08/06/2011 - Danny Winstanley and Matt Seldon mastered tricky
wet conditions as they came through to win the latest rounds of the
GT Cup Championship at MSVR's Brands Hatch GP Weekend.
The weather was a key variable in both of Sunday's GT Cup
Championship races at Brands Hatch, but it was the rain that fell
just as the first of the two encounters began that had the biggest
impact on the assembled runners.
It had been spotting for some time, but it was only as the cars
headed out onto the parade lap that the rain began to fall
sufficiently hard enough for it to be officially declared a wet
race. Starting the race on slick tyres, the more powerful Group 1
runners were particularly tentative at the start as they struggled
The track was so slippery that pole sitter Michael Saunders
considered parking his TVR Cerbera in the opening couple of laps,
but he persevered and headed a line of twitchy cars round the
2.3-mile GP circuit. However, he lost the lead, first, to the
Porsche 997 GT3 of Stephen Ritchie and then to the Group 2 KTM
X-Bow of Benjamin Harvey.
After Rupert Martin's race ended with a spin into the pit-wall
at the end of opening lap, the safety car was summoned. With just
small amounts of precipitation in the air, only two cars stopped to
change to wets, leaving 14 cars on the lead lap when the race
resumed. Harvey in the X Bow made a good restart and started to
pull away from his pursuers.
Saunders' battle with the conditions ended on lap six with
a spin into the Paddock Hill gravel, leaving the bright green TVR
Sagaris of Danny Winstanley, as the new second-placed runner. The
first appearance of a dry line was beginning to emerge and the lap
Further down the field, Tom Andrew's Morgan Aero 8 progressed
past Colin Broster's Porsche to take second in Group 1. Gary
Eastwood, who was eager to take the Group 1 fight to Winstanley,
piled on the pressure.
At the start of lap nine, Eastwood saw his route past the Morgan
and was up to third. Unfortunately, he didn't see the yellow flag,
which was being waved and this would have consequences later
More immediately, however, Stephen Ritchie had another spin and
dropped his Porsche into the gravel at Clark, necessitating a
second safety car period.
At this point, with seven minutes to go, Harvey's KTM, lying in
second place, was the only non-Group 1 car in the top six. But his
six second advantage over Eastwood had now disappeared. Andy Ruhan,
meanwhile, had just set the fastest lap of the race so far, to
close up to third in Group 1. Further back, Mark Radcliffe had just
taken advantage of a slow lap from the BMW E46 of Adam Hayes, to
snatch the Group 3 lead in his BMW M3.
The safety car pulled off with less than three minutes on the
clock, meaning only two more laps would be possible. Eastwood
pounced too soon on the restart and passed Harvey before the line,
but this time realised his error and backed off to allow the
positions to reset themselves. But with the track now quickly
drying, it wasn't long before a legitimate pass was completed;
Ruhan and Michael Symons followed suit.
Danny Winstanley began lap 13 with a 1.2 second lead and took
full advantage of the clear track to take the chequered flag for
the second time this season, finishing ahead of Gary Eastwood. Andy
Ruhan finished third, a further two seconds back. A steward's
decision post-race would, however, see Eastwood penalised 20
seconds for passing under yellows and this dropped him to fifth in
Group 1 and tenth overall. Symons was promoted to third as a result
of the penalty.
Despite losing another place on the final lap, Harvey had enough
in reserve to take the Group 2 win, with Tom Andrew a close second
in the Morgan. Colin Broster took third in Group 2, finishing
behind the BMW E92 of Wayne Gibson.
Mark Radcliffe claimed the Group 3 honours, with Adam Hayes
taking second and Barclay Dougall in third.
Between the first race ending and the second beginning, the rain
began to fall over Kent more forcefully, but this at least meant
that wets were the only option. The race began with two laps behind
the safety car because of the conditions.
When the cars were released, it was Matt Seldon, who grabbed the
lead at Paddock Hill Bend in the Group 1 BMW E46. Michael Saunders,
driving his TVR Cerbera followed in second, with championship
leader Andy Ruhan in third. Benjamin Harvey led Group 2 lying
fourth overall in the KTM X-Bow.
As the leaders emerged into Clearways, Seldon led by 1.3
seconds, with Ruhan a further second back. Gary Eastwood took
fourth from Harvey along the Brabham Straight, but race one winner
Danny Winstanley was down in eighth.
Eastwood took third from Ruhan with a bold move down the inside
of Paddock Hill Bend at the start of lap three and began the task
of closing on the yellow TVR ahead. Saunders, however, had just set
the fastest lap to close to within a second of
The Group 2 battle looked poised to close up but Andrew almost
immediately put himself out of contention for group honours by
dropping the Morgan into the Druids gravel on lap four, causing the
safety car to be scrambled for a third time. The Morgan was
recovered and continued without pitting, but the two laps lost were
never likely to be recoverable.
The race went green again at the end of lap six, with almost
exactly ten minutes left on the clock.
Seldon held onto his lead, but the restart was not without
significant incident. Andy Ruhan managed to spin the Porsche at
Clearways, even before the race went green again, and he lost
several places as a result.
Saunders was once more applying pressure on Seldon and had
worked the gap to the leader down to just a quarter of a second by
the end of lap nine. But as the two dived down towards Graham Hill
bend on the next lap, the BMW's rear end seemed to snap out a bit
and Saunders took avoiding action. Fortunately for Seldon, he held
on and retained the lead; unfortunately for Saunders, he spun and
dropped to fourth.
With three minutes remaining, the battles for Group 1 and 2 were
reaching their climax. All eyes were on Clearways as the
clock ran out, but it was the BMW that came through first. Matt
Seldon took the win by 0.472 seconds from Eastwood, with Danny
Winstanley taking third in the TVR Sagaris.
Moments later, the X-Bow of Harvey emerged from the GP loop to
record his second Group 2 win of the weekend. Colin Broster came
home in second, with Francis Galashan crossing the finish line in
Adam Hayes enjoyed a comfortable drive to grab the Group 3 win
by 25 seconds from Mark Radcliffe. Barclay Dougall again nursed his
ailing E46 to a distant third.
1. #78 Danny Winstanley TVR
2. #6 Andy
3. #31 Michael
Symons BMW GTR
1. #45 Benjamin
Harvey KTM X-Bow
2. #7 Tom
Aero 8 GT +1.843
3. #15 Colin
1. #19 Mark
2. #9 Adam
3. #37 Barclay
1. #23 Matt
2. #8 Gary
Eastwood Ferrari 430
3. #78 Danny
1. #45 Benjamin
Harvey KTM X-Bow
GT4 12 laps
2. #15 Colin
996 GT3 +0.546
3. #57 Francis
Galashan Porsche 996
1. #9 Adam
E46 M3 12
2. #19 Mark
3. #37 Barclay
E46 +1 lap
The GT Cup Championship heads to Norfolk's Snetterton circuit
for the next round on June 25/26.
For more information on the GT Cup Championship please CLICK HERE.