Racing – British GT – Donington Park – April 4
So Nearly A Podium!
Team Owner Jonathan France commented that Saturday's race had gone
better than the new team could have expected, with only a few niggles,
and all he could hope for on Sunday was a better result as the icing
on the cake. Things went pretty much his way on Sunday, with a fourth
position which could very easily have been a podium - a good points
finish was absolutely fantastic for this brand new team.
was dry at the start and looked like it would remain so (as much
as you can ever predict the weather over the next hour at Donington,
particularly when the GTs are there!). Jonathan had an easier time
than on Saturday : no stress over tyre choices this time. The pressure
was on Paula Cook instead, as she was to take the rolling start
for the first time.
It looked to
be a cautious opening for Paula, but actually "the fuel pick-up
problem was still there and it's worse when the car is cold, it
was much better towards the end of my stint". Still, she was
behind some pretty impressive opposition and the key thing was that
she was keeping up with them, no doubt wishing the fuel was going
where it should and when it should so she could go at the pace she
distinctive blue and white EFS-liveried Chevrolet Corvette only
really started coming into its own when the similar Xero-entered
car caught up with Paula and pressured her into a bit of a dice.
"I let him through because I was too slow with the fuel pressure
to race him, but then it started sorting itself out and the tyres
felt better so I was able to take good racing lines and push on,
so I took him again and the car felt much better after that. I think
I was second quickest on the track at one point."
was closing on the Porsche that won Saturday's race, and being only
seven seconds behind it after nearly half the race (with fuel problems)
was an excellent performance.
just before half distance and Neil Cunningham received a nicely
warmed up Corvette. The pitstop was much smoother than Saturday's,
so clearly lessons had been learned - which is just what the
round is all about. Neil was as calm as ever on the outside, but
deeply fired up on the inside. This is a man that loves his
He set about
the Xero Corvette, which had gained a place during the pitstops,
and sliced through at the Old Hairpin. His next job was to catch
Mike Jordan in the JWR Porsche, certainly not an easy task - but
Neil and the Corvette were up to the job. "I was racing against
the clock really, but I was trying to fight people wherever I could."
Despite a number of cars charging hard for the lead, Neil was in
the quickest trio for a good while and was gaining hand over fist
on the 2003 championship-winning Rollcentre Mosler, once Jordan
had spat the black and silver car out behind him.
the Craner Curves, Neil lined his man up at the Old Hairpin, but
then saw the yellow flags and had to let the Mosler go again. "I
could see I was going to get him, but I noticed the yellows and
had to let him go again - it cost me a few seconds as I had to line
up behind him and pass later in the lap - you just don’t know
what difference that might have made to being passed by Khan…
I knew I was up to third and knew if Khan passed me I’d lose
Third was actually
partly inherited, owing to the lead car going off at Coppice, Mike
Jordan picking up a puncture and Ian Khan getting a stop-go penalty
- but then at least two of those incidents were down to mistakes,
and Embassy weren't making any of those. It would have been all
too easy to make a mistake as the skies opened five minutes from
the end of the race….. but the organisers wisely decided to
put the chequered flag out early as cars started slipping and sliding
with no time left for a tyre change. The unpredictable Donington
weather had done it again!
third from Neil in the dying stages, but had only managed to eke
out 4.8 seconds by the chequered flag, so it would have been very
close indeed had Cunningham been able to put the Mosler behind him
earlier. "When Khan went through I wanted to pretend I didn’t
hear Jonathan’s instruction to let him go - but the last thing
I was going to do when it started getting slippy was wreck Jonathan’s
car. That Porsche was going like a rocketship anyway - has it got
Neil and Paula
are still confident the car has much more to give, and Jonathan
is intent on helping them get it. All in all it looks like a great
team atmosphere building already. So big hearty slaps on the back
all round for Embassy Racing. With the inevitable new-car niggles
ironed out, podium finishes seem a certainty this season, which
will be thoroughly deserved given the strength of the opposition.
Embassy Racing has shown what it can do!