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Aston Martin GT4

Aston Martin GT4 Challenge Great Britain - Spa Weekend Report 

Rounds 5 and 6 Spa Francorchamps 8th and 9th July

Qualifying report

The two 15 minute qualifying sessions took place in fine weather on Friday afternoon, it was a combined grid with the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge being joined by the British GT Championship, European GT4 Championship and the Benelux GT4 Championship - 55 cars in all. Given these circumstances, and the very limited number of laps that could be completed in the session, it was essential to put together some good lap times in the early stages.

The early pace was set by Alan Bonner in the Vantage Racing number 024 car, he was being chased down by Olivier Bouche in the Stratton Motorsport number 022 car and Dan de Zille in the Nicholas Mee number 012 entry, it was hard for all drivers to put some clear laps together with so many cars fighting for clear track. It was Alan Bonner who managed to take the pole position with Dan de Zille second and Olivier Bouche third.

Qualifying Result Round 5
 
024 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage Racing – 2:37.661
012 Karsten le Blanc/Dan de Zille - Nick Mee Racing – 2:38.512
022 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche/Denis Tribel – Stratton Motorsport – 2:39.991
077 Anja Wassertheurer/Jethro Bovington - Aston Martin Lagonda - 2:40.381
001 Phil Dryburgh/John Gaw - Aston Martin Racing - 2:41.120
307 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps - MB Racing – 2:42.451
091 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport – 2:57.681

There was a five minute reset for new tyres and driver changes before the second qualifying session started.

Stuart Hall now driving the Stratton Motorsport number 091 entry led the early pace followed by Olivier Bouche in the number 022 machine with Karsten Le Blanc third. Tom Black in the Vantage Racing number 024 car ran wide at Raidillon hitting the barrier on the left at the top of the hill which in turn sent him across the track into the barriers on the other side. The car was very badly damaged in the accident, luckily Tom got out of the car unscathed. The session was stopped to recover the car and was not restarted leaving Stuart Hall to take pole position for the second of Saturdays races.

Qualifying Result Round 6

091 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport – 2:36.426
022 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche/Denis Tribel – Stratton Motorsport – 2:39.989
012 Karsten le Blanc/Dan de Zille - Nick Mee Racing – 2:42.420
024 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage racing – 2:44.489
077 Anja Wassertheurer/Jethro Bovington - Aston Martin Lagonda - 2:49.263
307 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps - MB Racing – 2:58.209
001 Phil Dryburgh/John Gaw - Aston Martin Racing - 2:58.209
003 Alan Hudd - Alan Hudd Racing - 3:00.363
047 Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley - EQ8 Racing – 3:00.789

Tom Black was deemed fit to race after seeing the doctors in the medical centre but there was a lot of work to be done to repair the car, after reviewing the data it was shown that there had been an impact force of 17G. Steve Hay and all the team at Vantage had a big repair job on their hands and with help from the other teams managed to work all through the night to finish the repair of the car by the following morning at 07.00. It was an amazing achievement for all concerned!
 

Round 5 Spa Francorchamps Saturday 9th July

Race Report

This was to be a one hour race with just one mandatory two minute pit stop for all teams. Alan Bonner in the rebuilt Vantage Racing number 024 car led the pack across the line to start the race, Olivier Bouche in car 022 was in second with Dan de Zille in car 012 third, and Phil Dryburgh in the Aston Martin Racing 001 entry was fourth.

A hard battle then ensued with the top four cars pushing each other around the 7 KM track. On lap 3 Dan de Zille managed to pass Olivier Bouche going down the inside into the final chicane, then on lap 5 the Stratton Motorsport 091 car of Chris Kemp had an engine problem which ended his race and he had to pull off at turn 8. On lap 6 Alan Bonner in car 024 spun coming out of the final chicane handing the lead to Dan de Zille in car number 012 and second place to Olivier Bouche in car 022. The safety car was then brought out for an accident involving a GT4 Ginetta which dropped all of its oil on the exit of turn 12. First to pit was the 001 car of Phil Dryburgh, who handed over the driving duties to Aston Martin Racing’s Managing Director John Gaw. Next to pit was the 307 car of Mike Brown followed by the 003 car of Alan Hudd. At the end of the next safety car lap Dan de Zille pitted in the 012 machine followed by the 024 car of Alan Bonner, the 077 car of Anja Wassertheurer and the 047 car of Paul Bartley. The safety car continued around for another lap and the 022 Stratton Motorsport car then decided to pit, meaning that all cars had now pitted for their mandatory stops.

