MSA BEC 2013 Finale at Donington Park

BEC finish (photo by Marc Waller)The British Endurance championship (BEC) headed to Donington on the 2nd November for the championship finale night race.

It was joined as usual by the Britcar Production Cup championship.

The two BEC contenders were the HPR/Scuderia Vitorria Aston Martin of Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz and the Team Parker Porsche of Ian Loggie and Chris Jones. The two cars actually race in different classes, the Aston in class 1 and the Porsche in class 2 but the overall championship in the BEC is decided over all the classes so a win in class 2 is as good as a win in class 1. Just 3 points separated them before the weekend, the Porsche having the slight lead. This meant they just had to win BEC race winner in qualifying (photo by Marc Waller)BEC Champions (photo by Marc Waller)their class to take the title whereas the Aston needed to go all out to win overall and hope that the Porsche suffered problems. It was the Mosler of Manuel Cintrano and Javier Morcillo that took the lead at the start of the two hour race with the Aston settling into second place in the darkness. The Rapier SR2 of Mike Millard had actually taken pole but he spun on the green flag lap. The seemingly luckless Millard had taken poles before this season but always missed out, retiring before the start at Rockingham. This time he fought back up to second place before spinning into the gravel as he headed down through the Craner curves. Back in class 2 The Loggie/Jones Porsche were comfortably leading and looking good for the championship with the Aston only in second in its class. But Andy Schulz knew a win was needed and was hunting down the Mosler driven by Cintrano after its final stop. There were several safety car periods during the race for various offs. The most spectacular being the Ultima of Jamie Macgregor and Damian Hudes which spun into the pitwall.

As the race reached it’s closing stages, the Mosler was still leading but the Aston was closing ever quicker. The Question was would he be able to catch and pass him in time? With 5 minutes left on the clock the Aston was still 52 seconds behind and it looked certain the Mosler would hold on. But in a dramatic turn of events the Mosler was wrong footed when lapping a back marker and spun down at the old hairpin. Cintrano got going again but he had lost enough time that the Aston has passed and Schulz crossed the line comfortably ahead. Bailey and Schulz may have won the battle in this race but with the Loggie/Jones Porsche taking another class win, they had lost the championship war! Loggie and Jones are the 2013 BEC champions! Nathan Freke and Tom Oliphant completed the podium in a Ginetta G55 that also gave them the class 3 win in the race. This was despite losing a wheel on the final lap. Benny Simonsen and Nathan Morcom took fourth in the race. GT academy graduates Florian Strauss and Lee Cuningham took fifth in the race in their Nissan 370Z having also raced in the earlier production race. (More on that later.) Champions Ian Loggie and Chris Jones took sixth overall.

That should have been the championship over with but due to discrepancies with the amount of points awarded in class 2 due to the lower number of entries the Production race winners (photo by Marc Waller)Production championship leaders (photo by Marc Waller)Light trails (photo by Marc Waller)champions are not fully confirmed as the HPR/Scuderia Vittoria team consider making an appeal. If the appeal were to be successful and the points totals changed, it would result in a championship win for the Aston pairing instead. We’ll bring you the final decision when everything is confirmed.

The Britcar production Cup championship had its penultimate round earlier in the day. Starting on a wet track, Michael Symons in the Geoff Steel run BMW M3, took his now customary lead after a short battle with the Cunningham family Seat Leon Cupra. The GT academy graduates Florian and Strauss then passed the Cunningham Seat to briefly take second before the first pitstops of the race took place. This proved to be a major turning point of the race when the Intersport BMW M3 of Adam Hayes and Kevin Clarke decided to opt for Slicks.

By now the Tom Howard BMW M3 was leading having not yet stopped. When he finally pitted to hand over to Mike Moss, Michael Symons retook the lead but Clarke was hunting him down. He eventually passed Michael Symons as the race entered it’s closing stages. With the two races at Donington mirroring each other slightly, Symons suffered a spin at the Old hairpin whilst avoiding a back marker in a similar way to the Mosler incident in the main race! This was after losing the lead however but it erased any chance of retaking the top spot and Clarke won the race by over a lap by the flag. Symons was comfortably clear of the Howard/Moss BMW M3, the German marque taking all the podium spots. Fourth were the GT Academy graduates, with two further GT academy drivers, Miguel Faisca and Stanislav Aksenov taking sixth in their Nissan. Fifth overall and splitting the Nissan’s were Anthony Wilds and Ian Lawson in their ING Sport BMW 3 series.

The Moss Howard BMW took the class 2 win as well as third overall and the Wilds Lawson BMW was the class 3 winner as well as fifth overall. Class 4 was won by regulars Ryan Cefferty and Dave Whitmore but in a Honda Civic Type R instead of the usual Mazda Mx5.

The Production cup championship battle will go to the final race at Brands Hatch on the 23rd November with the class 3 winners the ING Sport BMW currently leading the overall points battle.

Donington provided two exciting races and provisionally the BEC champion. Hopefully Brands hatch will see another exciting race for the Production Cup championship and the other champion will be crowned.  By Marc Waller

Written by