A mighty stint from Jonathan Adam and a critical pitstop error from RJN Motorsport combined to give the Beechdean Aston Martin team victory in today’s British GT race on the Nurburgring GP circuit. It was the first win for Aston Martin’s new V12 Vantage GT3 car and Beechdean’s first win of the championship’s 2012 season.
But until very close to the end of the race, the final result looked quite different. After impressing in the wet at Oulton Park, RJN Motorsport’s Jann Mardenborough marked himself out as an absolute first-rate prospect here, leading the away from pole position and building up a signifcant cushion by the time he pitted to hand over the Nissan GT-R to co-driver Chris Buncombe. But an unfortunate miscalculation of that pitstop’s length by the team led resulted in a drive-through penalty that put the Nissan back to third by the chequered flag. Although Adam had been catching Buncombe in the closing stages, it seems unlikely he would have closed him down without the drive-through penalty.
Second place went to Michael Caine and Danielle Perfetti in the Motorbase Porsche 911. Having started fourth on the grid, Perfetti was spun at the first corner by an over-eager Jody Firth in the Team WFR Ginetta, pushing them to back of the field. But a solid recovery drive by Perfetti, coupled with a storming second stint by Caine, saw the car right in the mix in the closing stages and perfectly placed to capitalise on RJN’s misfortune.
A notable absentee from the podium was Luke Hines in the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta. Making his return to the series after a break of several years, he produced an aggressive drive off the grid to take second place from Beechdean, which he held until pitting. But co-driver George Murrells had a slow getaway from the pitbox that cost vital seconds going into the second half of the race and the car would eventually come home 18th.
Oulton Park race winners Ecurie Ecosse had another strong day, but faded slightly in the second half of the race, losing a place to Matt Griffin in the Mtech Ferrari 458, which had climbed steadily through the field from its ninth-place grid slot. The Jones brothers guided their Preci-Spark Mercedes SLS AMG to sixth, benefitting from the fallout of a battle in the early stages between Jon Minshaw in the #33 Trackspeed Porsche, Jody Firth and Charles Bateman in the sole United Autosports Audi R8.
The trio ran nose-to-tail in fifth, sixth and seventh for a number of laps, before Minshaw was passed by both his arrivals. It wasn’t over yet, though: an aggressive lunge from Bateman through the first-corner complex led to contact and a spin for Firth (the United and Team WFR cars ended up 13th and 14th). At the stops, Minshaw handed his Porsche over to Tim Harvey, who showed good pace on his way to eighth overall behind the Marco Attard/Marcel Leipert Lamborghini – the GT3 Europe team making a guest appearance at this round.
The British GT Championship’s second Nurburgring race takes place tomorrow at 8:15am UK time, 9:15am European and we’ll have live coverage on Twitter (@lendurancelive) as always.
Words: Stephen Errity
Images: Dan Bathie