Wednesday, 11 April 2012

British GT opening weekend review (summary)

The 2012 British GT Championship kicked off at a wet Oulton Park with two one hour races on Easter Monday.

Charles Bateman and Matt Bell's Untited Autosports Audi R8 LMS started from pole for race one and dominated most of the race. However, the pair didn't take the win, technical problems forcing them to pull off on the last lap allowed the BMW Z4 of Ecurie Ecosse to take the win on their first British GT outing in what is their first full season of competition since the 90s. In GT4, the WFR Ginetta G50 of Jody Fannin and Warren Huges was dominant, storming into the lead and holding the position until the end of the race.

The Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam struggled despite starting on the front row of the grid, going straight on at Hislops' surrendering positions. They eventually finished in ninth. electrical problems and other issues with the car hampered what looked like a promising weekend for the sole Aston Martin outfit. An off at Druids for the sole Chevrolet Corvette of Speedworks led to a safety car period. Retirement from the race for the local team after 25 of 32 laps later followed. GT Academy winner Jan Mardenborough looked promising in his first British GT race, finishing fith in the Nissan GTR he shared with Alex Buncombe. 2010 champion David Ashburn, sharing a Porsche 997 GT3 R with Richard Westbrook showed well with a fourth place finish and fastest lap of the race. the Ferrari 458s were alsop strong with the Rosso Verde 458 of Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester finishing second and the Mtech 458 of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin coming home in third.

Race 2 began even wetter than race 1 with Richard Westbrook leading from the off. As with the United Autosports Audi in race one, Westbrook and Ashburn's Porsche dominated from pole, but unlike the Audi in race 1, the Trackspeed Porsche was able to go that little bit further and take the victory. Fastest lap was taken by Allan Simonsen in the Rosso Verde Ferrari but they were unable to challenge for a podium position after a spin from Hector Lester later int he race. Beechdean again had trouble with Jonny adam letting by the Rosso Verde Ferrari and the Mtech machine of Matt Griffin early on.

Westbrook's lead was reduced during the pit window, leading him and the Rosso Verde and Mtech Ferraris to pit. Despite Simonsen's fastest lap cutting down Westbrook's lead, the Porshe stayed ahead after David Ashburn took the wheel and kept the lead until the end. Despite starting from near the back of the field, the Audi of Matt Bell and Charles Bateman again showed fantastic pace, carving up the field and finishing in 5th place. Race one winners Ecurie Ecosse finished 10th with their BMW Z4.

In GT4, Warren Hughes and Jody Fannin again took the win with Phil Glew and Sailesh Bolisetti finishing in second (as they did in race one). Century Motorsport's tough weekend ended well with a 3rd place finish ing GT4 for Mike Simpson and Zoe Wenham.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

British F3 Oulton Park, Easter weekend, 2012 - PICTURE SPECIAL

The British F3 Championship kicked off at it's traditional Easter weekend slot at Oulton Park with 3 races on the Saturday.

Carlin driver Jack Harvey took pole for races one and three after setting 3 laps faster than everyone else in the Friday qualifying session. Carlin locked out the top 5 places on the grid with only Fortec's Alex Lynn preventing Pietro Fantin from making it an all Carlin top 6.

In race one, Harvey took off at the start and was never troubled for the lead, dominating from start to finish. Team mate Jazeman Jaafar got the jump of front row starter Harry Tinknell at the first corner and held onto the lead 'til the end. Carlos Sainz Jr. then put pressure on Tinknell, forcing him into an error midway through the race, with the Red Bull backed driver snatching third. It was still a Carlin 1-2-3-4 however and that was how it was going to stay. Fortec's Alex Lynn applied pressure on Tinknell but could not take his position and came home in fifth, loosing out to fourth by just 0.05 seconds. There was action on the last lap with Felix Serralles, Pietro Fantin and Pipo Derani all recovering from  incidents on the first lap, Australian Nick McBride, racing in the only Nissan powered car defended against moves from Derani until the last lap when they both spun after a comming together.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car                   Time/Gap
 1.  Jack Harvey           Carlin Dallara-VW        31m35.051s
 2.  Jazeman Jaafar        Carlin Dallara-VW          + 7.736s
 3.  Carlos Sainz Jr       Carlin Dallara-VW         + 11.165s
 4.  Harry Tincknell       Carlin Dallara-VW         + 23.070s
 5.  Alex Lynn             Fortec Dallara-Merc       + 23.119s
 6.  Fahmi Ilyas           Double R Dallara-Merc     + 37.052s
 7.  Felix Serralles       Fortec Dallara-Merc       + 39.354s
 8.  Pietro Fantin         Carlin Dallara-VW         + 42.102s
 9.  Pipo Derani           Fortec Dallara-Merc       + 53.068s
10.  Nick McBride          T-Sport Dallara-Nissan    + 54.727s
11.  Spike Goddard         T-Sport Dallara-Mugen   + 1m05.418s
12.  Duvashen Padayachee   Double R Dallara-Mugen      + 1 lap


