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May 28, 2014 - 03:02 PM
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Team Effort Helps Ecurie Ecosse Battle Back To Eighth At Silverstone
Posted by: newsla on May 28, 2014 - 03:00 PM
Sports Cars
Team Effort Helps Ecurie Ecosse Battle Back To Eighth At Silverstone


An all-round team performance helped Ecurie Ecosse Powered By Black Bull fight back from a luckless start to finish eighth in the Pro-Am class at round two of this season’s Blancpain Endurance Series held at Silverstone last weekend (May 23-25).

 

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Despite not matching their exploits from the opening race at Monza, where Alasdair McCaig, Andrew Smith and Olly Bryant guided the Barwell Motorsport-run BMW Z4 GT3 to fourth place on debut in Europe’s premier GT championship, the legendary Scottish squad can still be proud of the fighting spirit that contributed to another solid points haul.

Fate first went against the team during qualifying on Sunday morning when the session was red flagged just as Bryant – the line-up’s designated Pro driver – was completing what would have been his fastest lap, leaving Ecurie Ecosse only eighth in class.

McCaig would be aboard for the start that afternoon but was unable to make any early inroads after a spate of incidents elsewhere pushed the car down to 19th in Pro-Am by the end of lap two. Then, later in his hour-long opening stint, the Scot was once again a victim of circumstance when the Ferrari he was chasing through the fast Maggots/Becketts combination braked hard unexpectedly in avoidance of a slowing Jaguar, leaving McCaig with nowhere to go but into the back of the 458.

But despite the Z4’s front-end damage dramatically affecting its aero balance, Smith – who had relieved McCaig shortly after the clash – was still able to lay the foundations for a stirring fight back up the order that culminated in Bryant prevailing in a late-race tussle for eighth in class with Generation Bentley Racing’s Continental GT3.

Barwell’s crew was also at the heart of the comeback thanks to slick work during both pit visits, one of which was the fastest stop recorded for a driver change, fresh tyres and fuel by any team all weekend.

Together, their combined efforts now see Ecurie Ecosse sit fifth in the teams’ standings, while McCaig, Smith and Bryant are currently sixth in the drivers’ points.

Alasdair McCaig: “It was a tricky weekend for the team and a tough start to the race, too. But my co-drivers and the Barwell crew did a fantastic job to turn the situation around and gain some valuable championship points. We’ll channel what we’ve learned from Silverstone into the next round at Paul Ricard where I’m hopeful of taking the fight to our championship rivals.”

Andrew Smith: “Mixed weather conditions, and especially the heavy rain on Saturday, contributed to a difficult weekend for us, so in the end we were pleased to score some points. Personally, I’m now looking forward to Paul Ricard where hopefully we’ll be back at the sharp end. We also had the busiest garage at our home race, so thanks to everyone who turned out to support the team.”

Olly Bryant: “Altogether it was a very tough weekend, with monsoon conditions limiting the running on Saturday. I made a small mistake in qualifying and then the red flags came out, so couldn't improve. But, if you look at the positives, we’ve left with more points on the board and were once again amongst the fastest teams at pit-stops. That will give us an edge during Spa’s all-important 24-hour race later this season.”

Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Managing Director: “Yes, we managed to bag more solid points, but it’s disappointing that we didn’t maximise our potential at Silverstone. I’m sure it will only serve to drive us forward in search of a podium at the next round, though.”

Ecurie Ecosse will be back at the Northamptonshire venue this weekend eager to retain their British GT Championship points lead in the three-hour Silverstone 500 race. With regular Pro driver Alexander Sims on official BMW duty at the Nurburgring and the team’s Blancpain Endurance Series Pro – Oliver Bryant – also unavailable, Jonny Cocker steps into the breach alongside Marco Attard. The calendar’s blue riband event takes place on Sunday 1 June, with delayed same-day coverage broadcast on Motors TV from 17:00 BST. Highlights will also be shown on Channel 4 and BT Sport.

Meanwhile, the team’s next Blancpain Endurance Series outing takes place at Paul Ricard in France on June 27/28.


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