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Jun 25, 2014 - 06:29 AM
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Ecurie Ecosse Rack Up Another British GT Podium At Snetterton
Posted by: newsla on Jun 25, 2014 - 06:17 AM
Sports Cars
Ecurie Ecosse Rack Up Another British GT Podium At Snetterton


Ecurie Ecosse Powered By Black Bull maintained their assault on this year’s British GT Championship title with another pole position and podium in round four at Snetterton last weekend (June 21/22).

 

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Marco Attard, racing alongside super-sub Jonny Cocker in the absence of regular Pro team-mate Alexander Sims, now lies second in the standings after missing out on victory by just 0.5sec at the end of Sunday’s opening encounter, before a late spin demoted the Barwell Motorsport-run BMW Z4 GT3 to 10th in race two.

Former British GT champion Cocker proved himself to be a worthy stand-in for Sims, who was on official BMW duty at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, by heading the Pro practice times on Saturday morning. Not to be outdone, Attard duly lapped eight tenths quicker than his nearest rival in the Am session to give the legendary Scottish outfit a huge boost ahead of qualifying.

Attard has consistently been one of the fastest amateur drivers this season and again demonstrated his prowess by demolishing the field to easily secure pole by over half a second. With red flags then restricting track time for the Pro drivers, and traffic plaguing each attempt, Cocker did very well to qualify fourth for the second of the weekend’s races.

A textbook start to Sunday morning’s one-hour race helped Attard pull clear of the field before establishing a healthy five-second lead. However, a success penalty incurred for finishing on the podium last time out at Silverstone ensured that the same amount of time would be applied to their standard pit-stop and driver change.

Alas, Attard’s efforts to cancel out the deficit ultimately came up tantalisingly short when the chasing Trackspeed Porsche left its pit box just as the newly installed Cocker was driving past. To many it constituted an unsafe release, but with no penalty forthcoming the final result would be decided on-track.

Although Cocker could remain glued to Phil Keen’s bootlid through the corners, the Porsche’s superior straight-line speed made any move in the braking zones all-but impossible. And with the team’s main championship rivals running further down the order, discretion proved the better part of valour – albeit by only half a second at the chequered flag.

But for a late spin, the pairing might have scored another strong result later on Sunday afternoon.

After an early accident necessitated a lengthy red flag period, the race finally resumed with Cocker looking to take third while simultaneously resisting the Aston Martin behind. But once again Ecurie Ecosse’s driver change was compromised by a 10-second success penalty, leaving Attard sixth by the time he eventually exited the pits.

That soon became fifth thanks to an excellent pass around the outside of the similar Triple Eight-run BMW at Sears Hairpin. But when attempting the same move for fourth late in the race the Z4’s tail broke free, pushing Attard wide onto the grass and into a half-spin that saw him drop to 10th.

Despite that, Attard and Ecurie Ecosse are just 11.5 points behind Beechdean AMR’s championship-leading Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam with four races remaining.

Marco Attard: “Jonny did a great job under pressure and certainly put a lot of pressure on Phil Keen in the opening race! It was another fantastic result for the team and our championship challenge. The pace was also there in race two so it was a shame to miss out on a better result. As always a big thanks must go to the team and Jonny for their professional job all weekend. I’m now really looking forward to Spa, which should suit Alexander, myself and our BMW.”

Jonny Cocker: “A massive thanks to everyone at Barwell Motorsport and Ecurie Ecosse for inviting me along to drive at Snetterton’s British GT round. Marco did an incredible job all weekend; he was consistently the strongest Am driver and took a very convincing pole. Unfortunately luck wasn’t quite on our side during my qualifying run but to secure a podium in the first race was a fantastic result and ensured a decent points haul for the team. Best of luck to them for the rest of the season.”

Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Managing Director: “It was a very strong weekend for us performance-wise, with Marco and super-sub Jonny doing a fantastic job. We were unlucky not to outscore the championship-leading Beechdean AMR factory Aston, which has to be the goal at Spa.”

This weekend sees Ecurie Ecosse return to Blancpain Endurance Series action at Paul Ricard where the driver line-up of Alasdair McCaig, Andrew Smith and Olly Bryant are targeting another strong result. That’s followed on July 11/12 by British GT’s annual overseas excursion, which this season takes place at Spa-Francorchamps, where Sims will be back alongside title-chasing Attard.

British GT Championship standings (after 6 of 10 races)
1. Beechdean AMR 105 points
2. Ecurie Ecosse 93.5
3. Oman Racing Team 77
4. Triple Eight 75.5
5. AF Corse 58
6. Trackspeed 56
7. FF Corse 55.5
8. MP Motorsport AMR 48
9. Strata 21 36.5
10. PGF-Kinfaun AMR 32



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