Ferraris to the fore at Snetterton

Ferraris won both the Snetterton rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship yesterday, the Chad Racing car of Dan Brown and Tom Ferrier dominating the first of the day’s races and the MTECH Ferrari of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin similarly assertive in race two.

The G4 class proved a Hetherington family benefit, with the Century Motorsport Ginetta of brothers Benji and Freddie winning the class in both races.

Round 9

Brown’s return to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship victory podium, ably assisted by Ferrier, came in the first of the day’s races. Their STP-backed Ferrari led a drama-filled race almost all the way to beat the Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen Rosso Verde Ferrari to the chequered flag by 10.4 seconds.

Brown and Ferrier were paired together by Chad as a one-off because Dan’s regular driving partner, Chris Hyman, was detained elsewhere on business. The Essex 18-year-old, a double outright race winner in British GT last season, qualified the 430 Scuderia in third place on the grid on Sunday, behind the Preci-Spark Ascari of reigning champions David and Godfrey Jones, and the Martin Short/Gregor Fisken Rollcentre Mosler.

And Brown was in determined mood come the first of Bank Holiday Monday’s races: he overhauled Short for second on the opening lap and then bundled David Jones out of the lead at the Esses on lap two. Thereafter Dan drove away from his pursuers to build a lead of nearly 12 seconds by the time he pitted to hand over to Ferrier on the 22nd of the 50 laps.

Short, who had passed Jones for second on the fifth lap, stayed out on track to lead for a further eight laps in the hope of making up some time, but the Mosler exited the pits - Fisken at the wheel - in the Ferrari’s wake and was soon in arrears by in excess of 20 seconds.

Then a dramatic puncture for the MTECH Ferrari, which was running third after its pit stop with Duncan Cameron at the wheel, left tyre debris strewn down the Revett straight and the safety car was brought into play, wiping Ferrier’s lead at a stroke. If Tom was worried he need not have been: he nailed the restart and sped back into the distance to record a 10.4-second victory.

“I’m just delighted to be back on the top step again,” said Brown, “it’s been a long time. My stint went very well, I pulled a gap like the team told me, so that after I pitted Tom could keep a pace to hold the lead. It was all going to plan until the safety car appeared and threw a spanner in the works but Tom coped well with it.”

The Mosler’s grip on second place was loosened by the Predator CCTV Ferrari, driven by Adam Wilcox, six laps from the end, and then Fisken was literally bumped back down the order by the Rosso Verde Ferrari of Allan Simonsen three laps later - a move for which the Danish driver was later reprimanded and fined.

A mechanical drama for Wilcox three laps from home gifted second to Simonsen and his co-driver Hector Lester, and third to the RPM Ford GT of Philip Walker and Alex Mortimer. Championship leader David Ashburn and his co-driver Glynn Geddie placed fourth in their Trackspeed Porsche, ahead of the Paul Whight/Michael Bentwood Barwell-Cadena Aston Martin and the Rollcentre Mosler, which stopped just short of the line after losing drive.

The G4 battle was a captivating one, with the David Appleby Engineering team enjoying a promising championship debut with their Aston Martin, which ran second in class in the early laps, James Appleby at the wheel, behind the Speedworks Ginetta of Jamie Stanley.

Freddie Hetherington made his move on lap 14 to liberate second from Appleby and then took over in front, Benji at the wheel, after the pit stops. The Hetheringtons went on to lead home a Ginetta 1-2-3-4, with Nathan Freke and Vibe Smed closest behind and Joe Osborne third, sharing his G50 with Rob Brown, the elder brother of race winner Dan, who was making his championship debut. The Stanley/Christian Dick Ginetta was plagued by uneven tyre wear problems and struggled to fourth, just ahead of the Appleby/Ant Scragg Aston.

“Silverstone was really disappointing,” said Freddie. “To have led the race for so long and then to lose it in that manner, but we are really happy with that performance.” Added Benji: “Freddie brought the car in with a lead and we just pulled away from there. We’re absolutely over the moon.”

Round 10

Cameron and Griffin claimed their third race victory of the season in the second Snetterton outing, their MTECH Ferrari 430 Scuderia beating off a late challenge from the STP Ferrari of earlier race winners Brown and Ferrier.

The MTECH Ferrari led the second Snetterton race for all but four of the 100 miles, Griffin powering around the pole-sitting Predator CCTV Ferrari, driven by Adam Wilcox, into Riches corner on the opening lap to take an early lead. Though Griffin’s lead was never more than about six seconds over his pursuers, it was sufficient a gap for him to hand over to Cameron and for their Ferrari to emerge back on track still ahead.

The Ferrari in second by this stage was the Rosso Verde example, Allan Simonsen having dropped Wilcox to third on lap 13. The Dane led for two laps when Griffin pitted.

