Chris Niarchos – Preparing For 2005
After an engine problem at Donington Park removed the #34 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 360 from the entry of the first of James tucker’s GT Open events, the appearance of Stewart Roden’s immaculately prepared team in the Brands Hatch paddock for the second event today was a very welcome sight.

dailysportscar.comChris Niarchos was as up beat as ever about his racing, his 2004 efforts coming along nicely, in partnership with his ‘pro’, Tim Mullen. The Cobra Group boss is a quick and willing learner and the Brands Hatch event was being put to good use, enabling the Greek / Canadian to get valuable seat time in the Ferrari. The image of him was taken in a sunnier part of the 2004 season.

“I really need more time in the car to find out more about its limits and my own,” said Niarchos after taking the flag in first place in the second 50 minute sector.

The first race had looked extremely positive, with the Ferrari leading comfortably, until the slippery conditions caught him out.

“I’m not really sure what happened – either the car lost grip or I overstepped the mark, either way we threw away the race win in the gravel.”

The conditions out on the Brands Hatch GP circuit were treacherous, several drivers commenting that the section of new tarmac from Dingle Dell through to Stirlings was particularly slippery. “There really was no grip at all there today,” confirmed Niarchos, “but I’m still annoyed that it caught me out.”

To his credit though he remained focused and was visibly elated when informed by Stewart Roden that not only was he going to start the second part of the race (the Ferrari having been recovered with no damage), but that he would drive throughout). Tim Mullen, playing the team game extremely professionally by stepping back from the cockpit, observed: “His face lit up when we told him he would do the race solo. It’s great to drive with someone who is so keen to learn.”

A controlled and spirited drive saw the Ferrari recover the deficit of an early (compulsory) pit stop with some quick and impressively consistent lap times, close indeed to the best set by the experienced Piers Masarati in a PK Porsche.

“That was the longest I’ve ever driven in a race car,“ confirmed Niarchos later - pictured at Paddock, above. “Better still though I felt fine throughout, the car just kept getting better and it really has been mission accomplished. The idea was to get me some time in the car in varying conditions and the conditions today sure have been varying!” From rain, to sleet and high winds, the Brands Hatch micro-climate had served up a veritable feast of self testing opportunities and Chris had emerged with huge credit. Watch out for a quicker still and more rounded Chris Niarchos in 2005!


Contents Copyright © All Rights Reserved.