GT Championship – Mondello Park– September 17-18
Embassy In Ireland - Two Thirds
and two races left in the 2005 British GT Championship, and Embassy
Racing, in only its second year of motorsport, is neatly tied in
second place in the teams’ chase, and Neil Cunningham are
the third pairing in the driver’s championship – two
ahead of the chasing Jordan / Caine, seven behind Niarchos / Mullen.
1 Scuderia Ecosse 106
2 Embassy Racing 54
3 Team Eurotech 54
1 Andrew Kirkaldy 106
Nathan Kinch 106
3 Chris Niarchos 61
Tim Mullen 61
5 Neil Cunningham 54
Ben Collins 54
7 Mike Jordan 52
Michael Caine 52
everything to play for at Silverstone next month, for the last pair
of races. Whatever happens there, the whole team can think back
to the same circuit, and the best race of the 2005 Championship.
Yes, Collins and Cunningham won it, but that’s not why it
was the best race: the finish was a thriller, Neil taking the lead
a few corners from the end of the last lap, in a two hour event.
It was back
to the ‘standard’ pair of one hour races in Ireland,
and although the entry size was a slim 15, all the significant GT2
runners were present. But without any wet weather – a surprise
that, in Ireland – the Embassy Porsche was typically just
off the pace of those Ferraris.
a second and a half, as usual,” was the opinion of Neil Cunningham.
The races would follow the normal, 2005 format: who could be best
of the rest?
After two hours
of racing, the score was one each to Embassy and Team Eurotech,
which was a contination of the season-long battle between these
two teams. Jonathan France, with Neil Cunningham, below, doesn't
like to be not winning though.
get the Ferraris if it was wet,” said Neil Cunningham, “but
we were the third quickest car in the race, that’s the reality
of it. I qualified third for Saturday’s race: maybe if we
hadn’t had a slight problem with the suspension on one side,
at the front, I could have pipped Nathan (Kinch) in the #35 Ferrari,
for pole, but I had to settle for third.”
we were closer in testing, closer than we’ve ever been, but
that damper problem in qualifying meant the gap was bigger,”
commented Ben Collins.
was second quickest for Eurotech, and with Chris Niarchos down in
sixth in the other Ferrari, the race would be between these four
entries – plus the pesky Nissan.
to go round the outside at the first corner, but had to be a cautious
out there, and dropped to fourth behind the Nissan,” explained
The 350Z was
being driven very defensively, but a well managed pistop (under
the safety car, so a short stint for the Kiwi / Australian) saw
Ben Collins out with the bit between his teeth, and he got the
of both Anthony Reid (Nissan) and Michael Caine (Eurotech Porsche).
getting past at the first corner on the first racing lap,”
said Ben Collins, “but that didn’t work, “so I
attacked for two laps and went for a big late-braking manoeuvre.
There was the slightest touch (with the Nissan), but that was very
Michael Caine paid dividends when the Eurotech car ran wide on lap
23: “I gave Mikey (Caine) a hard time, and forced him into
a mistake. I got him on the exit.”
about to relinquish a hard-earned podium spot, although Tim Mullen
in the recovering #34 Ferrari was always looking strong to take
second, and that was how it panned out. “There was no point
trying to hold Tim back, he was so mch faster.”
On race pace,
the Ferraris had a two second advantage, rather than Neil’s
“second and a half.”
race – no rain again – saw the blue and red Embassy
car having to tackle the same two rivals: that damper problem meant
that Ben’s qualifying time, just a tenth faster than Neil’s
(well-matched, eh?), was ‘only’ good enough for fifth
on the grid.
was no chance to get through on the opening lap, but I soon got
right alongside Michael. But that track is so tight.... if I’d
kept on the power I would have shoved him off, so I eased up. I
then followed him, until we’d caught Anthony (Reid) in the
Nissan. The Porsche went up the inside of the Nissan – and
I passed them both on the exit! That worked perfectly.”
we pitted a lap too early,” added Neil Cunningham. “The
other 911 was at racing speed for another lap, while I was on my
out lap. Mike Jordan appeared from the pits and I was right on his
bumper, but there was no way I could pass him without a ‘Jason
Plato’ move, and I didn’t want to do that.”
So a Ferrari
1-5 on Sunday, a Porsche 2-3, and it’s all set up for the
finale at Silverstone early next month. The Embassy pair could take
runner-up spots in both championships (drivers and teams): will
Silverstone favour the brave, again? Embassy is still the only team
other than Scuderia Ecosse to have won a race this year.
Embassy team will be launching a competition shortly, to win two
Embassy VIP full hospitality tickets for the final British GT meeting,
race at Silverstone on October 9. Race tickets, VIP pack, breakfast,
meet the team, sit in the car, lunch and gift pack to take home.