Mosler, Mclaren and Aston Martin split GT Cup honours
DONINGTON PARK MSVR SEPTEMBER 8-9
A dramatic weekend at Donington Park provided three different winners in the GT Cup, with Mosler man Gareth Downing, Aston Martin racer Neil Hudson and Mclaren exponent Daniel Gibson each taking the chequered flag in front.
Downing took the spoils in the restarted opener, while Andrew Howard held a race-long second in his Aston Martin GT3. The similar Aston of Hudson ousted John Seale’s Ferrari 488 Challenge for third on the second lap, and had the Mclaren 650S of Paul Gibson closing at the flag.
Howard led race two until Downing surged ahead as they passed the exhibition centre. Into the Melbourne Hairpin, Howard went into the back of the Mosler under braking. As the Aston headed pitwards, Downing kept the lead until he was flagged to pit and repair his damaged rear bodywork. Hudson was left clear to take the win, with Gibson second from the recovering Downing.
Daniel Gibson took over the family Mclaren for the finale and comfortably led throughout. Although Downing pushed his Mosler hard to challenge early on, he had overheating problems and let Howard through into second before half-distance.
Howard was the only other unlapped runner, but lost ground in the latter stages with clutch problems. Downing completed the podium, after Hudson’s Aston broke a driveshaft as he passed the pits mid-race.
In the wet first Radical SR1 Cup race James Pinkerton led into Redgate as Patrick Lay tried to take second from Ryan Harperellam around the outside, running wide and briefly dropping to fourth behind Will Hunt. Having reclaimed third at the Esses, Lay challenged Harper-ellam again into Mcleans a lap later, and emerged in second with Pinkerton’s lead in sight. Starting his challenge into Mcleans again on lap three, it took until Coppice before Pinkerton’s defence was finally breached.
While Lay eased clear to a maiden victory, Pinkerton spun as Harper-ellam challenged, with inevitable contact. Harper-ellam was out with a damaged radiator and splitter, but Pinkerton managed to retain second, still well clear of Hunt and Mark Williams.
On a drying track, Harper-ellam and Pinkerton soon got away to hold first and second throughout the second race after they opted for slick tyres, while Lay and Shane Stoney went for wets and held station in a distant third and fourth.
Jason Mcinulty snatched a last-corner win in a terrific Lotus Cup UK & Elise Trophy opener. John Lamaster had set the pace from the start as Joe Taylor and Mcinulty disputed second and Craig Denman closed in. Mcinulty had a brief spell in front mid-race, before Lamaster retook the lead at Melbourne, but a lap later Taylor had the advantage as Lamaster dropped to third. The battling had allowed Denman to latch on and he went for third at the Esses, nosed in front and spun out on the exit.
Taylor had kept his nose ahead as they started the last lap, but got sideways as he exited Goddards for the final time, leaving Mcinulty to take the win by
0.088 seconds from Taylor and Lamaster.
Taylor and Mcinulty again disputed the race two lead from Lamaster. But Lamaster had an excursion at the Old Hairpin and lost third to Mackenzie
Walker, and Taylor made what proved to be the decisive move on Mcinulty at Mcleans on lap seven of 12. Mcinulty was later excluded in post-race scrutineering, handing second to Walker, with Lamaster and Denman completing the top four.
Both Denman and Lamaster received post-race track-limits penalties in a processional race three, dropping them to second and third and handing
Taylor a second win.
There were two dominant wins for
Nigel Innes’s BMW M3 in the Racing Saloons. Roger Kneebone’s similar car secured second in race one, after demoting Colin Philpott (Jaguar XJS). In race two, Philpott reclaimed second from Matt Swaffer’s BMW 120d two laps from home.
The Norma of Duncan Williams and Bradley Smith only lost the lead in the first LMP3 Cup race during the pitstops, but Colin Noble’s Ligier had closed in when red flags brought a premature end. Jack Butel lost third as a spin at Mcleans meant he wasn’t running at the time of the red flag, promoting Neil Primrose’s guesting Norma.
Noble and Tony Wells took the race-two spoils from Smith/williams. Dominic Paul retired from second, crashing into the pit entrance.
Daniel Gibson’s Mclaren triumphed in race three
Downing’s Mosler (right) took on the Aston Martins and scored a win