     Hannes van Asseldonk  Fortec Dallara-Merc         18 laps
     Geoff Uhrhane         Double R Dallara-Mugen       4 laps

Race two saw Double R's Duvashen Padayachee start from pole thanks to the reverse grid draw. He lost the lead almost immediatley with National class driver 'Spike' Goddard taking it. However, drving an older spec car, he wasn't expected to hang onto the lead for long. Pipo Derani drving the latest Dallara F312 for Fortec made a move on Goddard going into Lodge - with 2 wheels on the grass! Australian Nick McBride then jumped up to second in his T-Sport prepared, Nissan powered car before an excursion onto the grass dropped him out of the top 10. Carlin drivers Pietro Fantin and Jazeman Jaafar moved up to the top 3 but didn't look like troubling Derani for the lead. However, a safety car period changed this, bunching up the field. The safety car went in with one lap to go and Pipo Derani faceda one lap sprint pressurised by the 2 Carlin drivers but was able to hold on for the win

Pos  Driver                Team/Car                  Time/Gap
 1.  Pipo Derani           Fortec Dallara-Merc     20m31.214s
 2.  Pietro Fantin         Carlin Dallara-VW         + 0.850s
 3.  Jazeman Jaafar        Carlin Dallara-VW         + 1.491s
 4.  Harry Tincknell       Carlin Dallara-VW         + 2.693s
 5.  Carlos Sainz Jr       Carlin Dallara-VW         + 3.079s
 6.  Jack Harvey           Carlin Dallara-VW         + 3.511s
 7.  Felix Serralles       Fortec Dallara-Merc       + 3.594s
 8.  Hannes van Asseldonk  Fortec Dallara-Merc       + 3.952s
 9.  Spike Goddard         T-Sport Dallara-Mugen     + 6.705s
10.  Geoff Uhrhane         Double R Dallara-Merc     + 7.911s
11.  Nick McBride          T-Sport Dallara-Nissan    + 8.823s
12.  Duvashen Padayachee   Double R Dallara-Mugen    + 9.633s


     Fahmi Ilyas           Double R Dallara-Merc      11 laps
     Alex Lynn             Fortec Dallara-Merc         6 laps

Race three once again saw Jack Harvey start from pole but unlike his domination of race one, he was overtaken before the first corner by Puerto Rican Felix Serralles who started from second. Harvey fought back in the first few laps but Seralles held on and later extended the gap to 2 seconds, taking the win. Harvey finished ahead of Carlin team mates Harry Tincknell, Carlos Sainz Jr and Jazeman. Jaafar held off Fortec's Alex Lynn who seperated the Carlin drivers, finishing ahead of Pietro Fantin. Despite the win for Serralles and Lynn's sixth place, Fortec's race was far from perfect with both of the races retirements being Fortec drivers. Fortec were the only team to have a retirement in every race of the weekend. 'Spike' Goddard took the win in the National Class, taking the National Class victory in all 3 races. Jack Harvey leads the championship after a strong weekend at Oulton Park.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car                   Time/Gap
 1.  Felix Serralles       Fortec Dallara-Merc      40m34.462s
 2.  Jack Harvey           Carlin Dallara-VW          + 2.843s
 3.  Harry Tincknell       Carlin Dallara-VW          + 9.303s
 4.  Carlos Sainz Jr       Carlin Dallara-VW         + 12.522s
 5.  Jazeman Jaafar        Carlin Dallara-VW         + 22.392s
 6.  Alex Lynn             Fortec Dallara-Merc       + 23.632s
 7.  Pietro Fantin         Carlin Dallara-VW         + 24.348s
 8.  Fahmi Ilyas           Double R Dallara-Merc     + 41.523s
 9.  Nick McBride          T-Sport Dallara-Nissan    + 58.214s
10.  Geoff Uhrhane         Double R Dallara-Merc   + 1m09.723s
11.  Spike Goddard         T-Sport Dallara-Mugen   + 1m10.331s
12.  Duvashen Padayachee   Double R Dallara-Mugen  + 1m30.255s


     Hannes van Asseldonk  Fortec Dallara-Merc          5 laps
     Pipo Derani           Fortec Dallara-Merc          0 laps


Interview with WTCC racer James Nash

WTCC Star and one of Britain's top racing drivers, James Nash, took time out of his busy schedule to do a quick interview for DW motorsport.