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Aston Martin GT4

AMR GT4 Challenge Of Great Britain, Donington Park
Hall's Charge Claims Honours For Stratton

Qualifying

The 40 minute session was very wet, with all cars starting off tentatively. James Appleby set the early pace in the Generation AMR #8 car, followed closely by Desmond Smail in the 4.3l-engined Mardis Gras car. After twenty minutes the session was still led by the #8 car, now with Ant Scragg behind the wheel, while second was Michael Mallock in the RS Williams #32 machine and third was Mario Cordoni in the Riviera Swiss #10 car. There were some very close battles all through the field as all drivers started to gain confidence in very wet conditions.

The last ten minutes of the session proved to be very exciting. With the track drying slightly and all drivers now focused on putting together their fastest laps possible, Alan Bonner in the Vantage Racing #24 car held the provisional pole position, with Stuart Hall in the Stratton Motorsport #91 entry second. Third was Richard Abra, now driving the #8 car. With five minutes to go Stuart Hall put in a flyer to take provisional pole, but on the very next lap Dan de Zille in the Nicholas Mee #12 machine put in an even better time to move Stuart to second. Third was now Alan Bonner and Richard Abra fourth. Michael Mallock was also putting in some very competitive times, so there was a five-way battle for pole.

The quickest times were still to come, with Stuart Hall setting a 1:23.252 on his very last lap to take provisional pole; that was until Richard Abra put in an amazing lap of 1:22.857 to take the pole position for the third time this season.

Qualifying result:

AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, Donington Park - Qualifying

 PosNo.TeamDriversCarTime
18Generation AMR Richard Abra
James Appleby
Ant Scragg
Aston Martin GT41:22.857
291Stratton Motorsport Chris Kemp
Stuart Hall
Tiffany Chittenden
Aston Martin GT41:23.252
312Nicholas Mee RacingKarsten le Blanc
Dan De Zille
Aston Martin GT41:23.645
432RS Williams Michael Mallock
Ray Mallock
Aston Martin GT41:23.967
524Vantage Racing Tom Black
Alan Bonner
Aston Martin N241:24.006
622Stratton Motorsport Pierre Mantello
Olivier Bouche
Denis Tribel
Aston Martin GT41:25.183
738MCD Racing Steven Byrne
Phiroze Bilimoria
Aston Martin N241:25.310
810Aston Riviera Mario Cordoni
Roberto Rayneri
Aston Martin GT41:25.978
97MB Racing Mike Brown
Dave West

Aston Martin N24

1:26.106
1080Tiger Coffee AstonGeorge Miller
Les Goble
Aston Martin N241:26.317
115Mardi Gras Desmond Smail
Julian Reddyhough
Aston Martin GT41:27.867
1247Stratton Motorsport Stuart Patterson
Paul Bartley
Mark Walker
Aston Martin N241:32.033

Round 3, Donington Park National, Saturday 25th June

This was to be a three-hour race with three mandatory pitstops for all teams. Ant Scragg in the Generation AMR #8 entry led the field round on the green flag and got a good start in the dry conditions to lead the pack into turn one, but was later passed by Alan Bonner in car 24 and by Michael Mallock in the RS Williams #32 car; Michael then went on to pass Alan into the chicane to lead at the end of the first lap. Michael, now with clear air in front of him, started to put in some very quick lap times to increase his lead to over seven seconds by the end of Lap 8.

Ant Scragg then started to show his real pace by passing Alan Bonner through Hollywood on Lap 9 and setting the fastest lap of the race on the very same lap, he then set about catching Michael and on Lap 11 managed to pass him into the chicane. Ant then continued to set some very quick lap times and managed to draw out a good lead. Michael was now in second with Alan Bonner third, while fourth was the Nicholas Mee #12 entry of Karsten Le Blanc at the wheel.

Chris Kemp, in the Stratton Motorsport #91 entry, was the first to pit. This car was carrying a driver handicap-penalty as Chris was sharing with Stuart Hall, who is classified as an FIA gold driver. The penalty set was for 56 seconds of additional pitstop time over and above the three two-minute mandatory stops that all the other teams faced. The 56 seconds were spread across the three stops, meaning the 91 car had to take three stops of 2 minutes 18 seconds. Chris handed over driver duties to Tiffany Chittenden and the car took on fuel and four new tyres. Next to pit was the Vantage Racing entry, with Tom Black taking over driving duties from Alan Bonner. All the key contenders then started to pit, including cars 8, 12 and 22.

