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British GT Championship - Thruxton – Sunday Morning Notes
His Birthday, But Still He Gets...
22 cars took to the track for the Sunday Morning practice session with the Balfe Motorsport Mosler bolstering the N-GT numbers. The Racesports TVR T400R is in the hands of Dan Eagling, driving solo here after regular driver John Hartshorne withdrew after being struck in the eye by a stone in testing on Friday. The Vauxhall Monaro and Eclipse TVR are both absent this weekend, both teams opting to test rather than race and the Master Motorsport team is also absent, its Silverstone engine woes preventing competition here this weekend. The Embassy Corvette has Ben Collins, ex Ascari sportscar star and current Days of Thunder ASCAR champion replacing Paula Cook, the Yorkshire driver now having left the team.

The dailysportscar.com Cup class sees the addition of a second Tech 9 Porsche 911GT3 Cup, the car is actually the same one that has been campaigned previously by ABG Motorsport but now has the driver line-up of Porsche specialist Mark Cole and Formula Ford man David Wandless. The second DRM Ferrari returns to the series for the first time since its heavy accident at Mondello Park (albeit without the rear spoiler sported by the #62 car), Lourenco de Veiga and Formula Fordster Jamie Smythe making up the driving squad. The Rollcentre Racing Noble has TVR Tuscan racer David Mason sharing driving duties with Martin Short, while the Jensen Corvette has Stuart Turvey replacing Ryan Hooker. The Gavan Kershaw Racing Lotus squad has had a busy meeting already, a huge accident for Barrie Whight in Friday testing leaving the #88 Lotus looking a sorry sight, bodywork utterly destroyed and a rear corner reduced to scrap. By this morning however the car was looking pristine: Gavan Kershaw will fly in from Donington (and Group C duty) in time for the qualifying session this afternoon.

On track the times were tumbling as the sun broke through with the lap records in both classes being bettered by some margin.

The battle to top the timing chart in N-GT was tightly fought for the first half of the 75 minute session, with the #35 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari, #38 GruppeM Porsche and the Balfe Mosler the chief protagonists. Andrew Kirkaldy then turned up the wick in the #35 Ferrari 360 GTC and posted a stunning 1:12.507, almost two seconds under the N-GT lap record. The rest couldn’t challenge that pace but Tim Mullen joined in the fun, posting the second fastest time of the session in the #34 Ferrari

The #44 Preci Spark JWR Porsche of the Jones twins looked to be in trouble inside the first 20 minutes, pitting with a plume of smoke trailing and being wheeled back into the paddock. Engine? “Yes, there was a strong smell of oil so I backed right off, the engine hasn’t gone – yet!” said David Jones. The ever-prepared JWR team has a spare flat 6 unit available so the car will be out in qualifying this afternoon.

In the Cup class, six cars bettered the previous record (1:20.547) with championship newcomer Mark Cole setting an impressive 1:19.082 in the unballasted #74 Tech 9 Porsche with Martin Short just five hundredths behind in the Rollcentre Noble.

Post session Jonathan Cocker was summoned to the Clerk of the Course and was met by a stony faced John Ward who in fact presented him with a bottle of champagne, to celebrate the GruppeM star’s 18th birthday. “The funny thing is though,” said Ward, “he passed the chequered flag twice so he’ll get a bollocking anyway!”

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