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Westbrook and Ashburn lead Porsche tribute in GT race two

Monday, April 09 2012

The Trackspeed Porsche of Richard Westbrook and David Ashburn has scored a dominant win in the second Avon Tyres British GT race at Oulton Park today (Monday). With half of the top ten populated by 911s, it was a fitting tribute to the original car's designer, Ferdinand Porsche, who passed away in the week leading up to the race.

Conditions had not improved since the first GT race of the day as the cars prepared to leave the pitlane for the second encounter. The United Autosports team would face an even tougher task, as Matt Bell had been stripped of his sixth fastest qualifying time, dropping to the back of the grid for a yellow flag infringement on Saturday. With Nick Tandy unable to complete a lap in that session, two very fast cars would be making their way through the field.

Polesitter Richard Westbrook made a superb start after the safety car retired to the pitlane, the Trackspeed Porsche leaving Jonathan Adam in the Aston Martin behind as the rain began to fall harder than before. Indeed, the Beechdean car had lost two places to the Mtech and Rosso Verde Ferraris by the time they started lap two, with great starts from Nick Tandy and Matt Bell placing them 15th and 18th respectively.

Westbrook drew away from the field, dragging the Ferraris with him, whilst the Aston held off the Porsches of Tim Harvey, Michael Caine and  Joe Osbourne. Behind them the Preci-Spark Mercedes spun in the gloom at Old Hall, just as it had in race once, albeit unaided this time. As before, it rejoined the action, but repeated the trick next time around.

Harvey snatched fourth place on lap eight, but although Allan Simonsen was unable to pass Matt Griffin's Ferrari for second, they were fifteen seconds ahead of the Trackspeed Porsche. Indeed, as Simonsen worked on the rival 458, both lapped quicker than Harvey. Even so, Simonsen eventually found a way past and set off after Westbrook.

Back in 13th place, Matt Bell was one of the first to stop, handing over to Charles Bateman. Caine came in soon after, handing over to Daniele Perfetti, as Adam handed over the Aston Martin to Andrew Howard. Next in was the Preci-Spark Mercedes, as the halfway mark approached.

Simonsen had reduced the deficit to the leader significantly as the pair prepared for their stops. Both came in at the same time, with the third-placed Mtech car and fourth placed Porsche also stopping to change drivers. The Rosso Verde car was delayed on its exit, Hector Lester now only inches ahead of Duncan Cameron as David Ashburn held a sizeable lead. Jon Minshaw in the Trackspeed Porsche was just as close to the pair of them after two excellent stops for the team.

Despite Ashburn offering no match to Westbrook on pace, he was considerably quicker than the rest of the field, led by Lester in the Ferrari, who, in a reversal of the pre-stop situation, was now being harried by Griffin. Minshaw tracked the pair of them in theTrackspeed Porsche, the group now 30 seconds behind the leader.

Late on there was a close battle for tenth between the Aaron Scott/John Dhillon Ferrari, Preci-Spark Mercedes and Ecurie Ecosse BMW, which was settled in favour of the Jones twins in the SLS. As the race entered its final moments, Lester pegged the gap to Ashburn, but Cameron attacked at Old Hall and with neither giving way the former spun into the barrier with just two minutes of the race left.

Ashburn took the flag by a sizeable margin, with Cameron taking second from Minshaw's Trackspeed Porsche. Caine and Steve Parish's 911s finished fourth and sixth for Motorbase, with the Bell-Bateman Audi fifth. Seventh was the Hetherington Nissan, from Osbourne and Steve Tandy's 911, the Jones twins in the Mercedes and the Ecurie Ecosse BMW. Meanwhile, Warren Hughes and Jody Fannin took a second GT4 class win.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship Race two

1, Trackspeed, David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, 32 Laps
2, Mtech, Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3, +27.667s
3, Trackspeed, Jon Minshaw/Tim Harvey, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +28.630s
4, Motorbase, Danielle Perfetti/ Michael Caine, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +33.813s
5, United Autosports, Matt Bell/Charles Bateman, Audi R8 LMS, GT3, +1:20.146s
6, Motorbase, Steve Parish/Nick Tandy, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +1:22.178s
7, JMH, Benji Hetherington/Freddie Hetherington, Nissan GTR GT3, GT3, +1:27.918s
8, Trackspeed, Steve Tandy/Joe Osborne, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +1.34.864s
9, Ecurie Ecosse, Oliver Bryant/Alasdair McCaig, BMW Z4 GT3, GT3, +1:35.848s
10, Preci-Spark, David Jones/Godfrey Jones, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, GT3, +1:40.312s

The next major event at Oulton Park is the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on 5-7 May. Advance tickets are available from £25, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.