After the pit stops it was John Gaw in the Aston Martin Racing 001 car who was leading, but during their driver change the right hand paddle that up changes the gears snapped, forcing John to drive around in automatic mode. Second was the Nicholas Mee 012 car with Karsten le Blanc now driving, third was Tom Black in the Vantage Racing 024 entry, fourth was the EQ8 Racing 047 car of Stuart Patterson and fifth was the ever charging Aston Martin Lagonda 077 car of Jethro Bovington. On lap 15 Jethro managed to pass both Stuart Patterson and Tom Black moving him up to third. On lap 16 Karsten le Blanc passed the struggling 001 car of John Gaw to take the lead, Jethro Bovington then managed to catch and pass John Gaw for second position. The 047 car of Stuart Patterson had managed to get ahead of Tom Black in car 024 and then set about catching the 001 machine as well. On lap 19 he passed John Gaw for third but John managed to regain the position coming into the final chicane on the very last lap of the race. Karsten le Blanc and Dan de Zille drove a very professional race to win from Jethro Bovington and Anja Wassertheurer in the hard charging 077 machine with John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh in the 001 car third which was a remarkable result considering the gearbox issues, It had been decided by both Phil and John that they were going to be an invitational car only and would not pick up any trophies this in turn meant that Paul Bartley and Stuart Patterson picked up their first podium in the Challenge and both were delighted with the result.

Race Result Round 5
 
012 Karsten le Blanc/Dan de Zille - Nick Mee Racing – 20 Laps
077 Anja Wassertheurer/Jethro Bovington - Aston Martin Lagonda - 20 Laps
001 Phil Dryburgh/John Gaw - Aston Martin Racing - 20 Laps
047 Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley - EQ8 Racing – 20 Laps
307 Mike Brown - MB Racing – 20 Laps
024 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage racing – 20 Laps
022 Olivier Bouche/Denis Tribel/Pierre Mantello – Stratton Motorsport – 19 Laps
003 Alan Hudd - Alan Hudd Racing - 19 Laps

DNC

091 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport – 4 Laps

Round 6 Spa Francorchamps Saturday 9th July

Race Report

The pole position 091 car of Chris Kemp and Stuart Hall unfortunately could not make the starting grid as their car wasn’t repairable after their engine issues in the first race; this left Olivier Bouche in car 022 to lead the pack round on the green flag lap. At the start it was the 022 car that led from Karsten le Blanc in car 012 with Jethro Bovington in 077 third, Phil Dryburgh in 001 fourth and Tom Black in 024 fifth. Jethro Bovington passed Karsten le Blanc at turn 9 for second position, then Karsten tried to re take Jethro going into the final chicane but the two cars touched the 077 car ended up with a nearside rear puncture and unfortunately for Jethro, he had just passed the pit lane entry so had to a complete one whole lap to get back to the pits losing him lots of time. Olivier Bouche started to put together a really good lead; Phil Dryburgh was now in second with Karsten le Blanc third. With the pit window now open it was the 012 car of Karsten le Blanc being the first to pit to hand over to Dan de Zille. On lap 8 the 047 EQ8 Racing entry of Stuart Patterson passed Tom Black in the 024 machine for fourth place. Next to pit was the 001 machine with Phil Dryburgh handing over to John Gaw, Olivier Bouche in the 022 machine had a created a good lead and came in to hand over to Pierre Mantello, the rest of the pit stops then ensued.

After all of the mandatory stops had been completed it was the Stratton Motorsport number 022 entry of Pierre Mantello leading with Dan de Zille chasing hard in second and John Gaw catching both of them in third, this was going to be a very close finish.

With only seven minutes left on the clock Dan de Zille had brought the gap to Pierre Mantello down to only 3 seconds and John Gaw was only 7 seconds behind Dan de Zille.

Dan then managed to pass Pierre to take the lead and later on the same lap John Gaw also found a way passed Pierre, John now set about catching Dan but with only three minutes remaining he couldn’t quite catch him meaning that Dan de Zille and Karsten le Blanc in the Nicholas Mee number 024 car would do the Spa double. As John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh were in the invitational class it meant that Olivier Bouche and Pierre Mantello took a thoroughly deserved second place and Tom Black and Alan Bonner came in third which was such a fantastic result for all at Vantage Racing and made their all nighter a little less painful.

Race Result Round 6

012 Karsten le Blanc/Dan de Zille - Nick Mee Racing – 22 Laps
001 Phil Dryburgh/John Gaw - Aston Martin Racing - 22 Laps
022 Olivier Bouche/Denis Tribel/Pierre Mantello – Stratton Motorsport – 21 Laps
024 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage racing – 21 Laps
047 Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley - EQ8 Racing – 20 Laps
003 Alan Hudd - Alan Hudd Racing - 20 Laps
307 Paul Cripps - MB Racing – 20 Laps
077 Anja Wassertheurer/Jethro Bovington - Aston Martin Lagonda - 17 Laps

DNS

091 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport