Ashburn claims British GT crown

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The Independent Online

David Ashburn is the 2010 Avon Tyres British GT Champion. The 63-year-old Londoner - aided by his Trackspeed Porsche team-mate Glynn Geddie - collected a win and a fifth place finish in Sunday’s penultimate meeting of the championship season at Brands Hatch to gain sufficient points to put the title beyond the reach of any of his rivals.

The G4 class championship was settled yesterday also: Christian Dick and Jamie Stanley claimed a brace of podium finishes for Speedworks Motorsport in their Ginetta to lift the title.

The newly crowned Ashburn, who now has four race wins under his belt, paid tribute to the drivers who have shared his Porsche and aided his title bid: “I’d like to thank Siso Cunill, Richard Westbrook and, most of all, Glynn Geddie, without whose help during the year I would not be in this position now. The whole team has been fantastic. It’s been a great season for me and I’m delighted.”

Round 11

Geddie and Ashburn claimed their fourth race victory of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship season in the first Brands Hatch race, leading home their team-mates Philip Walker and Richard Westbrook for a Trackspeed Porsche 1-2. The Hetherington brothers, Freddie and Benji, were the G4 class winners in their Century Motorsport Ginetta.

It was a bruising race for many teams, with some cars failing to make the grid after problems in qualifying, a couple eliminated by accidents and several suffering mechanical problems. Among the notable casualties were the Ferrari 430 Scuderias of Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen and Chris Hyman/Dan Brown, which were in collision at Clark Curve on the second lap and which were too badly damaged to take any further part in the weekend.

Andrew Howard’s Beechdean-Barwell Aston Martin led the early laps, through and beyond the safety car period caused by the Lester/Hyman collision. Howard had been gifted a sort of pole position, as the front row cars of Ashburn and David Jones had to start from pit lane after missing the pre-race pit exit deadline.

Howard, pursued by Duncan Cameron’s MTECH Ferrari until it slipped back with a suspected wheel problem, led up to the pit stops, whereupon the Preci-Spark Ascari took over in front, Godfrey Jones at the wheel for the final stretch. Jones held on to the lead for nine laps until a suspension problem brought the Ascari to a halt, handing the lead to Geddie, who had taken over at the wheel of the Trackspeed Porsche in fourth and who had battled up the order thereafter.

With one Ferrari, that of Archie Hamilton and Ryan Lewis, lost in a qualifying shunt, and the Hyman/Brown car out also, Chad Racing looked to Paul Warren and Tom Ferrier to fly the flag. That they did, Ferrier hauling the 430 Scuderia up to second before being called to the pits to serve a penalty for an infringement during the driver change. Alas a hole in the radiator was spotted in the second pit visit and the car retired.

The Phil Burton/Adam Wilcox Ferrari was another called in for a penalty, dropping it from second - and the likely leader following the Ascari’s demise - to fourth at the flag.

Geddie enjoyed a 10-lap stint in the lead and crossed the line 0.356s ahead of the sister car of Westbrook. Third place was snatched from Matt Griffin’s grasp on the final lap when gearbox and tyre troubles hobbled the MTECH Ferrari’s pace; he limped the car home sixth. The Barwell-Cadena Aston of Paul Whight and Michael Bentwood inherited third.

The Barwell Motorsport Ginetta of championship newcomers Julien Draper and Daniel Lloyd led the way in G4 in the early stages of the race, pursued by the Speedworks duo Christian Dick and Jamie Stanley, whose hopes of another class win were dashed by a stop/go penalty for an alleged pit stop infringement.

Sixteen laps from the end, the Hetheringtons’ Century Ginetta, started by Freddie and driven to the flag by Benji, took over at the head of the G4 field and went on to record the brothers’ third consecutive class win. Dick and Stanley recovered from their enforced stop to take second ahead of Lloyd/Draper and the Vibe Smed/Nathan Freke Ginetta. Another debutant pairing, Jake Rattenbury and Dean Hawkey, were fifth in their Osborne Racing Ginetta.

Round 12

With the field depleted by the accidents of the day’s earlier event, the prospects for another exciting race were further damaged by torrential rain. In the event, it was a thriller. Adam Wilcox powered the Predator CCTV Ferrari into the lead on the opening lap, hotly pursued by the Aston Martin of Michael Bentwood early on before Godfrey Jones hustled the Ascari up to second on the sixth lap. Jones spent six laps trying to find a way past and into the lead before opting instead for an early pit call to hand over to his brother David.

Westbrook, who had started from the back in the Trackspeed Porsche after missing qualifying through racing commitments in Germany, fought through the spray to climb the order and eventually to lead on the 16th lap. Westbrook enjoyed two laps in the limelight before pitting under the safety car to hand over to Philip Walker, the team taking advantage of a safety car period to effect the switch.