Simonsen’s co-driver Hector Lester was unable to do anything about the leader, however, and soon had his hands full coping with those intent of depriving him of second. Dan Brown was the first to go past him, Dan having battled through from sixth after taking over the car from Ferrier, whose stint had not been easy: “I really struggled with the car at first,” said Tom, “but it got better and better as the race went on.” Brown was the chief beneficiary of this late-race surge, and broke Simonsen’s hours-old lap record in his pursuit of the victor.

Cameron crossed the line 3.999s clear, his co-driver Griffin commenting: “We’ve had our ups and downs; I’m disappointed it’s been so long since we last won but it’s brilliant to come here and get on the top step of the podium and keep the championship alive.”

Lester’s third fell to Phil Burton’s Ferrari seven laps from the end, but then Burton was usurped four laps from the close by David Jones in the Preci-Spark Ascari, whose claiming of the final podium position made up a little for the team’s first-race demise through engine problems.

Martin Short charged up to fourth in the closing stages in his Mosler, ahead of the Wilcox/Burton and Simonsen/Lester Ferraris. Short’s co-driver Gregor Fisken was voted the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend for his efforts.

The success ballast being carried by the Trackspeed Porsche of championship leader David Ashburn and his co-driver Glynn Geddie told on it again; they finished ninth and out of the points behind the RPM Ford and the Craig Wilkins/Aaron Scott Viper.

Christian Dick led the way in G4 early on in his Speedworks Ginetta before having to give best to the Century car of Benji Hetherington, which went on to win the class by a handy margin. Dick’s co-driver Jamie Stanley said: “We seemed to have the same issue with the tyres again; no grip from the left front after five or six laps. It’s good to net some points though for the championship, which is still quite open.”

Nathan Freke and Vibe Smed placed third in G4, ahead of the Ant Scragg/James Appleby Aston Martin. The Reflex Ginetta entry of Peter and Matt Smith brought up the rear, as it did in the first race, and was the sole Invitation runner.

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, Snetterton 30/8/2010

Round 9, 50 laps / 97.60 miles

Overall & GT3

1 Chad Racing Ferrari Dan Brown / Tom Ferrier 1h 0m 03.222s / 97.51mph

2 Rosso Verde Ferrari Hector Lester / Allan Simonsen (DEN) +10.455s

3 RPM Ford Philip Walker / Alex Mortimer +12.173s

4 Trackspeed Porsche David Ashburn / Glynn Geddie +15.265s

5 Barwell-Cadena Aston Martin Paul Whight / Michael Bentwood +17.650s

6 Rollcentre Mosler Gregor Fisken / Martin Short 49 laps etc

G4 Class

1 Century Ginetta Benji Hetherington / Freddie Hetherington 47 laps

2 Century Ginetta Vibe Smed (DEN) / Nathan Freke 47 laps

3 Osborne Ginetta Joe Osborne / Rob Brown 47 laps

4 Speedworks Ginetta Jamie Stanley / Christian Dick 46 laps

5 Appleby Engineering Aston Martin James Appleby / Ant Scragg 46 laps

Invitation Class

1 Reflex Ginetta Peter Smith / Matt Smith 43 laps

Fastest lap: Simonsen 1m 07.894s / 103.50mph Rec

Round 10, 52 laps / 101.50 miles

Overall & GT3

1 MTECH Ferrari Duncan Cameron / Matt Griffin (IRL) 1h 0m 50.663s / 100.09mph

2 Chad Racing Ferrari Dan Brown / Tom Ferrier +3.999s

3 Preci-Spark Ascari David Jones / Godfrey Jones +20.747s

4 Rollcentre Mosler Gregor Fisken / Martin Short +27.057s

5 Predator CCTV Ferrari Phil Burton / Adam Wilcox +30.322s

6 Rosso Verde Ferrari Hector Lester / Allan Simonsen (DEN) +32.284s etc

G4 Class

1 Century Ginetta Benji Hetherington / Freddie Hetherington 49 laps

2 Speedworks Ginetta Jamie Stanley / Christian Dick 48 laps

3 Century Ginetta Vibe Smed (DEN) / Nathan Freke 48 laps

4 Appleby Engineering Aston Martin James Appleby / Ant Scragg 48 laps

Invitation Class

1 Reflex Ginetta Peter Smith / Matt Smith 47 laps

Fastest lap: Brown, 1m 07.477s / 104.14mph Rec

Full results http://bit.ly/djs9qG

Provisional championship standings

GT3 & Overall

1 David Ashburn 77 points; =2 Griffin & Cameron 57; 4 Glynn Geddie 51; 5 Lester 45; 6 Simonsen 43 etc.

G4 Class

1= Dick & Stanley 49.5; 3= Rory Butcher & Benjamin Harvey 38; 5= Simon Mason & Chris Bialan 32.5 etc

Next rounds: Brands Hatch 25/26 September

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