As the Avon Tyres British GT Championship rolled into Rockingham last weekend, Ginetta once again dominated the GT4 class, as Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes were successful in seeing off the challenge of fellow Ginetta entrant APO Sport’s James May and Alex Osborne.
The first two-hour race of the 2012 season brought drama and action as GT3 competitor Riki Christodoulou (Team WFR Ginetta G55) made light work of those ahead, propelling his car into fifth from ninth on the grid. Christodoulou’s joy would however be short-lived after he picked up a puncture on lap eleven, re-joining after a tyre change in 21st place.
Over in GT4, Phil Glew handed over to driving partner Sailesh Bolisetti and within a lap the Indian driver was back in the pitlane with a driveshaft issue that caused a small fire in the pit lane. Around the same time the Jota Sport Mazda MX-5 retired in the hands of Owen Mildenhall from third in class. Alex Osborne, now in for May in the APO Sport car led the class with Zoe Wenham (Century Ginetta G50) narrowly ahead of Jody Fannin’s G50; a Ginetta 1-2-3 looked like it might on the cards.
Warren Hughes, Team WFR said; “A difficult race in many ways. I’ve been ill all weekend and half way into the stint I really struggled. Both Team WFR cars came in at the same time and it was a bit confusing as the team tried to service both cars at once. We then got a stop go; it was a bit frustrating watching the time tick away. I have to say that is the worst I’ve ever felt in a racing car physically.”
Pit lane infringements were minimal at Rockingham, but Century Motorsport under timed their stop and on lap 44 Zoe Wenham had to pit and take a 15 second stop-gopenalty; Jody Firth would have to complete a similar penalty some laps later.
Strange things happen in endurance races as George Murrells can testify; on lap three the young British driver’s gearstick snapped in half, but from 26th he fought back and Mike Simpson carried on Murrells’ efforts in the Optimum Motorsports prepared Ginetta G55 and by lap 63 the pair were tenth overall.
A supreme effort from Team WFR’s Jody Fannin saw the teenager take him and co-driver Hughes take their fourth victory of the year, ahead of APO Sport’s May and Osborne. Wenham took third in GT4, which sees her overtake Lotus duo Bolisetti and Glew in the points table for second place.
Jody Fannin, Team WFR (GT4 Winner) said; “I decided to go flat out and ignore the pit board. I kept pushing and pushing and suddenly I was in the lead. We then had the stop-go and luckily I came back out in the lead. The car was moving about a lot, I think the tyres had a hard time around here, but I kept it steady and took the win.”
The next round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship is in a fortnight (23rd and 24th June) at the prestigious Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent. Another two-hour race spectacular will take place before the Championship has somewhat of a summer holiday, getting underway again in early August (4th and 5th) and Snetterton in Norfolk.
Race Five Top Ten Provisional Results:
1. Steve Tandy/Joe Osborne Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R 79 laps / 2:00:31.779 / 80.68 mph
2. Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 +2.739
3. David Ashburn/Phil Keen Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R +1.612
4. Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin MTECH Ferrari 458 +0.189
5. Jann Mardenborough/Alex Buncombe RJN Motorsports Nissan GT-R +13.877
6. Jon Minshaw/Tim Harvey Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R +1.015
7. Alasdair McCaig/Oliver Bryant Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 +4.803
8. Steve Parish/Stephen Jelley Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3 R +10.348
9. Charles Bateman/Matt Bell United Autosports Audi R8 LMS +1.806
10. George Murrells/Mike Simpson Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G55 +1 lap
1. Jody Fannin/Warren Hughes Team WFR Ginetta G50 74 laps / 2:01:55.761 / 74.71 mph
3. James May/Alex Osborne APO Sport UK Ginetta G50 +1 lap
5. Zoe Wenham/Dom Evans Century Motorsport +1 lap