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Jun 05, 2014 - 02:39 PM
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Silverstone 500 Frustration For Sharp
Posted by: newsla on Jun 05, 2014 - 02:35 PM
Sports Cars
Silverstone 500 Frustration For Sharp


Tom Sharp had a tough outing in the latest round of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone, with a mechanical failure bringing his challenge to a premature end after an impressive run.

 

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The flagship ‘Silverstone 500’ event is the longest race on the calendar at three hours long, with a huge 38 car grid forming to compete around the iconic Grand Prix circuit at the Home of British Motorsport.

Sharp headed into the weekend with hopes of a strong finish after excelling in the event last season. The meeting started well too, with Sharp and the IDL Racing with CWS team happy with the performance and balance of the car after a strong run in free practice one.

Unfortunately their progress was halted when on the opening lap of free practice two, team-mate Colin White was caught up in a multi-car incident. With extensive damage to the front of their Ginetta G55 GT3, the team were in a race against time to get the car on track for qualifying.

After a fantastic effort from the team they made it out for the session, and after losing crucial time to fine tune the set-up of the Ginetta in FP2, they were relieved to put themselves nineteenth on the grid.

Starting in the thick of the midfield, the team knew a clean opening stint would be the key to a strong race. White started in the driver’s seat and negotiated the first period well, climbing up the order to fourteenth by lap eleven.

The safety car emerged on track shortly afterwards, an opportunity White and the majority of the field used to make their first pitstops. The team lost some ground in the shuffle, with Sharp taking to the track in sixteenth.

The 22 year old matched the front-runners pace from the off, and impressed as he quickly worked his way through the field into twelfth place. With a large gap to the car ahead, Sharp focused on setting consistent, strong lap times as he steadily increased his lead over the pack behind.

As his stint was coming to an end though, the team were dealt a blow when they were awarded a 1.7 second stop/go penalty for a short first pit-stop. After serving the penalty, Sharp headed back to the pits to hand over to White.

Coming out fourteenth, White moved up a couple of places as rivals ahead hit trouble. He looked set to hand the car over to Sharp in twelfth as the final round of pitstops began, however a mechanical failure on lap sixty left him spinning into the Copse corner barriers and out of the race.

It was a disappointing end to the race for Sharp and the team, who were looking set to salvage a top twelve finish from the weekend. After once again showcasing his great pace, Sharp is now focusing on carding some positive results next time out at Snetterton in three weeks time.

Tom Sharp: “We had a lot still to try with the car in FP2, but an unfortunate collision took us out early on. The team did a great job to repair the heavily damaged car for qualifying, but there wasn't enough time to check everything so 19th on the grid was the best we could achieve.

“The race started well and we were making progress, despite a drive through penalty for a pit lane infringement, but a failure forced us out of the race. It’s frustrating, but we’re focused on bouncing back at Snetterton.”

Rounds Five and Six of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship take place at Snetterton over the weekend of June 21/22, with the Norfolk-based circuit hosting two hour-long races.


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