© Bute Motorsport Limited 2015
Chamberlain snatches victory as Nelson faulters
Saturday 23 April 2016
The 2016 GT Cup Championship got off to an exciting start at Donington Park with a closely fought win for the orange Porsche 935 of Richard Chamberlain. Gareth Downing’s Lotus Evora GTE took second place while Jordan Witt recovered from a pitlane start to claim the final podium spot in his Bentley Continental GT3.
Witt qualified in second but was late to the grid and as a result had to start from the pitlane, leaving polesitter Darren Nelson’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to line up on the front row alone. Chamberlain got ahead of Nelson into the first corner and the pair battled it out for the lead, while further down the field Nigel Hudson in his Audi R8 GT3 led a fight between the Ginetta G55’s of Ian Anderson, Daniel O’Brien and Brent Millage.
By the fourth lap Nelson took the lead from Chamberlain on the entry to Redgate and began to build an advantage only to suffer an off at the Old Hairpin on lap 17 he was able to rejoin the race but down in 18th place.
Nelson’s retirement did not mean an easy finish to the race for Chamberlain however, who ultimately led the charging Lotus of Gareth Downing across the line by just 0.33 seconds. Chamberlain said of his win; “I’m very happy, relieved and we were really lucky – Darren just drove away and it was fantastic to watch, but even more fantastic when I saw all the tyre smoke at the Old Hairpin – obviously you don’t like to see it but I’ll take it, it’s racing!”
Witt enjoyed a storming race and made up six places over the course of 22 laps of the Donington National circuit – also setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1.05.444s. “I really enjoyed it, the car was absolutely phenomenal,” said Witt, “Between me and the team, mainly me, we missed the lining up on the grid and had to start from the pitlane and that’s when I thought we’d have to see what I could do from there so I’m really happy with third - I think we got pole for the next race with the fastest lap so hopefully I can make amends for it this evening.”
Ross McEwen made an excellent start to his season in the JMH Automotive run Porsche 991. The young Scotsman ran well to finish fifth and first in the GTC group. “It was good,” said Ross. “I was in a quiet spot for a while but then I got a puncture which spiced things up. For the last two laps I was battling a rear left puncture so I started to lose quite a lot of pace. It’s a perfect start to the season and I’m on the podium so I’m delighted!” Neil Huggins crossed the line second with Paul Bailey completing the GTC podium
Meanwhile, the GTB group was won by Warren Gilbert’s Marcos Mantis in eighth, who was pleased with his end result, despite some difficulties mid-race. “I could have been a bit higher but the Audi spun on the first lap and to avoid hitting him I went across that nasty chicane at the start/finish. I had a bit of damage but nothing major and in the middle of the race I got a long brake pedal which we haven’t had before and then it came back. But I’m chuffed to bits, first in class, I’m really pleased – the car and the team did a fantastic job and the old girl lives to fight another day.”
Ian Anderson ultimately triumphed in the midfield Ginetta battle and won the GTA group – crossing the line in 12th. “I’m beyond happy, I’m lost for words. You look at us – new to the championship – and you hope to get off to a good start, lots of pre-season testing, the team has worked really hard to get the car ready but you never really anticipate this sort of result. I’m absolutely delighted for Lifetime Racing and all the work they’ve done to get us standing up there is phenomenal. I was on the defensive for the last three laps because once I was there I wasn’t giving it up.”
1st Richard Chamberlain
2nd Gareth Downing
3rd Jordan Witt
1st Ross McEwen
2nd Neil Huggins
3rd Paul Bailey
1st Warren Gilbert
2nd Jonathan Evans
3rd Andy Christopher
1st Ian Anderson
2nd James Webb
3rd Daniel O'Brien