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Newbridge Motorsport opens 2014 Britcar account with many positives


Newbridge Motorsport and Guillaume Gruchet had a highly positive start to the 2014 Britcar Endurance and Trophy Championships (BEC) at Silverstone this weekend (12 April).

Chris Valentine took his black-and-green liveried Porsche Boxster to the 1.86mile International Circuit, getting the weekend underway in the opening qualifying session of the Trophy Championship under cloudy, but dry conditions.

Having shaved two seconds off his personal best time here at Silverstone during Friday’s practise session, Valentine took a further second off during Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session.

After qualifying, it was time for teams and drivers to put their cards on the table as the opening race of the season got underway with Valentine being the first Newbridge Motorsport driver to take to the track under race conditions in the Trophy Championship.

From ninth on the grid the BRSCC Porsche Championship graduate utilised his strong qualifying position to climb two positions claiming the class lead on the opening laps as the field scrambled for position.

As the laps tumbled, an unfortunate failed wheel bearing hampered the experienced Porsche Boxster driver’s running forcing him into a premature retirement on lap ten.

Valentine commented: “On the positive side, I am heading in the right direction as I knocked off at least two seconds from my personal best here at Silverstone in Friday’s practise and then another second this morning. That is a very good positive for us, which we can take with us to the next round.”

On the other side of the garage was Frenchman Gruchet in his stunning newly acquired Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, who, having qualified 11th, navigated his way through the field climbing two positions on the opening lap to break into the top ten.

As the race reached the half-way point and many teams opting to switch drivers, Gruchet continued to win the battle of nerves and stamina by consistently setting personal best times to place himself comfortably within the top ten.

As the clock continued to countdown, Gruchet showed his incredible form that garnered him a tenth place finish overall in the Britcar Production Cup Championship standings last season when he became entangled in an enthralling brawl with the two Ferrari 458 Italias. The 997 driver put up a brave fight, but reluctantly surrendered his position dropping him to third in class in the dying laps of the 90-minute race.

The chequered flag waved signalling the end of the first Endurance race of the 2014 season as Gruchet brought his car home much to the delight of himself and the team to put a huge handful of points up on the board.

Spurred on by the day’s previous results, Gruchet lined-up on the grid for the weekend’s final Endurance race looking to go one step further, which looked very promising when, again, he claimed several positions within the opening laps on what would unfold into a heated event as the sun started to break through the clouds.

Gruchet and Hayes were inseparable throughout much of the 90-minute race as Gruchet showed his dominance sticking his elbows out as far as possible to hold onto his fifth position up until the chequered flag to finish second in class, adding to his rapidly expanding trophy cabinet.

“It has been really positive as we have had the maximum amount of track time you can achieve over the weekend. The car felt good and I’m very pleased with the final results from both races as it was the first time we have had long stints in the car and for it to go without any problems is very positive.

“To finish second and third in class, which again is a very good result. We come away with seventh overall in the standings and I hope we can take this momentum and carry it forward to Donington.”

Team Principal, Richard Tovey, said: “It has been a really positive day. We’ve seen lap times come down with Chris (Valentine), who has improved by two and a half seconds over the course of the weekend, which is fantastic!

“I am really pleased that Guillaume has had a great first race in the new car and have seen some really good, consistent laps times from him over the course of both races.

“We are looking to improve from where we currently are ahead of Donington in a few weeks time.”

The series will return at Donington Park Circuit in four weeks time (10-11 May).

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