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Jul 14, 2014 - 06:27 AM
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Bruising Belgian Battle for Beechdean
Posted by: newsla on Jul 14, 2014 - 06:26 AM
Sports Cars
Bruising Belgian Battle for Beechdean

Reigning champion British GT champion Andrew Howard has vowed to bounce back from a tough weekend at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit and continue the fight to retain the title for Beechdean AMR.


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The ice-cream-team endured a trying time in the fifth race weekend of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship, but their resolve to finish the season top of the standings hasn’t melted.

As has been the case throughout the season Howard and driving partner Jonny Adam underlined their pace with another full-flavour qualifying performance, clinching third and second on the grid for Saturday’s double-header.

As the field rolled on to the grid for race one changing weather conditions saw teams forced into making last-minute tyre choice calls. Beechdean covered championship rivals Ecurie Ecosse and opted for wets, but as the 7km track began to dry fast decided to pit on the first formation lap for slicks. Despite that drama cancelling out their fine starting position, Howard produced a stunning drive to push the team back into the top ten before the pit window.

The team were hit hard at the changeover due to a 15-second success penalty as a result of their win in the previous round at Snetterton, meaning Jonny Adam re-joined in 12th. The factory Aston Martin racing driver battled hard to once again put the V12 Vantage GT3 into the top ten in the closing stages. A post-race penalty for the car ahead then saw the Scooby-Doo liveried Aston promoted to ninth after the chequered flag.

The second outing of the day in the Ardennes forest also proved to be a rollercoaster for The Mystery Machine, as a race broken up by contact and safety cars was further compromised by a burst radiator pipe late in the day that saw the Beechdean V12 Vantage limp home in 15th at the finish line.

While the GT3 category failed to reward the Beechdean duo with just desserts for some determined driving, the team’s GT4 pairing enjoyed a much sweeter weekend. Jake Giddings and Ross Wylie scored a second place in race one, then topped that by claiming victory in the second race after some excellent work by their pit crew. The Beechdean GT4 crew now lead the class drivers and team championships in their debut season.

Andrew Howard summed up the weekend saying: “It just wasn't our weekend for the GT3 side of the garage. We had strong pace but were just unlucky in a few situation on race day. Brands Hatch is next up and is a strong circuit for us as we won there last year, so we aim to do the same in 2014 and battle right to the end for the title. It was great to see our GT4 Beechdean AMR drivers and team have a successful weekend. They now lead the championship and both guys are driving very well in what is a hard-fought class in 2014."

Jonny Adam added: “Sometimes things go for you and other times they don’t, and it was just one of those days where we didn’t get the breaks. We showed good pace in qualifying as usual which was very positive, and we are still in the hunt for the championship which is the main thing. We are already fired up to bounce back by repeating last year’s success at Brands Hatch. The Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 is such a strong machine and the two-hour race format really suits it, so I’m confident we can get keep our title bid on track.”

Before then Beechdean AMR will return to the famous Belgian circuit later this month for the prestigious 24 Hours of Spa on July 23-27.

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