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Sep 02, 2014 - 03:21 PM
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Encouraging Aston Debut For Sharp At Brands
Posted by: newsla on Sep 02, 2014 - 03:17 PM
Sports Cars
Encouraging Aston Debut For Sharp At Brands


Tom Sharp showed impressive pace and podium finish potential during his maiden outing in an Aston Martin in the penultimate round of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch GP, though early drama for team-mate Colin White left them unable to capitalise on their pace in the race.

 

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A late deal saw Sharp and White trade in their Ginetta G55 GT3 for a one-off drive in MP Motorsport’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for the visit to Brands, a circuit they have a strong history at after they briefly led the corresponding race twelve months ago.

After finding their feet with the car in the opening practice session of the weekend, the focus turned to fine-tuning the set-up in practice two. They ended the session a strong ninth overall, with Sharp feeling there was more time to come as he continued to learn the car.

Sharp went on to replicate the ninth place result in the opening qualifying session, finishing less than a tenth of a second off a top six finish. White excelled in the second session meanwhile, a third fastest time putting them a fantastic sixth overall in the combined classifications.

White started the race in great fashion, moving up to third on the opening lap and sticking to the tail of the top two early on. After slipping to fourth on lap six though, contact soon after from a slower GT4 runner into the high-speed Sheene corner sent him spinning around into the gravel.

With two laps lost as the marshals pushed him back on track, the team’s chances of fighting for a first British GT top six finish or better were over. After the mid-race pitstop Sharp took to the track in 17th and after quickly gaining two places, he found himself with an unsurmountable gap to the next car ahead.

The 20-time Ginetta GT Supercup race-winner got his head down and posted some impressive lap times though, running as the fastest car on track for a spell in the middle of his stint, once again showcasing his potential as a podium finisher in the championship.

Tom Sharp: “It was never going to be easy jumping in the car with only 45 minutes of driving time before qualifying, so to line up sixth was a real achievement against those with much more experience.

“The race started well when Colin moved up into third on the opening lap, but unfortunately contact with a slower GT4 car left him stranded in the gravel for two laps dropping us to last.

“My stint went as well as could have been expected with consistent top five pace, so it was incredibly frustrating knowing that I had done everything possible but still ended the race at the back of the grid.

“It was a good feeling racing with the lead cars and knowing that if circumstances would allow I could have moved forwards. There are plenty of positives to take from the weekend.”

The final round of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship takes places at Donington Park in two weeks time over the weekend of September 13/14, and Tom is currently in discussions to ensure he is on the grid to complete his second British GT season.


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