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Aston Martin GT4

AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, Round 2, Snetterton 300
Dezille & le Blanc Deliver NMR’s First Win Of The Season

Qualifying

The 40 minute session started with a greasy circuit and a hanging drizzle in the air, and with less than two minutes completed the red flag was brought out for an incident involving Alan Hudd in car #3, who went off at Agostini in very slippery conditions. The car was damaged quite heavily at the front end and unfortunately wasn’t repairable for the race. The session was restarted after a 20-minute delay for barrier repairs. Richard Abra set the early pace in the Generation AMR #8 car, putting in some fantastic times as he mastered the tricky track conditions and on only his third lap set an amazing lap time which would give him and Mark Poole their second pole position of the season.

The fight for the other positions on the grid ensued, with Olivier Bouche, in the Stratton Motorsport #22 car, holding second place for most of the session; that was until Dan Dezille, in the Nicholas Mee Racing #12 car, put in a flyer on his very last lap of qualifying to take the second place spot on the grid. In fourth was the Vantage Racing #24 entry of Tom Black and Alan Bonner, who were also putting in some top three times right through the session. With five minutes to go the heavens opened and put an end to a very exciting qualifying session. So it was two out of two for Mark Poole, Richard Abra and the Generation AMR crew.

AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, Snetterton 300 - Qualifying
 PosNo.TeamDriversCarTime
18Generation AMR Mark Poole
Richard Abra
Aston Martin GT42:01.783
212Nicholas Mee RacingKarsten le Blanc
Dan Dezille
Aston Martin GT42:03.165
322Stratton Motorsport Pierre Mantello
Olivier Bouche
Aston Martin GT42:03.488
424Vantage Racing Tom Black
Alan Bonner
Aston Martin GT42:03.716
510Aston Riviera Jonathan HartopAston Martin N242:03.747
67MB Racing Mike Brown
Paul Cripps
Dave West

Aston Martin N24

2:03.863
723GMAC Racing Gaurav Burman
Matt Cummings
Aston Martin N242:04.245
891Stratton Motorsport Chris Kemp
Stuart Hall
Aston Martin GT42:04.525
947Stratton Motorsport Stuart Patterson
Paul Bartley
Mark Walker
Aston Martin N242:05.728
1080Tiger Coffee AstonGeorge Miller
Les Goble
Aston Martin N242:05.767
1177Aston Martin LagondaGary Watkins
Andrew Frankel
Aston Martin GT42:06.433
125Mardi Gras Desmond Smail
Julian Reddyhough
Aston Martin N242:13.002
133Saudade Racing Alan Hudd
Chris Scragg
Ant Scragg
Aston Martin N24No time

Race

Mark Poole, in the Generation AMR #8 entry, led the field round on the green flag lap. As the grid approached the line, the tension grew; the lights went out and Poole led the pack into Riches, but was passed by Karsten le Blanc in car #12 and Olivier Bouche in car #22 later in the first lap. Gaurav Burman, in the GMAC Racing #23 entry, spun at the first corner due to cold tyres and then struggled to get the car back on the track, which brought out the safety car. Burman managed to get the car going again and the lights on the safety car were extinguished, allowing le Blanc to hold the lead as the race was restarted. On Lap 3 Andrew Frankel, in the Aston Martin Lagonda #77 car, made a move down the inside of Paul Cripps, in the Mike Brown Racing #7 entry, at Nelson. There wasn’t enough room and he collided with Cripps, bouncing off the right hand side of the #7 machine and over the apex curbing; which in turn cracked the sump of the #77. Frankel, not knowing the car was dropping its engine oil, drove back to the pits and to an early retirement. There was now oil all through Coram and Murrays, with the first to face it being Karsten le Blanc, who spun on the exit of Murrays. The oil was causing mayhem with quite a few cars taking to the grass and inevitably the safety car had to be brought out again.

The new leader was Alan Bonner in car #24, who navigated his way through the oil perfectly; le Blanc, Bouche, Jonathan Hartop in car #10 and Poole closely followed. The Marshalls did a fantastic job clearing up the oil, but there had been so much dropped that it took another five laps behind the safety car to make the circuit safe again. In the meantime the pit stop window had now opened.

All teams had to take three mandatory pit stops during the three-hour race. The #12 car was the first to stop, taking fuel and front tyres, but le Blanc remained at the wheel of the Nicholas Mee Racing machine. On the next lap Alan Bonner in car #24 pitted for fuel and front tyres but again no driver change. On Lap 10 Hartop in car #10 and Chris Kemp, in the Stratton Motorsport #91 entry, both pitted. Hartop took on new tyres and fuel but remained in the car, as he would for the whole race, as he was the only solo driver on the grid. Kemp took on new tyres and fuel and also a change of driver, with Stuart Hall taking the wheel of the #91 machine. At the end of the next lap cars 8, 23, 5, 7 and 80 all pitted, the teams deciding that this was the best strategy for their cars at this point. On Lap 13 the race was restarted, with the new leader being Bouche in car #22, who hadn’t pitted during the safety car period.

