ECURIE ECOSSE OVERCOME ADVERSITY FOR BRITISH GT PODIUM AT SILVERSTONE
• Incidents, handicaps and radio issues scupper victory chances
• Third consecutive rostrum helps Attard and Sims retain championship lead
Ecurie Ecosse Powered By Black Bull retained their British GT Championship points lead thanks to Marco Attard and Alexander Sims’ third podium in as many rounds after an incident-packed race at Silverstone on Sunday (June 1).
Following a win and second place in their last two domestic outings, the legendary Scottish squad’s chances of notching up another victory were dashed by communication issues during a Safety Car period, not to mention multiple collisions caused by over-zealous rivals.
After another brilliant ‘Pro’ and ‘Am’ showing in qualifying, the Barwell Motorsport-run #79 BMW Z4 GT3 clinched its third front-row grid slot of 2014 with a combined time only 0.1sec slower than pole-sitters Beechdean AMR.
But their good work was almost undone at the start of Sunday’s race when the PGF-Kinfaun Aston Martin tipped Attard into a half-spin approaching turn one. Only his quick reactions saved the car from fully pirouetting, but a position was lost all the same.
With the Safety Car called upon after just 30 minutes, the decision was made to pit the Scot from third. But the team’s rotten luck under caution periods this season would continue when a radio glitch ensured their call went unanswered.
Sims re-emerged from the overdue stop and immediately set about doing what he does best by gaining five positions in just six laps, as well as setting the fastest time. It was imperative that the BMW factory driver pushed hard if he was to negate the 15-second success penalty incurred for finishing runner-up at Rockingham, and proceeded to keep the hammer down for over an hour.
Attard then continued the good work after the penultimate stop by remaining in close proximity to fellow podium contenders Beechdean-AMR and M-Sport throughout his 50-minute stint, before Sims took over for one final time.
Indeed, he was able to quickly catch and pass Jonny Adam’s Aston Martin, which had taken advantage of the 15-second handicap. But it was Steven Kane’s Bentley that now posed the biggest threat from behind and, thanks to fresh rubber, was right on the blue and black Bavarian machine’s tail with only three laps remaining.
With third place up for grabs, an over-ambitious move by Kane on the penultimate lap resulted in Sims being spun around at Stowe, denying Ecurie Ecosse a hard-fought podium. That was until a post-race investigation ruled that the move shouldn’t go unpunished, thus elevating Sims and Attard back on to the rostrum and lead of both teams’ and drivers’ championships.
Marco Attard: “After losing temporary radio contact in the first stint I missed the all-important call to pit! However the team and Alexander did a great job to get us third place and we’re now looking forward to the two Snetterton races. Well done Barwell and Ecurie Ecosse!”
Alexander Sims: “Quite honestly I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed with the end result on Sunday. The radio issue really cost us the chance to fight for the win. But aside from that everyone did a very good job all weekend and once again Marco showed himself to be one of the best Am drivers out there. I had some great battles to come back through in my first stint so from a racing perspective I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking ahead, I really hope that Jonny [Cocker] and Marco have a great weekend at Snetterton as I’ll be cheering for them whilst at the Nurburgring!”
Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Managing Director: “We had the pace and strategy to win today, but third place at least keeps our great podium record intact.”
Ecurie Ecosse resume their quest for this year’s British GT Championship crown on June 21/22 at Snetterton where Jonny Cocker will be deputising for the Nurburgring 24 Hours-bound Sims.
British GT Championship Standings (top six)
1. Ecurie Ecosse 74.5 points
2. Oman Racing Team 73
3. Beechdean AMR 72
4. AF Corse 56
5. Triple 8 50.5
6. FF Corse 37.5