Ashburn eyes Brands Hatch title chance

Avon Tyres British GT Championship leader David Ashburn stands a chance of clinching the title this coming weekend on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, venue for the penultimate meeting of the season.

The London-based veteran and Glynn Geddie, his co-driver in the Trackspeed Porsche, will need to out-point Ashburn’s only realistic rivals for the crown, the MTECH Ferrari-driving duo Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron. Ashburn currently leads Cameron and Griffin by 20 points. Only one race remains on the schedule following Brands Hatch - next month’s double-points two-hour epic at Donington Park - so if David can extend his lead to 21 points by the close of play at Brands, his tally will be unbeatable.

Ashburn and Geddie have won three races together: both Rockingham events and the Silverstone endurance race. Those successes brought them a heavy penalty in terms of success ballast, and last month at Snetterton their power-sapped Porsche struggled to keep up. With 30kg shed since then, however, their 997 GT3R ought to be a much quicker prospect next weekend. “Snetterton was a waste of time for us,” says Geddie. “Hopefully with some weight out at Brands Hatch we can settle this thing with two race wins. That’s the plan, anyway.”

Cameron and Griffin have no intention of making it easy for the Porsche duo, however. The MTECH couple have enjoyed a season of highs and lows with their Ferrari 430 Scuderia, leading the championship for much of the year after opening their campaign with twin wins at Oulton Park in April. Second-place finishes at Knockhill and Rockingham were the closest they came to the podium’s top step until last month, at Snetterton, when they put in a storming drive to win the championship’s 10th round and keep alive their title ambitions.

“We are going to push 100 per cent,” says Matt Griffin. “We may have won one race at Snetterton but we should have gone better in the other one, and that would have left us only about 12 points behind. Now we have no choice but to try to win all the races left, which I think we can do, and see what happens. If Trackspeed make no mistakes they will win the championship; it’s theirs to lose. But we will fight to the death.”

The only other driver with a mathematical chance of the title is Hector Lester. It’s a slim prospect for the Rosso Verde man, as he trails Ashburn by 32 points, but that is not to rule out Hector and his ultra-rapid co-driver Allan Simonsen from the reckoning at Brands Hatch - they were the GT3 victors there last year and are hungry to claim their first win of the 2010 season having finished second on four occasions.

Reigning champions the Jones brothers, Godfrey and David, returned to the podium at Snetterton for the first time since their twin wins at Knockhill in May. In between times their Team Preci-Spark Ascari has been beset by all manner of mechanical maladies, hopefully now cured.

Dan Brown and Tom Ferrier teamed up successfully at Snetterton to claim a win and a second for Chad Racing; at Brands they will be back with their regular driving partners, respectively Chris Hyman and Paul Warren, and looking for further honours with their Ferraris. The other Ferrari in the field - and one which will be carrying no success ballast at all - is the Predator CCTV Scuderia of Phil Burton and Adam Wilcox.

Two Aston Martins are expected, both fielded by Barwell Motorsport: one in Beechdean colours for Andrew Howard and Russian racer Leo Machitski, who, alongside Phil Quaife in the Barwell-prepared Ginetta G50Z, was the final-round victor at Brands Hatch in 2009. The other DBRS9 will be in the hands of Cadena men Paul Whight and Michael Bentwood.

The mighty Mosler of Rollcentre Racing’s Martin Short is expected in action also, Martin to be partnered on this occasion by Lotus Cup racer Steve Quick.

In the G4 class, Christian Dick and Jamie Stanley may also have an opportunity next weekend to secure the class championship for the Speedworks Motorsport team; the Ginetta G50 drivers are currently 11.5 points ahead in the race for the title.

The Piranha Motorsport Lotus pairing of Chris Bialan and Simon Mason are the most likely G4 title rivals for Dick and Stanley and their 2-Eleven has shown considerable pace on several occasions. They’ve yet to win the class, though, while Stanley and Dick have triumphed on four occasions.

Barwell Motorsport is to enter a car in the G4 division for the first time this season: a Ginetta G50 for championship debutants Julien Draper and Chris Dittmann. Former Caterham racer Draper and his co-driver are both experienced G50 Cup competitors. “They are both looking to move on in the careers to GTs and endurance racing,” said Barwell’s Chris Needell, “and the G4 class of British GT is an excellent starting point for them.”

It’s hoped that double Rockingham G4 class winners Athanasios Ladas and Michael Mallock will reunite for Brands Hatch at the wheel of the Chad Racing KTM X-Bow, while the Hetherington brothers, Freddie and Benji, will be out in the Century Motorsport Ginetta with which they scored twin class wins at Snetterton last month. Further class action will be provided by the Ginettas of Nathan Freke/Vibe Smed and the Team Osborne Racing Ginetta, which will be in the hands of championship newcomers Dean Hawkey and Jake Rattenbury.

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.

You can win tickets to the event by clicking here.

Provisional race weekend timetable:

Saturday 25 Sep: 0900-0955 & 1150-1245 practice, 1525 qualifying

Sunday 26 Sep: 1240 Round 11 (60min), 1653 Round 12 (60min)

Provisional UK TV schedule:

Sunday 10 Oct: 0730 Channel 4 & 2115 Motors TV

Full UK & Euro TV schedules:

Provisional championship standings after round 10

GT3 & Overall

1 David Ashburn 77 points

2= Matt Griffin/Duncan Cameron 57

4 Glynn Geddie 51

5 Hector Lester 45

6 Allan Simonsen 43

7 Tom Ferrier 33

8 Philip Walker 32

9= David Jones/Godfrey Jones & Alex Mortimer 30 etc

G4 Class

1= Christian Dick/Jamie Stanley 49.5

3= Rory Butcher/Benjamin Harvey 38

5= Simon Mason/Chris Bialan 32.5

7= Nathan Freke/Vibe Smed 24

9 Athanasios Ladas 22

10= Joe Osborne, Matt Bell/Rob Bell 20 etc

The Independent Cup

1 David Ashburn 84

2 Duncan Cameron 62

3 Hector Lester 51 etc

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public