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Britcar Endurance / Sports & Touring Race Report 2 – Donington Park 1st November

Calum Lockie and David Mason have been crowned as the 2014 Britcar Endurance Champions after taking second place in the final race of the year. The Britcar Endurance Championship field was joined by the Britcar Sports and Touring Car Championship entrants for the sole night race of the year in which championships were decided throughout the four classes.

A clear start let Calum Lockie show a clean pair of heels to the Mosler of Manuel Cintrano with the entire grid clearly navigating Redgate on the first lap. Four minutes after the drop of the green on the final rolling start of the year the Volvo safety car took to the circuit covering the marshals as they laboured to move a stricken Intersport BMW.

With that cleared the action resumed but only for a matter of minutes before the Volvo was deployed again. The #53 SEAT Leon of father and son duo Mark and Peter Cunningham tripped the yellow flags this time, stricken in the gravel at McLeans. The Cunningham’s did little for the Neil Garner Motorsport duo’s attempt to claim the overall title. In the two laps between the first and second safety car deployment Euan Hankey put his Ginetta G55 GT4 ahead of the class 1 Mosler.

The lights went out on the safety car again but there was no rest for the wicked. The wheels didn’t stop turning as the safety car ran straight through the pit lane and back out on track. James MacIntyre-Ure’s BMW had become stuck in the gravel where Starkeys Bridge used to be and the snatch tractor had to cross to the track to drag the rear wheels clear.

Calum Lockie held the lead through three restarts, controlling the pace to the pit stops which began around the fifty minutes to go mark. Cintrano took to the pit lane first of the title protagonists, handing over control of the Mosler MT900 GT3 to Javier Morcillo, who immediately set his teeth into closing down and passing the FF Corse Ferrari 458 Cup which should soon have been handed over to David Mason.

The money man for the FF Corse effort opted to sit out the final race of the year however, no doubt still feeling the effects of his shoulder injury which forced him to miss Silverstone.

The action in the final minutes of the race was impressive and continued the season long battle between the Neil Garner Motorsport and FF Corse pro drivers. Eventually the Mosler got onto terms with Lockie, who held the lead through the pit stops, before a rare mistake by Lockie allowed the Spaniard through at Redgate.

The clock hit 0 at the end of 24 hours of racing action through the season with Morcillo taking the chequered flag first. Lockie took second ahead of the once BAMD, then FF Corse and finally JHM Automotive run Ferrari 458 Challenge of Darren Nelson and Nigel Greensall.

In the final results the FF Corse duo claimed the title by a single point from the Mosler. Both cars took their respective class championships. Despite being the first of three cars which failed to classify Anna Walewska and Kevin Clarke had already done more than enough to secure the class 3 title. Moss Motorsport claimed the title in the class 4, or Sports and Touring Car Championship.

An impressive debut in night racing came from the Nissan GT Academy 370z GT4 pairing of Ricardo Sanchez and Gaetan Paletou. The Nissan racers joined the Britcar Trophy Series last time out at Silverstone as part of their quest to qualify for the Dubai 24 Hours in January. The programme then opted to use the Britcar Endurance Championship as a chance to prepare the academy winners for night racing.

The duo, who were joined by Paul Brown and Ahmed Binkhannen in a second car, challenged for the final podium position as they raced to victory in class 3 and gave Nigel Greensall and Darren Nelson a serious run for their money.

Richard Nearey’s BMW and the Moss Motorsport entry took fifth and sixth with the Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc in seventh place for Optimum Motorsport in the Ginetta. Chris Hayes’ SEAT Leon took eighth place with the now class 2 entered Mike Millard in ninth place with his Pro-Sport. The second Nissan crew rounded out the top ten.

Century Motorsport’s Ginetta and Jono Brown in the Tracktorque SEAT took eleventh and twelfth ahead of MacIntyre-Ure who recovered from his off track moment.  Wil Arif and the Cunninghams rounded out the fifteen classified finishers.

The Synchro Motorsport Civic dropped out after a hour and a quarter, joining the Intersport BMW in retirement. ZEST Racecar Engineering lost the most though when they took to pit lane after 49 minutes, not to return to action in 2014. That cost them a shot at the Class 4 title they led heading into the final meeting.

That brings an end to the Britcar action for 2014 but plans are already underway for an even better season next year. Including the return of the jewel in the Britcar crown, the Dunlop 24 Hours at Silverstone, 2015 is already shaping up as one of the best Britcar years yet.

Author – Nick Smith


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