Trackspeed’s Ashburn and Tandy win on their return to British GT

Race start (Photo by Marc Waller)Trackspeed have won an entertaining race at Brands Hatch narrowly missing out on a 1-2 finish when sister car of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen suffered a puncture late on in the race while leading.

David Ashburn and Nick Tandy only entered this race when the team’s previous drivers, Warren Hughes and Jody Firth changed to a 888 BMW Z4 GT3 leaving the car vacant for team boss Ashbrun and Porsche ace Tandy to take over. Phil Keen had led much of the race after a quick pitstop enabled them to leapfrog early race leaders Amad Al Harthy and Micheal Caine of Oman Racing. The puncture came with minutes to go and Keen pitted to have the wheel replaced. Fortunately there was little other damage so the car rejoined quickly and salvaged ninth. Al Harthy took the lead at the start from pole sitters Beachdean with Minshaw following through in the Porsche. Andrew Howard then struck trouble and the team made several pitstops putting them out of contention. The Eccurie Eccose BMW looked to be in contention early on but as expected it’s 30 second “success penalty” at the pitstops prevented them from challenging for a podium but they managed to sneak fourth.

After the pitstops the race became a battle between the two Trackspeed Porsches and the two Oman Astons. Caine in the Aston however, could do nothing about Keen in the Porsche and he began to pull away. Meanwhile the Jeff Smith and Rory Butcher Aston was under attack from Tandy in the Porsche. Butcher was unable to hold him back and he surged through. Caine was caught a few laps later and he also succumbed. Tandy was now catching team mate Keen and with only five minutes left they were nearly together, the team looking set for a well deserved 1-2 when disaster struck for Keen. So Al Harthy and Caine with Smith and Butcher were able to take the other two podium positions. With Marco Attard and Alexander Sims taking fourth in the Ecurie Eccose car the championship will go down to the final round at Donington in September. Fifth was the AF Corse of Pasin Lathouras and Matt Griffin who have often taken points this season if not wins. Sixth was Phil Dryburgh joined by Alex Macdowell instead of his usual co driver Jon Gaw. Paul White and Tom Onslow Cole took Seventh in the Strata 21 Aston never looking as quick as the front running cars. Rockingham winners FF Corse with Gary Eastwood and Adam Caroll were Eighth in their Ferrari 458 with the recovering Keen taking ninth. The final top ten position was taken by the Triple 8 BMW Z4 GT3 of Lee Mowle and Ryan Ratcliffe.

Ecurie Ecosse still look strong championship contenders after fourth (Photo by Marc Waller)Heart break for keen with his Puncture (Photo by Marc Waller)GT4 Second (Photo by Marc Waller)GT3 Third (Photo by Marc Waller)GT4 third (Photo by Marc Waller)Phil Keen was upset to lose what looked to be a certain win; “I’m absolutely gutted, to be honest,” said Keen. “The car had been running perfectly, and Jon had done a fantastic job. We’re running one and two, a great result for the whole team, and then a puncture right at the end. Sometimes luck doesn’t go your way, and today that was the case.”

Tandy on the other hand was delighted with his unexpected victory; “I’ve only just finished and I already can’t wait for Donington already,” said Tandy. “It’s a shame for the other car, because Phil and Jon did a great job and they deserved to win today, and it’s really bad luck for them. At least we could still take home some silverware for the team.”

Jeff Smith was awarded the Blancpain Gentlemen driver trophy.

In GT4 the Beechdean team managed to deliver on their qualifying form with Ross Wylie and jake Giddings taking an easy victory from the TF Sport Aston of Devon Modell and Andrew Jarman. The Motorsport of Paul McNeily and Jamie Stanley took the final podium position also a long way back from their rivals. Most of their rivals hit trouble of one sort or another with the Issy Motorsport Lotus retiring after looking quick early on. Usual front runners Twisted Team Parker had an off early in the race in their Ginetta and the time lost put them totally out of contention. The car picked up so much gravel in the incident that it was trailing stones for the next couple of laps.

Both championships will be decided at the British Gt finale at Donington park on the 13th and 14th of September. It’s looking like an exciting end to a memorable year in British GT.
Full results from today are available from TSl Timing.  By Marc Waller

Beachdean took an easy win in GT4 (Photo by Marc Waller) Third overall (Photo by Marc Waller) Winners (Photo by Marc Waller) Team Celebrate (Photo by Marc Waller) Oman were runners up (Photo by Marc Waller) Podium (Photo by Marc Waller) Champagne chaos on GT4 podium (Photo by Marc Waller)


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