Then news came through that car 10, the Swiss Riviera machine driven by Mario Cordoni, had run wide at the Kraner curves and ended up in the gravel trap sideways at the old hairpin, which had sent the car into a roll. The car ended up going through both the tyre barriers and the concrete safety barriers, bringing out the safety car.

The last remaining cars which hadn’t pitted then decided to make their pitstops, one of which was the then leader Michael Mallock in the #32 machine; this car also carrying a driver handicap-penalty for Michael being an FIA silver driver. The safety car managed to gather the field together, but within that first safety car lap the decision had been made to red flag the race due to the extent of the damage done to the safety barriers. The pitlane was then closed, with several cars still waiting to finish their pitstops. The rest of the field was brought round to the starting grid to await a decision from the clerk of the course; which was that the race had to be stopped permanently due to the time required to make the necessary barrier repairs. As only 54 of the 180 minutes had been completed the race was declared null and void.

Race Result Round 3

NULL AND VOID

The decision had also been made by the clerk of the course to extend the 90 minute race the following morning to a 120 minute race to try and recover some of the lost race time from Round 3. There would be no qualifying session for Round 4 and the grid for the race would be taken from the qualifying session from Round 3.

Round 4, Donington Park National, Sunday 26th June

With the grid already set from the previous days events there were a few driver changes to mention;

Car 7 Mike Brown/Dave West were joined by Paul Cripps
Car 8 Richard Abra was joined by Mark Poole
Car 10 was unable to make the race due to the damage sustained from the day before.
Car 12 Karsten Le Blanc/Dan de Zille were joined by Christiaen van Lanschot
Car 32 Michael Mallock/Ray Mallock couldn’t do the race due to Ray’s other work commitments with the World Touring Car Series.
Car 38 Steven Byrne/Phiroze Bilimoria were joined by Spencer Marsh
Car 47 Paul Bartley was not able to do the race so left the driving duties to Mark Walker/Stuart Patterson.
Car 56 was a new car to the race and would start at the back of the grid; the two drivers being Richard Taffinder and Tim Eakin.

There was a ten minute warm-up session to get everybody set for the two hour race.

Richard Abra in car #8 led the field round for the green flag lap, in the hot sunny conditions, with Tiffany Chittenden alongside on the front row in car #91. A very clean start was made by all with car 8 taking the lead. Car 91 was second, third was the Nicholas Mee #12 entry with Christiaen van Lanschot at the wheel, fourth was Tom Black in the #24 Vantage Racing machine and fifth was the Tiger Coffee entry of Les Goble.

On Lap 8 Les was fighting his way through the field and managed to find a way past Tom Black to take fourth position. By Lap 9 Richard Abra had managed to gain a 13 second lead over Tiffany Chittenden; that was until Lap 10, when Richard ran wide on the exit of Coppice reducing his lead to just over two seconds. Tiffany then really started to push, putting in some fantastic laps to put Richard under some real pressure. On Lap 14 Les Goble continued his progress, taking third position from Christiaen van Lanschot. Richard Abra again started to find some more pace and began to pull away from Tiffany in car 91. On Lap 15 car #38, the MCD Racing entry of Steven Byrne, ran wide at Coppice and ended up in the gravel. Steven managed to get the car back to the pits to try and assess the damage and remove all of the gravel, after which the team managed to repair the car and get it back in the race.
 
On Lap 19 car 56 - the 888 Racing entry, with Tim Eakin at the wheel - pitted for the first of the two mandatory stops; he then handed over to Richard Taffinder. On Lap 23 the EQ8 racing entry #47 car pitted with a misfire, but the Stratton Motorsport team who run the car managed to fix the problem and get the car back in the race.