Olivier led from Paul Bartley, in the EQ8 Energy #47 entry. Third was le Blanc and fourth was Bonner. Hall and Richard Abra, now driving the #8 car, were both making progress through the field. Hall, being a professional driver, had been given a time penalty that was added to each of the three mandatory stops, so was keen to show his pace in trying to gain back the 42 seconds of penalty time that he and co driver Chris Kemp had been given. Bouche held the lead until Lap 18 when Hall managed to pass going into Agostini. Hall now led from Bouche, with Bonner third, Abra fourth and le Blanc in fifth.

Hall started to show his pace and put some fantastic laps together. On Lap 27 Abra passed Bonner for second place and then tried to reduce Hall’s lead. On Lap 38 Bonner was the first to start the second round of pit stops; more fuel tyres and a driver change took place with Tom Black now taking the wheel of the #24 machine. On the next lap le Blanc was the next to stop, handing over to Dan Dezille in the #12 car. Next to pit was Hall, who handed the driving duties back over to Chris Kemp. Two laps later Richard Abra pitted from the then lead to hand over to Mark Poole; the next phase of the race was now starting to take shape.

On Lap 38 George Miller, in the Tiger Coffee Aston #80 entry, had an engine problem and went off into the gravel on his own oil at Coram – again, oil had been dropped all through the long turn. Most of the field didn’t see the oil, which led to a number of cars going off the track, including Chris Kemp in car #91, Mark Poole in car #8 and Tom Black in car #24. For the third time in the race the safety car was brought out, with the then leader being Poole.

The third round of pit stops then ensued, with all teams coming in for their final mandatory pit stops in the safety car period. After all the pit stops had taken place it was Dan Dezille in the #12 car who now led from Tom Black, Richard Abra and Stuart Hall. On Lap 54 Abra passed Black for second and set about catching Dezille, who still had a healthy lead. On Lap 70 Hall passed Black for third and then the news came in that the Generation AMR`s #8 car had to serve a penalty for exceeding the amount of time any one driver could spend in the car. The rules state that in two and three driver teams no one driver can exceed 67% of the race distance. The penalty decided, by the clerk of the course, was for a driver change to be made and on lap 72 Richard Abra pitted to put Mark Poole back in the car to finish the race. The EQ8 car of Bartley, Walker and Patterson was then called in for a drive-through penalty as their second stop was slightly short.

With less than five minutes to go the heavens opened, all drivers deciding to drive round very gently for the last two laps on slick tyres in very slippery conditions. The race had a bit of everything with lots of drama but it was Dan Dezille and Karsten le Blanc in their Nicholas Mee Racing #12 machine who crossed the line first to take a fantastic victory and the first for the team in the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain.

AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, Snetterton 300 - Race Result
 PosNo.TeamDriversCarLaps/TimeBest
112Nicholas Mee RacingKarsten le Blanc
Dan Dezille
Aston Martin GT476 laps
3:01:14.998
2:02.261
291Stratton Motorsport Chris Kemp
Stuart Hall
Aston Martin GT476 laps
+1:03.650
2:00.732
324Vantage Racing Tom Black
Alan Bonner
Aston Martin GT476 laps
+1:41.683
2:03.362
48Generation AMR Mark Poole
Richard Abra
Aston Martin GT476 laps
+1:54.393
2:01.959
57MB Racing Mike Brown
Paul Cripps
Dave West

Aston Martin N24

75 laps2:05.864
610Aston Riviera Jonathan HartopAston Martin N2475 laps2:03.732
722Stratton Motorsport Pierre Mantello
Olivier Bouche
Aston Martin GT474 laps2:03.672
823GMAC Racing Gaurav Burman
Matt Cummings
Aston Martin N2472 laps2:05.011
95Mardi Gras Desmond Smail
Julian Reddyhough
Aston Martin N2469 laps2:12.492
1047Stratton Motorsport Stuart Patterson
Paul Bartley
Mark Walker
Aston Martin N2463 laps2:07.044
1180Tiger Coffee AstonGeorge Miller
Les Goble
Aston Martin N2437 laps
DNC
2:05.531
1277Aston Martin LagondaGary Watkins
Andrew Frankel
Aston Martin GT43 laps
DNC
2:13.543
133Saudade Racing Alan Hudd
Chris Scragg
Ant Scragg
Aston Martin N24DNSNo time