Class Wins for Lang/Allison and Randall/Whight for Race 1 at Pau
Rounds 4 & 5 of the 2006 Avon Tyres British GT Championship on the Streets of Pau, France
Jonny Lang and Matt Allison skilfully piloted their Trackspeed Porsche 996 from 5th off the grid to win the GTC Class today in Race 1 of the British GT Championship on the daunting tight and twisty street circuit of Pau in Southern France. In scorching heat, with the snow capped mountains of the Pyrenees in the background, the first ever British GT race at this historic venue was universally accepted amongst the teams and drivers as a great success.
The 30 car GT race with a mixed grid of British GTC / GT3 cars racing alongside competitors of the Coupe de France GT series, with separate Class points to be allocated, started at just after 7pm local time for a 58 minute race. Ryan Hooker, driving another Trackspeed Porsche, held on to the lead from pole for the GTC Class up to lap 21 when, during frantic pit stops, Matt squeezed his No 5 Porsche from 3rd spot, to the lead.
Phil Glew and Hunter Abbott also improved on their grid position, taking their RPM Porsche 996 Cup car from 4th to 2nd despite having slipped to 6th at the start of lap 6 then gaining ground to 3rd by lap 18 prior to their pit stop. In car 20, the Ferrari pairing of David Dove and Callum Lockie went from 10th to 6th with Callum having a successful second stint.
Driver changes started at lap 17 with some quick re-calculations keeping the pit crews busy following a 3 lap Safety Car period from lap 6.
In the GT3 Class it was a tight battle between the three Lotus Sport Cadena pairings in their Sport Exiges swapping places during the 38 lap race. From pole Gavan Kershaw and Barrie Whight slipped to second in class by lap 6 allowing Chris Randall and Paul Whight to take the lead for which they held for the remainder of the extremely hot but entreating GT race. Starting 3rd in Class, George MacKintosh and Sam Blogg powered their way from the back to 2nd during lap 20.
After their win both Jonny and Matt were grinning from ear to ear despite both needing a cold shower and a long ice-cold drink “It was great fun, very very hot but very enjoyable” said Jonny with Matt putting the win down to a quick F1 style move when he saw some clear tarmac on exiting the pits when most cars were out of position and bunched up “I saw the space and just gunned it and managed to overtake two cars” he explained whilst smiling at his quick thinking.
Paul Whight said “It was an interesting hot race more often than not keeping a very close eye on the steel barriers rather than the black tarmac” said Paul Whight. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s race now I understand the circuit in race trim” he continued. Co-driver Chris Randall said “That was great fun: it’s so tight and daunting but what a way to remember our first visit to Pau”
Eight out of the eleven Avon Tyres British GT Championship teams finished their first Pau race today and are now preparing to work late in preparation for tomorrows early qualifying session at 8:30am and a late afternoon, 4pm start, second 60 minute race.