The top four cars all pitted together, with the Ferrier/Warren Chad Ferrari exiting the pits ahead of the rest and getting the better of things at the restart to fight off a challenge from Phil Burton’s Ferrari. David Jones enjoyed a brilliant restart also, hustling the Ascari up to third, past the Ashburn and Walker Porsches, before launching past the Burton and Warren Ferraris next lap to snatch the lead.

“We changed over early,” said David, “because Godfrey was bunched up with the others and we thought it would be good to get some clear air. But then of course came the safety car, so then we were last again. It was a case then of having to get through a very hectic field.” The nimble Preci-Spark Ascari legged it away from its pursuers in the closing laps to record a 10-second victory, the brothers’ third of what has been a mechanically frustrating season.

Paul Warren drove well to claim second and his best result of the year in the Chad Ferrari started by Ferrier. Champion elect Ashburn was following him home for third when he dropped the Porsche four laps from the end and lost two slots. Philip Walker snatched third on the final lap with a controversial move on Burton’s Ferrari at the Druids hairpin, which resulted in Phil taking a lengthy drive through the gravel trap before regaining the track and fourth place.

In G4, the five-Ginetta battle became a three-way duel with the demise of Vibe Smed’s car, which was bashed into submission at the restart by several impatient pursuers, and that of Jake Rattenbury, which ran out of road at Paddock Hill Bend and hit the barriers.

A gearbox problem hampered the pace of the Dick/Stanley G50, and they had to be content with nursing the car home for third in class to secure the points required to net the class championship title. “We were never going to push really hard,” said Christian, “because we just needed a few points. Then literally on the last lap of my stint I heard a growl from the gearbox and I knew that we would face an uphill battle to get to the finish. Jamie did everything necessary to nurse the car to the finish.” Added Stanley: “We got the points we needed, it’s all done and dusted, and we can relax a bit for the final round.”

Underlining their impressive championship debut pace in the day’s first race, Julien Draper and Daniel Lloyd took the class win in the Barwell Ginetta, ahead of Freddie and Benji Hetherington.

British GT is sponsored by UK tyre manufacturer Avon Tyres and is further supported by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and The Independent.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship

Provisional results, Brands Hatch 26/9/2010

Round 11, 38 laps / 87.43 miles

Overall & GT3

1 Trackspeed Porsche David Ashburn / Glynn Geddie 1h 0m 11.322s / 87.25mph

2 Trackspeed Porsche Philip Walker / Richard Westbrook +0.356s

3 Barwell-Cadena Aston Martin Paul Whight / Michael Bentwood +17.309s

4 Predator CCTV Ferrari Phil Burton / Adam Wilcox +25.161s

5 Barwell-Beechdean Aston Martin Andrew Howard / Leo Machitski (RUS) +50.945s

6 MTECH Ferrari Duncan Cameron / Matt Griffin (IRL) +1m 27.647s

G4 Class

1 Century Ginetta Benji Hetherington / Freddie Hetherington 36 laps

2 Speedworks Ginetta Jamie Stanley / Christian Dick 36 laps

3 Barwell Motorsport Ginetta Julien Draper / Daniel Lloyd 36 laps

4 Century Ginetta Vibe Smed (DEN) / Nathan Freke 36 laps

5 Team Osborne Racing Ginetta Dean Hawkey / Jake Rattenbury 36 laps

Fastest lap: Griffin 1m 28.456s / 93.64mph

Round 12, 32 laps / 73.63 miles

Overall & GT3

1 Preci-Spark Ascari David Jones / Godfrey Jones 1h 0m 21.244s / 73.28mph

2 Chad Racing Ferrari Paul Warren / Tom Ferrier +10.152s

3 Trackspeed Porsche Philip Walker / Richard Westbrook +16.191s

4 Predator CCTV Ferrari Phil Burton / Adam Wilcox +28.009s

5 Trackspeed Porsche David Ashburn / Glynn Geddie +34.032s

6 MTECH Ferrari Duncan Cameron / Matt Griffin (IRL) 31 laps

G4 Class

1 Barwell Motorsport Ginetta Julien Draper / Daniel Lloyd 31 laps

2 Century Ginetta Benji Hetherington / Freddie Hetherington 31 laps

3 Speedworks Ginetta Jamie Stanley / Christian Dick 29 laps

Fastest lap: Ferrier 1m 40.111s / 82.73mph

For full results click here

Provisional championship placings

Overall & GT3

1 Ashburn 91 points; 2 Geddie 65; =3 Cameron & Griffin 63; 5 Walker 46; 6 Hector Lester 45 etc

G4 Class

=1 Dick & Stanley 60.5; =3 Rory Butcher & Benjamin Harvey 38; =5 Simon Mason & Chris Bialan 32.5 etc

Final round: Donington Park, 16 October