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Aston Martin GT4

Aston Martin GT4 Challenge Great Britain - Round 8 Brands Hatch

Qualifying Report

The 40-minute session started with a drying track but with a few greasy patches on some of the apexes it made for some very difficult conditions.

Mark Poole driving car 8, the Generation AMR entry, ran wide at Paddock and ended up in the gravel trap after hitting a wet patch under breaking, no damage was done and Mark managed to get the car back to the pits.

Dan de Zille set the early pace in the Nicholas Mee number 12 machine; Olivier Bouche was pushing hard, in the Stratton Motorsport entry.

As we approached the half way mark, it was Dan de Zille who held the provisional pole position, from Richard Abra who was now driving the number 8 car, third was Olivier Bouche in car 22, fourth was Tom Black in the Vantage Racing number 24 machine and fifth was Paul Bartley in the EQ8 Racing number 47 car.

With just over five minutes to go the fight for pole became really intense with Richard Abra in car 8 putting together a fantastic lap to claim the provisional pole, Alan Bonner in car 24 held second with Dan de Zille in car 12 now third, fourth was Car 22 with Denis Tribel now at the wheel, fifth was Mike Brown in the MB Racing number 7 machine, who was putting together some fantastic lap times and sixth was Chris Porritt in the Aston Martin Lagonda number 77 machine.

There was a six way battle for pole and the positions continually changed as we approached the end of the session, in the final minute of qualifying Dan de Zille in car 12 managed to pull together a 49.8 lap time which would claim the Nicholas Mee teams third pole position in a row, second was Richard Abra in the Generation AMR number 8 machine and third was Olivier Bouche in the Stratton Motorsport number 22 car.

Qualifying Result:

1. 12 Dan de Zille - Nick Mee Racing – 49.893
2. 8 Mark Poole/Richard Abra– Generation AMR – 50.229
3. 22 Pierre Mantello/Denis Tribel/Olivier Bouche – Stratton Motorsport – 50.577
4. 24 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage Racing– 50.720
5. 7 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps –  MB Racing -50.866
6. 77 Chris Porritt/Chris Partridge- Aston Martin Lagonda – 51.151
7. 91 Chris Kemp/Andy Peck - Stratton Motorsport –51.919
8. 47 Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley - Stratton Motorsport – 52.786
9. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough - Mardi Gras Motorsport – 53.547
10. 56 Richard Taffinder/Tim Eakin – Ultimate Speed – 53.751

Race Report

There was a gap on the grid as car number 7, the Mike Brown Racing entry failed to make the start of the race. The car had gone off in the Intermarque qualifying session and unfortunately too much damage had been sustained to get the car repaired in time for the start of the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge race.

It was Dan de Zille, in the Nicholas Mee number 12 car, who led the field round on the green flag lap and as the lights went out and it was Dan who managed to hold the lead into turn one, Olivier Bouche, in car 22, the Stratton Motorsport entry, managed to pass Richard Abra, in the Generation AMR number 8 machine, going down the inside of him at turn 1, Chris Porritt in the Aston Martin Lagonda number 77 moved up to fourth with Tom Black in car 24, the Vantage Racing car in fifth.

On lap four Richard Abra in car 8 managed to pass Olivier Bouche in car 22 going down the inside at turn 2, this moved Olivier to third and he was now being put under a lot of pressure by Chris Porritt in the Aston Martin Lagonda number 77 car. Desmond Smail in car number 5, the Mardis Gras Motorsport entry, was fighting Paul Bartley in the EQ8 Racing number 47 machine for sixth position and in turn both cars were catching Tom Black in car 24.

Richard Abra started to close the gap to the leader and was putting Dan de Zille under some real pressure and with a great move managed to pass Dan going down the inside of him at turn 5.

Chris Porritt in car 77 was pushing Olivier Bouche in car 22 very hard for third position and there were some very closely fought battles all through the field.

Dan de Zille and Richard Abra were trading fastest laps with the gap between the two of them being held at a steady 1.5 seconds all the way up to the pit stops.

The first to pit for the mandatory two-minute stop was Tom Black in the Vantage Racing machine; he would be handing over driving duties to Alan Bonner.

Andy Peck driving the number 91 machine the Stratton Motorsport was next to the pit handing over to Chris Kemp.

The rest of the mandatory stops were all being taken and on lap 56, the then leader Richard Abra pitted to hand over to Mark Poole taking on fuel and a brand new set of tyres, but as Mark hit the breaks for the first time at turn two he lost control and went off into the gravel, unfortunately the car was beached and unable to rejoin the race.

Chris Porritt was now leading in car 77 but was yet to pit, he would be handing over to Chris Partridge the BBC presenter and producer of the 6 and 10 o’clock news, this would be his first ever motor race so the nerves were starting to kick in.

Chris had only taken is ARDS racing license test at Thruxton the week before. This really proves that with a lot of dedication, support and some natural talent you can train to become a racing driver in a very short space of time. Chris had done a fantastic job in testing and the team are extremely pleased with his progress over the weekend.

The Aston Martin Lagonda entry pitted on lap 65 and with Chris Partridge now driving they rejoined in second place.

After all the pit stops had been taken it was Dan de Zille in the Nicholas Mee, number 12 car, who now held a commanding lead, Dan was driving on his own for this race and 90 minutes around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit is tough both mentally and physically, but he was pacing himself perfectly.

On lap 76 Chris Partridge in the 77 car pulled off the track and retired with gearbox issues, Denis Tribel was now holding second position in the Stratton Motorsport number 22 car but he was being caught by Alan Bonner at about 2 seconds per lap in the Vantage Racing number 24 machine.

On lap 91 Alan passed Denis to take second place, but with Dan de Zille two laps ahead there just wasn’t enough time left for Alan to make inroads into Dan’s lead. Stuart Patterson in the EQ8 Racing number 47 car was fourth and Chris Kemp in the Stratton Motorsport number 91 machine was now fifth.

On lap 102 the checkered flag was waived to Dan de Zille in car 12 to claim a faultless win, it was a stunning drive and a well deserved victory.

The next race and the season finale is at Dijon Prenois on September 11th.

Race Result

1. 12 Dan de Zille - Nicholas Mee Racing – 102 Laps
2. 24 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage Racing– 100 Laps
3. 22 Pierre Mantello/Denis Tribel/Olivier Bouche – Stratton Motorsport – 99 Laps
4. 47 Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley - Stratton Motorsport – 98 Laps
5. 91 Chris Kemp/Andy Peck - Stratton Motorsport –97 Laps
6. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough - Mardi Gras Motorsport – 95 Laps
7. 56 Richard Taffinder/Tim Eakin – Ultimate Speed – 94 Laps

DNC

77 Chris Porritt/Chris Partridge- Aston Martin Lagonda – 76 Laps
8 Mark Poole/Richard Abra– Generation AMR – 53 Laps

DNS

7 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps – MB Racing – 0 Laps