British GT3: Flying Scots help TF Sport return to winning ways

British GT3: Flying Scots help TF Sport return to winning ways

23.06.2019: Having delivered a superb performance to earn pole position in yesterday's qualifying session, Davidson was in no mood to surrender his advantage at the start of today’s two-hour race. The TF Sport driver made a perfect getaway and promptly set about buil

Having delivered a superb performance to earn pole position in yesterday's qualifying session, Davidson was in no mood to surrender his advantage at the start of today’s two-hour race. The TF Sport driver made a perfect getaway and promptly set about building an advantage at the head of the field.

His initial pursuer was Michael Igoe who was able to keep his WPI Motorsports Lamborghini in second spot during the early stages. But challenging Davidson for the lead would be another matter entirely, as the Scot edged away to establish a three-second cushion in his #47 Aston Martin.

This became even more comfortable when Igoe hit problems and slipped back to fourth spot. Shaun Balfe moved into second, having made progress from his P4 grid slot at the start, but was some eight seconds in arrears of the leading Aston at the half-hour mark.

Balfe put on a charge, quickly setting the fastest lap up to that point and eating away at Davidson's lead over the following laps. The McLaren man was able to make particular gains as the cars moved through lapped traffic, allowing him to close to within 1.8s of the Aston as the hour approached.

This was the signal for driver changes to begin and the two leaders elected to stop at the same time. Davidson concluded a superb showing by handing over to Adam, while Balfe ended an equally impressive stint with Bell taking the wheel.

When Jonny Adam is handed a car in the lead of a British GT race, the result is rarely in doubt. That said, the presence of a Rob Bell-driven McLaren looming large in his mirrors might be among the few things capable of worrying the three-time champion.

The gap was now down to just a second and, from this point, the race developed into a game of cat and mouse. Adam was his usual self out front, delivering a cool and consistent performance in the TF Sport machine. But at no stage did Bell let up in his pursuit, with the gap only fluctuating as the leading duo carved their way through traffic.

Then, with just seven minutes left on the clock, Adam ran wide and lost time to Balfe. The gap was suddenly less than half a second as the McLaren edged closer than ever to the rear of the Aston.

But Adam was in no mood to let such a dominant team performance slip and quickly recovered to move clear on his way to the chequered flag. As well as providing a significant shot in the arm for their title hopes, the win also represented a first for the new Aston Martin Vantage in British GT as well as a record-equalling 15th for Adam, who drew level with Phil Keen in the process.

The podium was completed by the #69 Barwell Lamborghini of De Haan and Cocker.  The duo ran a relatively quiet race to come home 14s shy of the Balfe McLaren, but nevertheless edged them ever closer to the championship lead. De Haan held his grid position to run fifth by the end of the opening hour, after which Cocker gained positions during the pitstop phase and remained clear of Dennis Lind, who had taken over the WPI Lamborghini from Igoe.

The #72 Barwell Lamborghini of Adam Balon and Phil Keen completed the top-five. The first stint proved eventful for Balon, who spent much of the hour either defending from behind or attacking those ahead. Ross Gunn brought the #99 Beechdean Aston Martin home fifth, showing strongly alongside Andrew Howard as a replacement for the injured Marco Sorensen. Next across the line was the #31 JRM Bentley of Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris, with the #3 Century BMW shared by Dominic Paul and Ben Green completing the top-eight.

To add a little extra lustre to his standout weekend, Davidson's perfect race and qualifying showings earned him the Blancpain Driver of the Weekend Award. Nicki Thiim set Sunoco Fastest Lap for the second event in succession by shaving two-tenths off his previous lap record in an otherwise luckless outing for TF Sport’s other Aston.

British GT returns to action in four weeks' time with its annual away days at Spa-Francorchamps (July 20/21).

- Benjamin Franassovici, photo SRO


23.06.2019 / MaP

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