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GT Cup, Brand Hatch - Race Reports
Two Close Encounters

This is the mid point of the 2010 GT Cup Championship and the standings couldn’t be closer.

Race One was, as we have come to expect from GT Cup, very close in all three Groups.

Things did not start well for Championship front runners Alex Martin in his #87 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car and Danny Winstanley in his #78 TVR Tuscan. Having qualified at the front end of the grid they both ran wide into the gravel trap at Paddock on the first lap - both struggling back onto the circuit but emerging right at the back of the field. The next drama occurred at Surtees when Colin Mowle in his #77 KTM X-Bow spun right in the thick of the action and in the ensuing chaos the Porsches of Paul Winter and Francis Galashan were sidelined, as was the KTM X-Bow.

 After the safety car came in, the race began to settle down with the #89 Lotus Europa of Chris Randall chasing down the ‘Invitation’ Group car of Mike Donovan. Also in the leading Group was Mark Sumpter, who was also in the ‘Invitation’ Group - standing in for Steve Ritchie in his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car - but in Championship terms the men to watch were Chris Randall and newcomer to GT Cup Andy Purdie in his #97 Porsche 997 GT3.

Donovan resisted Randall’s determined charge and hung on to win by just under a second after 15 laps. Sumpter took third, a similar distance behind the Lotus, with Purdie taking fourth, and second in class. Just 3.1 seconds covered the first four cars.

Andy Ruhan in his #6 Porsche 997 GT3 had a quiet race but scored valuable points.

In Group two things were a bit less straightforward. The good news was that GT Cup regular Colin Broster was back racing in his #15 Porsche 996 GT3 after a lay-off waiting for a Chevron to materialise. He eventually abandoned the Chevron project and returned to the well proven ex-Rupert Martin Porsche. For five laps the Group two battle was led by Broster, with Marco Pullen in his #13 Ferrari 360 GTC very close behind and Group leader Keith Webster equally close in his #10 BMW M3 E36. However, it all ended at the exit to Druids when Marco Pullen touched Broster, causing him to spin and ‘collect’ the equally innocent BMW of Webster. Both Broster and Webster rejoined, but by this time Pullen was long gone and went on to win the Group comfortably.

The Group Three field might have been small by GT Cup’s usual standard but it gave the spectators a terrific race between Dan Norris-Jones in his #73 Lotus Exige and Tom Andrew in his #7 KTM X-Bow.  Eventually Norris Jones won the race-long battle. 

Group One

1st Chris Randall        #89 Lotus Europa
2nd Andy Purdie         #97 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
3rd Andy Ruhan           #6 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

Group Two

1st Marco Pullen         #13 Ferrari 360 GTC
2nd Michael Symons   #31 BMW M3 E46
3rd Paul Cope             #33 Venturi

Group Three

1st Dan Norris-Jones  #73 Lotus Exige
2nd Tom Andrew         #7 KTM X-Bow
3rd David Botterill        #8 Porsche 944 Turbo

Race Two

This was another excellent race all the way through the field. At the start Alex Martin #87 Porsche 997 GT3 was determined to put his race one problems behind him and he set out to put his Group and Championship challenge back on the right track. He did a brilliant job - his drive back to eighth in race one had been impressive but in race two he was looking unbeatable!

Unfortunately the #89 Lotus Europa of Chris Randall had picked up a puncture at Clearways and wasn’t able to carry on. But the Lotus had finally shown its potential as a front running Group One car. Alex Martin was an even match even for the highly experienced and very rapid Invitation Group Porsche of Mike Donovan. It was all down to Martin and the equally rapid Andy Purdie also in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car.

Alex Martin got away from the Purdie, Donovan and Sumpter battle - but not by much. Eventually Purdie moved into second place and began to tackle Alex Martin, but by this time they were getting in amongst the Group Two and Three cars. This all came to a head on the run in to the chequered flag when they had to thread their way through several cars and Martin just made it by 0.293 seconds. Andy Ruhan #6 Porsche GT3 Cup had another relatively quiet race but towards the end Leon Price in his #88 Ferrari 430 GTC was getting closer and closer and eventually finished under half a second behind Ruhan.

In Group Two Colin Broster was on a mission. Having been ‘sidelined’ in Race One he was out to show the rest of them that a bit of lay off hadn’t effected him one little bit. He led the Group all the way and finished a very respectable eighth overall and despite very hectic race he had seen off Michael Symons and Keith Webster in their BMW’s.

In Group Three Dan Norris-Jones and Tom Andrew took up where they left off after race one and had a nose to tail, race long battle. By the chequered flag Tom Andrew in his KTM X-Bow had tried everything to get past the Lotus Exige but Norris-Jones hung on to take his second win of the day with David Botterill coming third in his #8 Porsche 944 Turbo.

Group One

1st Alex Martin            #87 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
2nd Andy Purdie          #97 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
3rd  Andy Ruhan           #6 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

Group Two

1st Colin Broster         #15 Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
2nd Michael Symons   #31 BMW M3 E46
3rd Keith Webster       #10 BMW M3 E46

Group Three

1st Dan Norris-Jones   #73 Lotus Exige
2nd Tom Andrew           #7 KTM X-Bow
3rd David Botterill          #8 Porsche 944 Turbo

Full race results - here

Championship Points Overall

1ST  Keith Webster     #10 BMW M3 E46                204 points
2nd Alex Martin           #87 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup    202 points
3rd  Marco Pullen        #13 Ferrari 360 GTC             185 points

Group Points

Group One

1st Alex Martin            #87 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup    202 points
2nd  Gary Eastwood    #18 Ferrari 430 GTC             175 points
3rd Leon Price            #88 Ferrari 430 GTC              170 points

Group Two

1st Keith Webster      #10 BMW M3 E46                 204 points
2nd Marco Pullen       #13 Ferrari 360 GTC              185 points
3rd Michael Symons  #31 BMW M3 E46                 178 points

Group Three

1st Tom Andrew           #7 KTM X-Bow                    167 points
 2nd Dan Norris-Jones #73 Lotus Exige                   156 points
3rd David Botterill         #8 Porsche 944 Turbo          133 points

The next round of The 2010 GT Cup Championship is on September 11th at Oulton Park

Jock Simpson