Round 3 - Brands Hatch

Qualifying Report

The 30-minute session started with a dry track and with all cars on slick tyres, would prove to be a very exciting session. Olivier Bouche in the Stratton Motorsport with Immun`age and Osato # 22 car set the early pace, he was being chased hard by Phil Dryburgh in the Aston Martin Racing #1 machine and Adrian Johnson in the Adrian Johnson Racing # 14 car, Desmond Smail in the Mardis Gras # 5 car was also setting some very competitive lap times. As the majority of the grid started to pit for their driver changes it was Olivier Bouche and Pierre Mantello in car # 22 holding the provisional pole position, Phil Dryburgh and John Gaw in car # 1 second, third was Adrian Johnson and Peter Snowdon in car # 14. Paul Whight driving the # 88, Stratton motorsport with 88 racing car, moved up to third position with less than ten minutes to go then two laps later Mike Brown driving the MB Racing # 7 machine put a great lap together pushing the # 88 car down to fourth. John Gaw now driving car # 1 was putting some fantastic laps together and was really starting to put pressure on the # 22 car. With less than five minutes to go Florian Kamelger driving the # 76 Aston Martin St Gallen car took third place moving Mike Brown to fourth, it was Florian`s first time to Brands Hatch which made it an even more impressive effort. On the very last lap John Gaw took the pole position with one hundredth of a second gap over the second placed car of Olivier Bouche and Pierre Mantello. Third place went to the Aston Martin St Gallen # 76 car.

 

Race Report Part 1

Phil Dryburgh started the race in the Aston Martin Racing # 1 car leading the pack round on the green flag lap, the lights went out and Phil held the lead into Paddock Hill bend Olivier Bouche driving the Stratton Motorsports with Immun`age and Osato # 22 car was pushing Phil very hard for the lead, third was the MB Racing # 7 entry of Mike Brown. On lap 8 Pierre managed to find a way passed Phil going down the inside at Graham Hill bend, Phil had been driving a near perfect defensive line but ran slightly wide in the braking area. Mike Brown in car # 7 then started to close in on Phil in car # 1 and managed to find his way passed on lap 33 pushing Phil down to third.

The threat of rain finally turned into reality on lap 43, Tiffany Chittenden in the Stratton Motorsports # 91 car was the first to pit for round one of the mandatory pit stops handing over the driving duties to Chris Kemp. Olivier Bouche was the next to pit on lap 47 in the Stratton Motorsports with Immun`age and Osato # 22 car, he now held a 59 second lead over the rest of the field, Olivier handed over to Pierre Mantello for the second stint. Mike Brown pitted on the same lap from second place to hand over to Paul Cripps in the # 7 MB racing machine. Phil Dryburgh in the Aston Martin Racing # 1 machine was now leading and showing a very strong pace in the tricky conditions, he pitted on lap 50 but was staying in the car for the second stint.

On Lap 51 Fred Schrader driving the # 12 Stratton Motorsports car had a half spin on the exit of Clearways beaching the car right on the edge of the track. Race control made the decision to bring out the Aston Martin Rapide safety car to neutralise the situation and to recover the stricken # 12 car. As the car was so close to the edge of the track, the decision was made to take the complete field through the pit lane to create an area of safety for the marshals to remove the car. It was Fred Schrader’s first race in the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, and his very first time racing in wet conditions, as the American driver is normally used to racing his GT4 car in the Californian sunshine.

After the entire first round of pit stops had been completed it was Pierre Mantello in car # 22 leading from Paul Cripps in car # 7, Phil Dryburgh who was still driving car # 1 was now third. Tom Black in the # 24 Vantage Racing car, who was driving on his own for the 2-hour race distance, was starting to move up through the field and was now lying in fourth position. Phil Dryburgh was the first of the leading pack to pit for the second round of pit stops pitting on lap 62, he would hand over the driving duties to Aston Martin Racing’s Managing Director John Gaw for the final stint of the race. Tom Black was next to pit in car # 24, he would take on fresh tyres and lots of water, as being a solo driver around this tight and twisty Brands Hatch Indy circuit for a two-hour race is very tough both physically and mentally.

 

Race Report Part 2

Pierre Mantello in car # 22 was next to pit handing back to Olivier Bouche for the final section of the race, Pierre had shown a solid pace right through his stint meaning he still pitted from the lead. John Gaw in car #1 had been chipping away at the lead with a stunning drive putting together a run of over ten laps which were only a few tenths apart, this meant as Olivier Bouche left his pit area John took the lead of the race.

After the second round of mandatory pit stops had all been completed it was John Gaw in car # 1 leading from Olivier Bouche in car # 22 third was now Tom Black in the Vantage Racing # 24 car, Mike Brown who was now back in the MB racing # 7 car received a drive through penalty on lap 90 from Race Control for completing the teams second mandatory pit stop outside the pit window.

The news suddenly came through that the engine had not been switched off in the second mandatory pit stop for the # 22 car when refueling was taking place, this meant Olivier Bouche had to come in to the pits for a ten second stop and go penalty.

This all meant that John Gaw in the Aston Martin Racing # 1 machine now had a 55 second lead over the # 22 car and with just over ten minutes to go, looked certain to take the victory. Paul Whight who was sharing the # 88 Stratton Motorsport with 88 Racing car with Sid Sadique had moved up to fourth place, setting some very impressive lap times in the very wet conditions. Kenneth Greenberg and Andreas Kramer in the # 62 Stratton Motorsport car were also having a very good run and were now up to fifth.

Peter Snowdon driving the Adrian Johnson Racing # 14 car ran wide on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend and just caught the edge of the gravel beaching the car, Due to the car being in a dangerous position and the now torrential conditions the decision was made by Race Control to red flag the race.

All this drama meant that it was Phil Dryburgh and John Gaw in the Aston Martin Racing # 1 car who would take their maiden victory in the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain. Second were Pierre Mantello and Olivier Bouche, in the Stratton Motorsport with Immun`age and Osato # 22 car and third completing the podium positions, with a stunning solo drive was the Vantage Racing crew with Tom Black at the wheel.

As the Aston Martin Racing # 1 car of John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh was an invitational entry it actually meant that Pierre and Olivier had won three out of three for the series, Tom Black continued on his podium trail in second and Sid Sadique and Paul Whight would take their first podium in the GT4 Challenge of Great Britain. What a very exciting and eventful race!

The series will return to Brands Hatch on 14 July for the next race of the series, this time on the infamous Grand Prix circuit.

Race Result

  1. 1 Phil Dryburgh/John Gaw - Aston Martin Racing - 112 Laps
  2. 22 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche - Stratton Motorsport with Immun’age and Osato - 112 Laps
  3. 24 Tom Black-Vantage Racing - 111 Laps
  4. 88 Sid Sadique/Paul Whight - Stratton Motorsport with 88 Racing - 108 Laps
  5. 62 Kenneth Greenberg/Andreas Kramer-Stratton Motorsport - 108 Laps
  6. 91 Chris Kemp/Tiffany Chittenden-Stratton Motorsport - 108 Laps
  7. 7 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps- MB Racing - 107 Laps
  8. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough- Mardi Gras - 107 Laps
  9. 76 Andreas Baenziger/Florian Kamelger - Aston Martin St Gallen - 103 Laps
  10. 12 Fred Schrader/Paul Spires - Stratton Motorsport - 99 Laps