Tough start for Aston runners at Monza

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The first round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup served itself as a timely reminder as to just how competitive the SRO's flagship European based series can be and just how small the margins are if you want to succeed in this multi-class racing.

2017 Pro-Am Champions Oman Racing had already been forced to rebuild the front end of the V12 Vantage GT3 due to chassis damage loosing valuable track track time for their now Silver Cup line up with Euan McKay and Charlie Eastwood joining Omani Ahmad Al Harthy. Relentless work from the TF Sport engineers at least permitted the three drivers to take something resembling a race car in to Pre Qualifying late on Saturday

Newcomers to the series R-Motorsport and their Arden engineering squad, despite their previous racing knowledge and experience, were always going to be be on a steep learning curve competiting against teams that have raced at the highest level of GT3 racing for many years. 

So for both teams, a decent finish and points haul was always going to be first on the books rather than ambitious desires of podium finishes at the ultra quick Italian circuit.

This afternoons start of the three hours of Monza was to be no exception to the Blancpain norm, as fifty three cars steamed down the start straight and into the first Rettifilo for the first time. Nicki Thiim would be the first of the Aston runners to arrive at the traditional bottle neck in his #76 R-Motorsport Vantage GT3, just ahead of his team mate Marvin Kirchhofer just two places behind whilst Al Harthy would be starting his #97 car from twenty ninth on the grid - all would thankfully navigate that accident black spot.

Whilst the two R-Motorsport cars were able to hold relative station on the opening laps, Al Harthy would loose ten places to a Lamborghini delays many of the mid field on the second time around and he would spent the rest of his one hour stint recovering the situation before handing over to Euan McKay in P24. Unfortunately for McKay, one of his first duties within the car would be to serve a Drive Through for Al Harthy's transgression of speeding under the first Full Course Yellow period.

Also pitting just after the hour mark would be the two R-Motorsport cars with Jake Dennis taking over in the #76 and Alex Brundle in the #62 car dropping both back to P14 and P17 respectively. Coming to the end of his stint however, circumstances would necessitate Dennis to pit his car for reasons as yet unknown although they were race ending issues!

Entering into the final hour of the race, it was the turn of Maxime Martin and Charlie Eastwood to make up the gaps to the cars infant as the #62 and #97 pushed to the end. With podiums clearly off the agenda early on it was just a case of how many points each could recoup going into the next round as many others in each of their classes had also faltered.

For Martin, his effort would be rewarded with a three place increase to their Qualifying position to finish P9 overall whilst Eastwood was rewarded with a P19 finish overall - P5 in the Silver Cup - valuable points for both as the series moves to Silverstone in mid May.

Early indications are that 2108 will be a tough season in Pro and Silver Cup for these AMR runners!

Photo credits - BES / TF Sport / R-Motorsport

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes