British GT ready to Rockingham as title hots up

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The Independent Online

With three different winners in the first four races, and just a single point separating the top eight drivers, this season's Avon Tyres British GT Championship is shaping up to be one of the closest fought in years. Saturday and Sunday sees the series take to the superfast Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire for rounds five and six.

The season kicked off at Oulton Park last month with twin wins for the youngest driver pairing in the championship: 17-year-old Daniel Brown and 24-year-old Stuart Hall, in their Mosler. The duo started both Oulton races from pole, led the first all the way and the second from the pit stops onward.

Hall and Brown went to Spa-Francorchamps earlier this month as favourites to repeat the feat, but it was not to be. A pit stop rules infringement earned them a penalty in the first Spa race, and then they were sidelined from race two with mechanical problems. They find themselves a point off the championship lead as they head to Rockingham to try to regain the advantage.

A Mosler did win round three at Spa, but it was the sister car Martin Short and his new driving partner Gregor Fisken, who enjoyed a dream debut in British GT.

Spa race two brought a popular maiden win for Midlands-based racers Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins and their ABG Viper. Scott delivered the car to Wilkins in third place, after an impeccable drive, and the impressive Wilkins then passed both Fisken and, with a lap in hand, the Allan Simonsen/Hector Lester Rosso Verde Ferrari (with Lester at the wheel) to snatch the win.

As a result Scott and Wilkins have a one-point championship advantage over a whole gaggle of drivers pursuing them for title honours. Rockingham proved a successful circuit for the Viper last year – eventual champions Jon Barnes and James Gornall took one win in their Dodge, Steve Clark and Paul O'Neil the other in theirs – so Scott and Wilkins will be out to build that championship lead.

"This should be a good round for us," says Scott. "We didn't go too well there last year but that was before we as a team had really got our heads around the Viper. Now that we have, I would expect the car to be reasonably well suited to Rockingham."

"I think the Ferrari and the Mosler will be our main opposition, and it should be fairly tight with the Ascari also. We are going to need to be on the case because I imagine it will be very close. We're looking forward to it and we are well prepared."