GRIFFIN, CAMERON BEGIN 2010 WITH DOUBLE
MTech enjoys a perfect start to the 2010 British GT season at Oulton Park, with Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin securing two wins.
MTech enjoyed the perfect start to the new Avon Tyres British GT Championship season at Oulton Park as Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin guided their Ferrari 430 Scuderia to two wins in Cheshire.
And in the two action-filled races, there were G4 class wins for the Speedworks Motorsport's Ginetta, driven by Christian Dick and Jamie Stanley, and for the Prestige/ABG KTM X-Bow of championship debutants Rory Butcher and Benjamin Harvey.
Cameron and Griffin survived a late-race mechanical scare to win the opening round.
The duo took control of the race 12 laps from the end when the Preci-Spark Ascari of reigning champions David and Godfrey Jones went off the road, but Cameron and Griffin saw their 34-second lead whittled away to just 15s by the closing lap - Allan Simonsen's Rosso Verde Ferrari looming large in the mirrors as Griffin nursed his car home.
"We had a broken exhaust," said Cameron. "We weren't sure where it had split, so we told Matt to slow it down. It was a very nervous final 15 minutes of the race, but we're very relieved now."
Simonsen, who took over the Rosso Verde Scuderia in sixth spot after Lester drove the opening stint, picked off rivals in the closing stages to rise to third place, and was gifted second when gremlins struck the Trackspeed Porsche of British GT rookie Siso Cunill. However, he was too far behind the MTECH car to do anything about victory.
"I was aware they had a problem but the gap was too big once I got into the car," said the Dane. "Cameron did a fantastic job in his stint. To win races we need to try a bit harder."
There was little for the Jones brothers to celebrate however. David drove a blinding first stint in the Ascari and was the last runner to pit for the driver change-over; he did so with 59 seconds in hand over Griffin, and Godfrey emerged from pit lane with the lead intact. However, disaster struck four laps later when he clouted the barrier at Druids and had to limp to the pits.
The David Ashburn/Cunill Porsche lost third to the Barwell-Cadena Aston of Paul Whight/Michael Bentwood two laps from the end and slipped to fourth on the final tour behind the United Autosports Audi of Richard Dean/Zak Brown. Fifth was some reward for Trackspeed after a particularly impressive showing from the young Spaniard.
The Predator CCTV Ferrari of Adam Wilcox and Phil Burton completed the top six. Eleven GT3s started, the GT3 Racing Viper failing to make the grid after its Saturday qualifying accident. The sole GT Cup contender, the Kinfaun Porsche of John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh, collected 11th overall after a spirited run.
There was a superb tussle for G4 class honours between the Speedworks Motorsport Ginetta of Stanley/Dick and the Prestige Car Leasing/ABG KTM X-Bow of Harvey and Butcher. Stanley built a handsome lead during the opening stint but, after the stops, Butcher whittled his way into Dick's advantage and closed it down to nothing. Butcher sliced past Dick for the class lead only to lose it next time around at Lodge.
"I kept seeing on the pit board that the gap was coming down," Dick said, "then he went to pass me and I squeezed him as much as I dared, let him go and then he made a mistake at Lodge and I got back past. I thought then that 'you can have the lead once, but not twice'."
The Piranha Motorsport Lotus 2-Eleven of Simon Mason and Chris Bialan was a strong third in class.
Cameron and Griffin then made it two out of two by winning the second round of the championship in fine style. As in race one, it was the Rosso Verde Ferrari of Lester and Simonsen which ran them closest, but not close enough.
In the G4 class, Butcher and Harvey, in their Prestige/ABG KTM, turned the tables on round one class victors Stanley and Dick to take the win.
Cameron and Griffith's second win of the day was once again a second-half feat, for it was Simonsen who made all the early running, bolting into the lead from the outset from pole position. But try as he might, Simonsen couldn't shake-off the chasing Griffin in the MTECH car. The Irishman held station on the Dane's tail, always around a second behind, all the way to his 20th lap pit stop to hand over to Cameron.
Simonsen pitted for his hand over to Lester two laps later, but as he exited the pits, he had to settle in behind the MTECH car and watch it disappear up the road and on to a 12.5-second victory.
"Two wins from two races is an unbelievable result; we're over the moon," Cameron said. "It was easier passing the Rosso Verde car than I thought it was going to be, because we didn't have to pass him on track. I don't know what went wrong with their pit stop but he came out behind me. Happy days!"
The battle for third place in GT3 was a highlight of the race. The Predator Ferrari, driven by Wilcox, held third up to its pit stop but a delay in the change-over saw it drop back to seventh by the end and the Trackspeed Porsche 911 GT3R, brilliantly driven early on by Cunill and later by Ashburn, take over in third.
Ashburn, the oldest driver in the race, was piling the pressure on Lester towards the end and narrowed the gap to 4.4s before running out of laps in which to make the podium.
Dean and Brown brought the United Autosports Audi home fourth, American Brown earning the Sunoco Driver of the Day award for his efforts at the wheel on his Oulton debut. They finished just ahead of the sister Audi of Mike Guasch and Mark Patterson, with the Paul Warren/Tom Ferrier Chad Ferrari completing the top six.
There was more hard luck for the Jones brothers, whose Preci-Spark Ascari lasted only six laps before it was halted by mechanical problems.
An eighth-place overall finish was a good reward for the GT Cup Porsche 911 of Kinfaun team-mates Gaw and Dryburgh while the G4 class once again provided some excellent entertainment, with Butcher's KTM this time the early pacesetter.
He raced away to a 30-second class lead over Dick's Speedworks Ginetta before handing over to Harvey, who did an equally good job to lose only about ten seconds to the hotly pursuing Stanley.
"I got a good start, got my head down, and handed over to Ben with a useful lead," Butcher said. "I think they only clawed back a few seconds from us in the second half, so it was a good all-round team effort."
For the second time at Oulton Park, the Piranha Lotus 2-Eleven was best of the rest in G4, Mason and Bialan filling the final podium slot.