Next to pit was the Mardis Gras #5 entry of Desmond Smail, swapping driving duties to Julian Reddyhough and taking on fuel and four new tyres. The first round of pitstops were now well under way, with cars 24, the leader car 8 and car 12 all pitting for driver changes, fuel and fresh tyres. Car 91 also pitted at this time, but had a driver-handicap of 15 seconds per stop being added to the two minutes mandatory time. Once everybody had taken the first round of pitstops it was Richard Abra in car #8 now leading; second was now car 91, driven by Chris Kemp; third was car 7, the MB racing entry driven by Mike Brown; fourth was car 80, with George Miller now driving; and fifth was car 12, now being driven by Karsten Le Blanc.

For the second round of pitstops it was the Vantage racing entry, car #24 of Tom Black, who was the first to stop; Tom passing the driving duties on to Alan Bonner. Next to stop was the Generation AMR crew, with Richard Abra swapping driving duties to Mark Poole. Car 91, the Stratton Motorsport entry, pitted on the same lap to take its second 15 second driver handicap-penalty as well as the two minute mandatory stop, Chris Kemp now handing over to Stuart Hall. Two laps later car 12 then pitted with Karsten Le Blanc handing over driving duties to Dan de Zille. After all the pitstops had been completed it was Mark Poole in car 8 leading, followed by Dan de Zille closing him down at about 2.5 seconds per lap. Third was Alan Bonner, who was being caught by Stuart Hall in car 91 at about a second per lap. We were all set for a fantastically close finish to this thrilling race.

On Lap 70 car 12 suddenly lost pace, with Dan de Zille complaining of loss of power; the team later explaining that there was some sort of fuel starvation issue. This now meant that Mark Poole in car 8 was still leading with Alan Bonner in second, catching Mark at about one second a lap. Third was now the charging Stuart Hall in car 91, who was himself catching Alan at about 1.5 seconds per lap - there was only about 20 minutes of the race left and there was going to be a three-way fight for the race win.

By Lap 76 Stuart had managed to catch Alan Bonner and got a run on him coming out of Redgate corner; this meant he was alongside and able to complete the pass going down through Hollywood. Stuart now set about catching Mark Poole, whose lead was now down to about 35 seconds. There were only about 15 laps left to be completed and, with Stuart catching Mark at about three seconds per lap, this was going to be extremely close.

The tension started to grow, particularly for the team managers of both cars, and by Lap 84 Stuart had managed to reduce the gap to around ten seconds. Mark was driving brilliantly, putting in some very consistent times; then, with only five minutes of the race remaining, Stuart managed to catch and pass Mark for the lead. Mark had fought very hard and had managed to keep enough of a gap to Alan Bonner to secure second place for the Generation AMR #8 car. Stuart had put together a near-perfect stint to claim a brilliant victory and the first for the Stratton Motorsport #91 car in the Aston Martin Challenge of Great Britain. Third was the Vantage racing #24 car of Alan Bonner who again had showed some very strong pace all through the race.

Race result:

AMR GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, Donington Park - Race

 PosNo.TeamDriversCarLaps/TimeBest
191Stratton Motorsport Chris Kemp
Stuart Hall
Tiffany Chittenden
Aston Martin GT491 laps
2:00:09.884
1:12.936
28Generation AMR Richard Abra
Mark Poole
Aston Martin GT491 laps
+8.860
1:12.676
324Vantage Racing Tom Black
Alan Bonner
Aston Martin N2491 laps
+34.325
1:14.351
412Nicholas Mee RacingKarsten le Blanc
Dan De Zille
Christiaen van Lanschot
Aston Martin GT491 laps
+42.419
1:13.546
580Tiger Coffee AstonGeorge Miller
Les Goble
Aston Martin N2488 laps1:15.027
622Stratton Motorsport Pierre Mantello
Olivier Bouche
Denis Tribel
Aston Martin GT487 laps1:14.894
747Stratton Motorsport Stuart Patterson
Mark Walker
Aston Martin N2484 laps1:16.604
85Mardi Gras Desmond Smail
Julian Reddyhough
Aston Martin GT484 laps1:16.165
956888 Racing Richard Taffinder
Tim Eakin
Aston Martin N2484 laps1:18.462
107MB Racing Mike Brown
Dave West
Paul Cripps

Aston Martin N24

54 laps
DNC
1:15.449
1138MCD Racing Steven Byrne
Phiroze Bilimoria
Spencer Marsh
Aston Martin N2441 laps
DNC
1:14.986