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Ashburn takes British GT Race Two honours in grandstand finish

Monday, April 01 2013

David Ashburn fended off a late attack from Mark Patterson to claim victory for Trackspeed Porsche in today's (Monday) second Avon Tyres British GT race at Oulton Park.

Ashburn had held an eight second lead in the final stages, but this was wiped out by a massive fire for Ginetta runner, Tom Sharp. Sharp emerged unscathed, but the blaze necessitated an appearance from the safety car, resulting in a grandstand finish.

Ashburn had 'retired' at the end of 2012, but was a surprise addition to the entry list for this weekend, and this win makes amends for his and co-driver Nick Tandy's disappointment in the earlier race. He did however claim at the end of the race that the event would be his last in competition.

The race began with polesitter Allan Simonsen converting his advantage into the first corner, and for the entire first stint, the Ferrari 458 was pursued closely by Ashburn's co-driver Nick Tandy. The gap between the two opened and closed by fractions, but the Ferrari's advantage was wiped out in the mid race driver change pit stops.

The Rosso Verde machine, now with Hector Lester at the wheel, emerged in fifth place, with Ashburn taking over at the front. Jay Palmer moved up to second, with Andrew Howard third.

Palmer began closing the lead to Ashburn, but a spin on lap 23 sent him down to fifth place, handing Howard second in the Beechdean Aston Martin. But then it was Howard's turn to spin, and the result was an eight second lead for Ashburn with only a handful of laps remaining.

Then, exiting Lodge corner with around 10 minutes left on the clock, Tom Sharp's Ginetta G55 GT3 erupted, and the inferno brought out the safety car while the Oulton Park marshals expertly dealt with the situation.

With two minutes remaining, the pace car came in, and Ashburn set about defending his lead. Coming into Lodge corner for the final time, Ashburn and Patterson were side by side, but Ashburn was able to out drag his rival to claim the win on his final racing appearance.

Zoe Wenham claimed GT4 honours for the second race running in her Century Motorsport Ginetta G50, shared with Declan Jones.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship Race Two, Oulton Park result:

  1. David Ashburn, Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R, 34 laps
  2. Mark Patterson, United Autosports Audi R8 LMS Ultra, +0.280s
  3. Marco Attard, Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3, +3.604s
  4. Hector Lester, Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 +8.280s
  5. Steve Tandy, 888Optimum BMW Z4 GT3, +8.770s
  6. Jay Palmer, Vita4One Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, +9.342

The next major event at Oulton Park is the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on 4-6 May. Tickets are available in advance for £26 with free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.