Gregor Fisken scored his first Avon Tyres British GT Championship victory of the season at Brands Hatch on Sunday after he and co-driver Tim Bridgman mastered tricky conditions throughout the two-hour enduro.
The stunning result was the epitome of team work and a perfect tonic for reigning champions Trackspeed who had worked tirelessly to prepare both its Porsche 997 GT3 Rs since their Snetterton accident last month.
Gregor, owner of London’s foremost historic automobile specialist, Fiskens, showed little fear on slick tyres in the slippery track conditions to bravely pass four cars around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap, then take the lead two corners later, before settling into second place.
The leading trio soon pulled clear of the rest with Fisken closely sandwiched between the front-running Ferrari and team-mate David Ashburn in the sister Porsche. By lap 14 the lead had developed into a four-way fight before a fresh downpour at the half-hour mark made life particularly tricky for those on slicks. Crucially Fisken held his nerve as accidents further down the order triggered a Safety Car period.
Soon after racing resumed the pit-stop window opened with Gregor diving in to hand over to Bridgman. By the time all of the leading contenders had pitted, the number two Porsche was 13 seconds adrift of first place, only for a succession of quick times on the soaking surface to reduce the deficit. With the Ferrari soon dispatched, Bridgman began building a sizeable advantage.
And although the charging number 21 Ferrari did mount a late effort, the 25-year-old was able to withstand the pressure over the closing laps to record the duo’s first victory of 2011 by 5.399 seconds.
Gregor Fisken said: “What a race! I got a great start, probably the best of my career, and pushed like mad after that to keep the newer Ferrari 458 honest in what were such difficult conditions.
“Tim then produced some phenomenal out-laps on slick tyres just after the downpour which is what won us the race in the end. Once the track dried the Ferrari was much quicker but Tim handled the pressure superbly.
“I’ve also got to reserve special praise for the guys at Trackspeed who have worked day and night since Snetterton to repair both cars. David Ashburn was also very sporting in giving our car the best of the new engine parts which could have gone the number one’s way, so a big thank you to all of them.
“This was a true team effort. With some big points on the board at last, we can go to Spa in a good frame of mind.”
Co-driver Tim Bridgman said: “It was a great weekend for us especially considering we didn’t have the ultimate pace of the Ferraris in the dry. Gregor set up the victory with a very aggressive but controlled opening stint that included some great overtaking moves. He handed the car over in an excellent position but I knew I had to push hard in the wet to build a gap so that when the track dried we wouldn’t be caught by the chasing 458s.
“My experience in Porsches really paid dividends and I was able to find the limit in very tricky conditions. It was a great win, especially for the team which has worked so hard over the last month.”
Keith Cheetham, Team Manager added: “The result was a great reward for the team’s recent hard work, especially as they’ve had to pull some all nighters.
“Gregor made a lightning getaway and produced a fantastic stint which put us in a position to take the fight to the rest later in the race. Tim’s spell behind the wheel was no less impressive as he fought to build a commanding lead which ultimately proved decisive.”