for second driver Mullen.

"The accident was my fault, plain and simple," stated Burt. "I made a mistake under braking and collided with the barriers. I'm disappointed for the team, as they all worked so hard this weekend to ensure that Tim and I were on the pace."

After pitting on schedule to enable Turner to hand over to Davies, car #88 suffered a starter motor failure whilst attempting to rejoin the race. With the team having no option but to push-start the car, Davies was subjected to a ten-second stop-go penalty. Further rectification work was needed during the car's second stop, thwarting Davies' efforts to attempt a challenge on the leaders.

"There's not a great deal I can say about the result today," Davies sighed, "To be let down by a component failure is just one of those things. Overall, I've learnt a lot this year and to finish third is gratifying considering this was my first year in the FIA GT Championship. I believe we have impressed a lot of people with our performance."

"The team has learnt so much this year," added Rod Benoist, TMC's team manager. "We have had a frustrating end to the Championship today, that's for sure. We were hoping to win, but we won't have disappointed anybody with our performance this year, considering we were newcomers to N-GT. We promised that we would be competitive and it's mission accomplished in that respect. We know that we have earned the respect of the organisers, the paddock and all of our publics this year."

 

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