Marco Attard wins Avon Tyres British GT Championship title

Trackspeed celebrated their second GT3 win in succession as the #63 combination of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen took a late lead and victory in a dramatic season finale to the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Donington Park on Sunday.

Whilst the Trackspeed car won the race, it was Marco Attard who won the GT3 Drivers’ Championship and the Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy despite the #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 he shares with Alexander Sims completing a mere ten laps after being sidelined by transmission issues.

Minshaw and Keen were joined on the podium by the #18 FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia pairing of Gary Eastwood and Ollie Hancock with United Autosports taking their first podium of the year with a spirited race from Mark Patterson and Matt Bell in their Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
The race – and the Drivers’ Championship – looked for much of the race to be going the way of the #4 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage combination of Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine before Caine lost the lead under gentle precipitation just over twenty minutes before the race end.
The #4’s eventual fourth placed finish did confirm Oman Racing Team as the GT3 Teams’ Champions with the sister #5 car taking fifth, but Al Harthy and Caine’s points tally was insufficient to topple Attard’s Drivers’ Championship lead with his 148.5 points heading to Donington was sufficient to withstand the 138 apiece tally of Al Harthy and Caine. Third in the standings went to Alexander Sims on 129.5.

Attard’s rival in the Blancpain standings, out-going GT3 Drivers’ Champion Andrew Howard, was unable to capitalise on Attard’s woes as he only managed a mere four laps more than his rival for the engraved Blancpain 8885 S watch, to be presented at the season award ceremony in London on November 28th. Howard cited driver error for his gravel excursion which meant the #1 Aston was parked on lap 15. Attard took the Trophy by 163.5 points from Howard’s 133.5.
GT4 was a tense affair too, with the #407 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings converting their strong points lead heading into the event into the GT4 Drivers Championship despite finishing fifth in the race. Their 207.5 points apiece withstood the 190 each for Andrew Jarman and Devon Modell in the TF Sport Aston.

The class was won by the #42 Century Motorsport G55 Ginetta GT4 of Rick Parfitt Jnr and Tom Oliphant, after they took advantage of a late off track excursion from the Jarman / Modell car, resulting in the #49 car taking second on track as well as in the Drivers’ Championship. Third on track and in the Drivers’ Championship went to the #46 Twisted Team Parker G55 Ginetta GT4 of Bradley Ellis and Adrian Barwick.
The bumper Donington points haul from Parfitt Jr and Oliphant combined with the seventh finish of sometime class leaders Aleksander Schjerpen and Morten Dons in the sister Ginetta meant that Century Motorsport won the GT4 Teams’ Championship with 225.5 points from Beechdean AMR’s 207.5 with TF Sport taking 190 at the final reckoning.
For his drive to the class win, Rick Parfitt Jr took the Mobil 1 Master of the Weekend whilst the prestigious Blancpain Gentleman Driver of the Weekend Award went the way of Mark Patterson who enters his full-season racing retirement with a fine third place.