Racing – 2005 British GT Championship
Castle Combe - Good News / Bad News
Sumpter was playing super sub in the #99 CBT / Eurotech Porsche
911 GT3 at Castle Combe, the circuit where he won alongside Mike
Jordan in 2004, in one of Eurotech's GT2 class Porsches.
The first qualifying
session showed that he hadn't lost his touch, the #99 Porsche finishing
in a season's best third slot, behind the rapid Team Tiger Marcos
and Marco Attard's Damax Ferrari.
In session two,
to set the order for Sunday's grid, Steve Wood found himself chasing
a gaggle of Ferraris, the Wiltshire circuit clearly very much to
their liking, before ending the session seventh (in the more competitive
qualifying session) out of 13 starters.
Race - Good News
Fast and steady was the successful game plan employed by Sumpter
and Wood for the first of the weekend's hour long races. Mark Sumpter
took the opening stint of this one and had a quiet opening ten minutes,
well in touch though with the leading group: the Porsche was running
very strongly, but the Team Tiger Marcos led the class.
With the retirement
of the third in class Damax Ferrari, a driveshaft letting go with
a bang, mark Sumpter was up to fifth in class and was closing in
on the Trackspeed Porsche. With the pitstop window approaching,
Chris Beighton's Marcos still held a commanding advantage, from
Miles Hulford in the second Damax 360 and Dimitris Deverikos in
the Tech 9 Porsche.
But Mark Sumpter
was now getting in on the act, the CBT / Eurotech supersub drawing
ever closer to Fred Moss. This was a great battle, the train of
four cars contesting second through to fifth places in the class,
barely a second between all four. Hulford would eventually lose
out to Deverikos, Moss and Sumpter as the pit stop window approached,
Mark up to fourth in class and well in touch with the cars ahead
- apart from the charging Marcos, now some 14 seconds up the
First to pit
was Hector Lester in the #21 UCB Ferrari 360, Allan Simonsen taking
over. Sumpter was amongst the final stoppers, Steve Wood, with the
bit between his teeth, was soon back into the fray at around the
already grabbed the CBT car's fourth spot and was soon up to second
in class, with the Marcos looking uncatchable, 21 seconds up the
GT racing though
is a cruel sport at times and the Marcos was forced to pit with
a broken wheel, after an utterly dominant run. Simonsen now led
GT3, with CBT back up in a fighting fourth place. There was more
trouble too, Piers Masarati pitting with smoke pouring from the
left rear. It would cost the #9 car almost a full lap and would
leave a rather unfamiliar top three.
Steve Wood was
now in a podium position but it wasn't going to be easy. Closing
in fast was the very quick Julian Westwood in the Team Parker Porsche,
but Steve was in tenacious mood and the #30 Porsche would not get
closer than around a second adrift. So it ended with a well deserved
win for Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester, ahead of a delighted David
Ashburn and Fred Moss - with an absolutely ecstatic Steve Wood and
Mark Sumpter in third place. Both drivers absolutely soaked Stuart
Scott with their celebratory champagne as the trophies were handed
out: a great day for all three men and for the CBT /Eurotech squad.
"Mark drove a brilliant stint and Eurotech gave us a great
pit stop. The car was spot on but Piers Masarati gave me a very
tough time: he tapped me into a quick spin but I got her going again
very quickly and drove as quick as I could to the end. I want to
really thank Stuart (Scott) for sticking with me after a very tough
run, and for letting Mark race with me here. He's a top man."
"Great stuff, I just hope Stuart lets me have another go!"
Race - Bad News
This was to be another race between the #21 Ferrari and #81 Marcos,
but one that the big old Mantis would win on the very last lap.
The #99 Porsche though wasn't there at the end, after a race dotted
with incident. The #30 Team Parker 911, both Motorbase Quaife cars
and the #20 Trackspeed 911 would all retire - before they were joined
by a fifth 911 by the wayside…
Steve Wood had
been caught out with a "solid brake pedal" at entirely
the wrong moment, possibly an ABS sensor failure. Some swift thinking
prevented a head on impact with the barrier, but the glancing blow
was enough to finish the car's race, and inflict significant damage.
It was to lead
to a Safety Car that set up a grandstand finish to a thrilling race.
That was no consolation though to the #99 Porsche squad –
a tough end to a weekend that had started on such a high.