'Brave' Brown enjoys ideal debut

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The Independent Online

The first round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship saw a 17-year-old take the chequered flag in an outstanding display from Daniel Brown and his 24-year-old team-mate, Stuart Hall. The young duo enjoyed a dream start to their partnership here on Saturday, their Momo-backed Rollcentre Mosler leading the opening round all the way from pole position to chequered flag.

Brown, in his maiden British GT outing, displayed nerves of steel and skill to spare in the opening laps as he built a useful lead over his closest pursuer, veteran David Jones in the Preci Spark Ascari. "The team told me to push as hard as I could, and that's what I did," said Brown. "But I was a bit surprised to find myself as far ahead. Perhaps being a bit younger than the rest I was a bit braver on cold tyres."

Brown handed over to Hall at half-distance with a lead of 10 seconds, which Hall extended during his stint to 12sec before easing off and crossing the line 7.6sec clear of the David- and Godfrey-Jones Ascari. "It was a 'Sunday afternoon' drive for me," said Hall. "Daniel did a good job early on and handed the car over in good shape."

The Jones brothers' car finished more than half a minute clear of the Rosso Verde Ferrari of Hector Lester and Allan Simonsen. Simonsen was engaged in a huge battle in the closing laps with the Craig Wilkins and Aaron Scott ABG Viper, settled only a lap before the end when Scott struck trouble: "We lost fuel pressure and then the car just stopped," said Scott.

The Aston Martins of the Beechdean Barwell team might have finished higher but for mystery misfires which hampered their pace. The DBRS9 of Belgian duo Eddy Renard and Vincent Vosse lost fourth to the Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin Ferrari four laps from the end.

GT4 class honours looked set to go to the Ginetta G50 of Speedworks Motorsport pairing Richard Sykes and Lawrence Tomlinson. Sykes led handsomely up to the pit-stop but Tomlinson went off the road after a clash with an unsighted backmarker and into retirement, handing what initially seemed a class victory to the Ginetta of Rob Austin Racing duo Gary Simms and Hunter Abbott.

Alas for Abbott and Simms, whose car crossed the line 10 seconds ahead of the second-place GT4 finishers, Jody Firth and Nigel Moore, in another Ginetta, their victory celebrations came to an end in the scrutineering bay when an infringement of the technical rules led to their disqualification from the race.