Aston Martin GT4 Challenge: Round 3 Donington

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The 40 minute session was very wet, with all cars starting off tentatively. James Appleby set the early pace in the Generation AMR number 8 car followed closely by Desmond Smail in the 4.3-engined Mardis Gras car. After twenty minutes the session was still led by the number 8 car now with Ant Scragg behind the wheel second was Michael Mallock in the RS Williams number 32 machine and third was Mario Cordoni in the Riviera Swiss number 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 number 24 car held the provisional pole position with Stuart Hall in the Stratton Motorsport number 91 entry second, third was Richard Abra now driving the number 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 number 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 as well 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 the 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:

1. 8 Richard Abra/James Appleby/Ant Scragg- Generation AMR – 1:22.857
2. 91 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall/Tiffany Chittenden - Stratton Motorsport –1:23.252
3. 12 Karsten le Blanc/Dan de Zille - Nick Mee Racing – :23.645
4. 32 Michael Mallock/Ray Mallock – RS Williams –1:23.967
5. 24 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage racing –1:24.006
6. 22 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche/Denis Tribel – Stratton Motorsport – 1:25.183
7. 38 Steven Byrne/Phiroze Bilimoria – MCD Racing – 1:25.310
8. 10 Mario Cordoni/Roberto Rayneri – Aston Riviera – 1:25.978
9. 7 Mike Brown/Dave West - MB Racing –1:26.106
10. 80 George Miller/Les Goble – Tiger Coffee Aston –1:26.317
11. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough - Mardi Gras – 1:27.867
12. 47 Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley/Mark Walker - Stratton Motorsport –1:32.033

Round 3 Donington Park National Saturday 25th June

Race Report

This was to be a three-hour race with three mandatory pit stops for all teams. Ant Scragg in the Generation AMR number 8 entry led the field round on the green flag, he 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 number 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 7 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, fourth was the Nicholas Mee number 12 entry of Karsten Le Blanc at the wheel. Chris Kemp, in the Stratton Motorsport number 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 pit stop time over and above the three 2 minute mandatory stops that all the other teams faced. This 56-second penalty was 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, this 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 who hadn’t pitted then decided to make their pit stops one of which was the then leader Michael Mallock in the number 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, there had been too much damage done to the safety barriers. The Pit lane was then closed, with several cars still waiting to finish their pit stops. The rest of the field was brought round to the starting grid to await a decision from the clerk of the course. The decision was made by the clerk and the stewards and the race had to be stopped permanently, this was due to the extent of the damage to the barriers and the time it was going to take to repair them. As only 54 of the 180 minutes had been completed the race was declared null and void.

Race Result Round 3


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 four and the grid for the race would be taken from the qualifying session from round 3.

Round 4 Donington Park National Sunday 26th June

Race Report

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 Rays 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 were Richard Taffinder/Tim Eakin.

There was a ten minute warm up session to get everybody set for the two hour race. Richard Abra in car number 8 led the field round for the green flag lap, in the hot sunny conditions, with Tiffany Chittenden along side on the front row in car number 91. A very clean start was made by all with car 8 taking the lead; car 91 was second, third was the Nicholas Mee number12 entry with Christiaen van Lanschot at the wheel, fourth was Tom Black in the number 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 away passed 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 where Richard ran wide on the exit of Coppice reducing his lead to just over 2 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 number 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, the team managed to repair the car and got 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 number 47 car pitted with a misfire, but the Stratton Motorsport team who run the car manage to fix the problem and get the car back in the race.

Next to pit was the Mardis Gras number 5 entry of Desmond Smail swapping driving duties to Julian Reddyhough and taking on fuel and four new tyres. The first round of pit stops were now in well under way with cars 24, the leader car 8 and car 12 all pitting for driver changes, tyres and fresh tyres. Car 91 also pitted at this time but they 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 pit stops it was Richard Abra in car number 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 pit stops it was the Vantage racing entry, car number 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 their 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 pit stops 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 1 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 then got a run on him coming out of Redgate corner, this meant he was along side and passed going down through Hollywood. Stuart now set about catching Mark Poole whose lead was now down to about 35 seconds there was only about 15 laps left to be completed and with Stuart catching Mark at about 3 seconds per lap this was going to be extremely close.

The tension started to grow particularly for the team managers of both cars, by lap 84 Stuart had managed to reduce the gap to around 10 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 number 8 car. Stuart had put together a near perfect stint to claim a brilliant victory and the first for the Stratton Motorsport number 91 car in the Aston Martin Challenge of Great Britain. Third was the Vantage racing number 24 car of Alan Bonner who again had showed some very strong pace all through the race.

Race Result

1. 91 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall/Tiffany Chittenden - Stratton Motorsport –91 Laps
2. 8 Mark Poole/Richard Abra - Generation AMR –91 Laps
3. 24 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage racing –91 Laps
4. 12 Karsten le Blanc/Dan De Zille - Nick Mee Racing –91 Laps
5. 80George Miller/Les Goble – Tiger Coffee Aston – 88 Laps
6. 22 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche/Denis Tribel – Stratton Motorsport – 87 Laps
7. 47 Stuart Patterson/Mark Walker - Stratton Motorsport –84 Laps
8. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough - Mardi Gras – 84 Laps
9. 56 Richard Taffinder/Tim Eakin– 888 Racing – 84 Laps


10. 7 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps/Dave West - MB Racing – 54 Laps
11. 38 Steven Byrne/Phiroze Bilimoria/Spencer Marsh – 41 Laps
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