Ecurie Ecosse

Snetterton 16 June 2013Ecurie Ecosse salvaged valuable British GT Championship points from a difficult doubleheader event at Snetterton (16 June) thanks to a battling race two performance from drivers Marco Attard and Olly Bryant aboard their Barwell Motorsport-run BMW Z4 GT3.

The legendary Scottish outfit travelled to the Norfolk venue leading the highly competitive championship, and continued their fine form by topping free practice thanks to a stunning late-session effort.

Unfortunately qualifying would prove a very different story. On course for a top-six grid position half way into his session, Attard was forced to pit with a brake problem caused by a hairline crack in one of the calliper hard lines, an unexpected issue for a car that has completed only five races.

Though this was fixed ahead of the second session Bryant continued to struggle with the car’s brake bias and, despite sitting P4 with less than a minute to go, a flurry of late improvements as the circuit gained grip shuffled the BMW down to 10th place.

With excellent weather conditions greeting competitors on race day the Ecosse squad were targeting a pair of points finishes. This would prove particularly challenging in race one, with Attard starting 20th and a 15-second time penalty to be applied at the pit stop thanks to their Silverstone success. However the Ecosse driver made a fantastic start and, by the end of the opening lap, had moved up eight places into P12.

Unfortunately his charge would be short lived. Chasing down David Ashburn’s Porsche on lap two, Attard felt the brake pedal go long and was forced to return the car to the pits where it was retired so the issue could be resolved. Incredibly, the team discovered that the brand new calliper pipe fitted the previous day had also broken.

The start of race two was poorly managed by the officials as the lights went out well before the majority of the field was through Corum, allowing the lead pack to gain a significant advantage by the first corner. Initially struggling with a handling imbalance, Bryant was nevertheless able to stay on the tail of the lead group only for contact between two cars ahead of him to force avoiding action, costing the BMW three places.

Bryant then focussed on protecting the tyres and adjusting the brake balance so as to hand Attard the best possible car. After passing Rob Barff’s Ferrari with a brave move around the outside at Corum he ducked into the pits where the Barwell crew produced a first-rate stop, fitting the set of tyres that had run just two laps in the opening race.

Upon returning to the circuit Attard was immediately on the pace and had soon overhauled Phil Drybrugh’s Aston Martin. Despite heavy pressure from former Porsche Carrera Cup racer Ahmad Al Harthy, Attard was able to catch and pass John Dhillon’s Ferrari on the final tour. Closing on the Mercedes of Jason Minshaw at a staggering rate, the chequered flag dropped just one lap too soon for Attard, leaving the Ecosse team to settle for seventh place and a solid points haul.

Oliver Bryant, #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW: “It’s difficult to put a positive spin on the weekend we’ve had but being quickest in free practice was a highlight, while Marco drove brilliantly once again. We were unlucky but so were some of our championship rivals, and while losing our points advantage is a real disappointment we are still in a strong position approaching the upcoming rounds. Now I can’t wait for Brands Hatch!”

Marco Attard, #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW: “Brake issues in first qualifying and race one left us at a low ebb following our great result at Siverstone, but things improved in race two and we managed to recover some points. This was a great result considering all the problems we’d suffered and keeps us well within reach of the championship lead. Ultimately we’ve come away feeling very positive ahead of Brands Hatch in August.”

Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Team Principal : “Following our recent run of fantastic races we were bound to have a difficult patch at some stage. However, the team reacted really well and Marco had an exceptional weekend. As ever, we will come back fighting next time out at Brands Hatch.”

Photo credit: Gary Parravani, Xynamic Motorsport Photography

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