HPR continue their fine form in GT Cup

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Two race wins and a podium finish formed another sensational GT Cup weekend for TF Sport on the world-famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (9-10 May).

The first of two GT Cup qualifying sessions (Saturday 9 May) was mired by light, localised rain showers, but double Donington Park winner, Paul Bailey, took his TF Sport-prepared Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 to second overall.

 Bailey fell to third on the opening tour of the 2.30mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in the 50-minute pit stop race, as polesitter Phil Burgan kept the fast-starting Richard Chamberlain at bay.
However, the lead was short-lived for Burgan, as positions chopped and changed following a Safety Car intervention that allowed TF Sport to absorb a 15-second success penalty during the compulsory driver-change.

Andy Schulz took the reins and soon made headway, snatching the initiative from Nigel Greensall on lap 17 and fending off Aaron Scott in the JMH Automotive Ferrari 458 Italia to be the first to receive the chequered flag.

“I went out under the Safety Car and probably should have got on terms with Nigel (Greensall) a bit sooner at the restart, as it left me with a bit of work to do to catch up,” said Schulz. “Aaron Scott was quite close behind me so I knew we were on for a good battle. Nigel was tricky to pass, but the three of us had a good scrap and, once I had the lead, I just had to keep my head down and manage the gap to Aaron. It was a good, fun race.”

Sunday’s (10 May) qualifying was initially led by the Porsche of Chamberlain until Bailey knocked him off his perch to seal pole position for Round 5 – the first sprint race of the weekend.
The Rutland racer got away well from P1 and was first to dive down Paddock Hill Bend, leaving those behind him to squabble amongst themselves for the remaining positions and building a healthy lead to take another commanding victory – his fourth win from five races.

Reflecting on a dominant performance, a chirpy Bailey said: “That was a really good race. Wayne (Marrs) managed to keep the Audi behind me and gave me a bit of a lead. The Audi started catching me so I had to push on a bit more and I was lucky with traffic. The team then told me to back off a bit to save the car as I’d gained such a big lead, so I just brought it home and I’m really happy with another win.”

Bailey started the third and final GT Cup race of the weekend in Kent from second, with the FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Darren Nelson alongside him on pole.

The pair were passed quickly by Scott and engaged in a fraught fight for the runner-up spot, Bailey seeing off Nelson’s advances to conclude a sensational weekend on the second step of the podium.
AllFloors Express Managing Director, Martin Johnston, meanwhile, once again finished all three races behind the wheel of the team’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 en route to bettering his lap times with each and every session, as his confidence continues to grow. 

“It was another fantastic weekend for me and I yet again improved in every single session,” said Johnston. “The guys at TF Sport have been brilliant in providing me with a strong and reliable car, while making me feel very comfortable. I couldn’t fault the team. I also couldn’t fault the organisers at Brands Hatch, who ran a jam packed schedule with no delays. I’m looking forward to cracking on at Rockingham now.”

TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “Paul (Bailey) and Andy (Schulz) seem to be on a roll at the moment and the weekend at Brands Hatch couldn’t have been any better. Paul is driving exceptionally well this year – he did a brilliant job to qualify third and first all on his own, staying composed and using a very narrow window to pull off some solid laps on a heavy congested circuit. He continued to do a good job in the first stint of the pit stop race and Andy drove brilliantly to get us into the lead, see off Aaron Scott’s Ferrari while in a really tight battle and then dealing the traffic to build a gap.

“Two more composed drivers from Paul followed on Sunday, but the final race was tricky and it would have been very hard for him to beat a pro driver like Scott, but we can’t turn our noses up at a second place. Martin (Johnston), meanwhile, did a tremendous job, improving dramatically every time he got in the car. He’s getting closer to the pace all the time while learning the car and the circuits and will continue to grow in confidence as the year goes on. I just hope we can continue in the same vein next time out.”

Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the GT Cup will be hosted by Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, Northamptonshire (23-24 May).

Source material - TF Sport
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