Spa British GT: Sims, Attard win as Sir Chris Hoy grabs first podium
|By Scott Mitchell||Saturday, July 12th 2014, 13:08 GMT|
Alexander Sims and Marco Attard won the second British GT race at Spa, as Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy bagged his first podium.
Victory for the Barwell-run Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 duo has propelled Attard, who overtook Hoy for the win in the closing stages, into the lead of the championship.
The FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of ex-GP2 race winner Adam Carroll and Gary Eastwood took third, but could be under investigation after the race.
Hoy's RJN Nissan team-mate Wolfgang Reip passed poleman Sims for the lead on the opening lap, as front row starter Jonny Adam dropped back to eighth.
Reip then survived a safety car period to hand over the advantage to the six-time Olympic gold medalist and a second safety car, which emerged just as the leaders made their pitstops, ran well into the final half of the race as Hoy - who only began racing last year - led for the first time in his short career.
When racing finally resumed only three laps remained, but Attard was quick to attack and passed Hoy halfway round the 4.3-mile circuit.
He was unable to drop the chasing GTR-NISMO entirely but had enough of a gap to see out the victory with relative ease, while Hoy claimed a popular podium in similarly comfortable fashion.
The Triple Eight BMW of Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle had looked set to complete the rostrum until Eastwood dived up the inside of Mowle into the final corner.
Mowle held on around the outside and as they flicked left again onto the start-finish straight Eastwood ran wide off the track and took the flag in third, while Mowle also dropped behind the Trackspeed Porsche 911 of Jody Firth.
The incident is likely to come under investigation after the race, but could hand a podium to Firth and team-mate Warren Hughes, the pair having started down in 18th.
Tom Onslow-Cole and Paul White finished top of the Aston Martin Vantage horde in sixth, the ex-British Touring Car racer having featured heavily in the lead battle early on.
Adam had recovered to sixth before the pitstops but his Beechdean Aston team-mate Andrew Howard was unable to consolidate what was then fifth position as racing resumed.
The 2013 champion, who has now lost the lead he shared with Adam before the race, dropped back to 15th in the final three laps after first getting caught up in a delay at Eau Rouge and then damaging the radiator in an incident with one of the AF Ferraris.
In GT4, the Beechdean junior pairing of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings faired much better. The duo beat the Lotus Evora of Gavan Kershaw and Oz Yusuf to class honours, while Rick Parfitt Jr and Tom Oliphant completed the podium.
Results - 19 laps: Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sims/Attard Ecurie BMW 1h00m01.668s 2. Hoy/Reip RJN Nissan +3.519s 3. Eastwood/Carroll FF Corse Ferrari +6.827s 4. Firth/Hughes Trackspeed Porsche +7.103s 5. Mowle/Osborne Triple Eight BMW +7.167s 6. White/Onslow-Cole Strata 21 Aston +9.192s 7. Mallegol/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari +9.625s 8. Lathouras/Lyons AF Corse Ferrari +10.031s 9. Dryburgh/Gaw PGF Aston +10.324s 10. Al Harthy/Caine Motorbase Aston +13.354s