Thursday 4 April 2013
The 2013 motorsport season is well and truly underway for Cooper Tire Europe and Avon Tyres as the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and the European Rallycross Championship, of which Cooper is a principal partner, both began in spectacular style over the Easter weekend.
Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire played host to the season opener of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, with Saturday’s qualifying sessions building up to two exciting 60-minute sprint races on Bank Holiday Monday.
In the GT3 class, which boasts the likes of the Porsche 997, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Mercedes AMG SLS, it was the Trackspeed team which emerged victorious.
Victory in race one went to the Porsche pairing of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, who crossed the line just over a second clear of Nick Tandy and David Ashburn, while series debutants Fortec Motorsports claimed an impressive podium with Ollie Hancock and Benji Hetherington at the wheel.
Monday’s second race saw Tandy and Ashburn make it to the top step ahead, fending off a late charge from Mark Patterson and Matt Bell in the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS, while the Ecurie Ecosse pairing of Marco Attard and Oliver Bryant rounded out the top three.
Tandy and Ashburn now lead the GT3 drivers’ standings, while Trackspeed boasts an already impressive 45-point lead in the team’s championship.
In the GT4 category, the Century Motorsport pairing of Zoe Wenham and Declan Jones made a perfect start to their 2013 title campaign, winning both races to leave Oulton Park with a 17-point lead in the class standings.
Also kicking off over the Easter weekend was the European Rallycross Championship, which began at the UK home of rallycross – Lydden Hill. Cooper-backed Timmy Hansen made a glittering start to his 2013 season – his first full season in rallycross – as he was the star of the show in the heats, setting three fastest times.
A minor driveline issue for the Swede in the final ruled him out of contention for victory but his speed and consistency in Sunday’s heats ensured he had enough points to leave Lydden with a slender lead in the title standings.
Next on the calendar for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship is Rockingham, with racing taking place over the weekend of May 5/6, while the European Rallycross Championship heads to Portugal for round two on April 27/28.