Progressive steps for Beechdean AMR in Le Mans Cup

Monday, May 13, 2019

Despite his fastest laps of the Monza circuit in GT3 Qualifying on Saturday morning, you could have argued that team boss Andrew Howard sounded a little despondent in his hopes for rain for the duration of the two hour - second round of the 2019 Le Mans Cup from Italy at the weekend.

Starting from P8 in the GT3 field, Howard however took the start of the race and survived something of a fraught opening lap amongst the thirty one car LMP3/GT3 entry. Whilst the top two Ferrari's and Mercedes AMG sped off into the distance, Howard quietly set about doing what he could do considering his own Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3's performance to start picking off individual cars to move up to P6 in class by the end of the first thirty minutes of racing.

A few laps later, a great move on the #35 Mercedes saw Howard move up yet another position moving up to P5 just ahead of the mandatory pit stop window at the hour mark. Howards earlier hope for rain was beginning to have some degree of possibility as track forecasts evolved as the laps ticked by and he pitted the #99 car just ahead of mid distance to hand over to co-driver Ross Gunn.

Just after most cars had completed their stops a Full Course Yellow was called by Race Control in order to recover a stranded LMP3 on the far side of the circuit by which time Gunn had already collected another scalp for the team to move up to P4 in class.

With little over twenty three minutes remaining, dark clouds and bolts of lightning were becoming visible around the circuit as the expected storms approached and the pre storm gloom descended around the track. Finally, with just fifteen minutes of the race remaining the rain began to fall and it would become a game of chance of where your car was relative to pit entry as the track became wetter by the minute.

Ten minutes left and most of the grid came into pit lane as another FCY was called for a spun car but is quickly recalled to allow a five minute dash to the flag. Sadly for the #99 crew, the rain and indeed the latter FCY came too late for Gunn as he had pitted under green loosing himself significant time to the Spirit Of Race Ferrari ahead of them for the final step of the podium.

Still, thats still another credible points finish for the Beechdean team as they now look forward to the next two races of the championship at Le Mans in June with a race on both Thursday and on Saturday morning ahead of the full World Endurance Championship 24Hr race. They also move up to P3 in the GT3 Championship some way it has to be said behind the two dominant Ferrari's of Kessel Racing and Luzich Racing.

In the meantime, its a quick visit to Snetterton next weekend for the second round of the British GT Championship with Howard being joined again by factory AMR driver Marco Sorensen.

Photo credits - Le Mans Cup

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