Trio of GT Cup podiums at Snetterton well received by TF Sport
A trio of podium finishes for Paul Bailey and Andy Schulz in Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2015 GT Cup on the Snetterton ‘300’ circuit were well received by everybody at TF Sport (25-26 July).
Three red flag stoppages and a downpour in qualifying one put paid to all hopes of a representative grid position for Saturday’s compulsory pit stop race, as Bailey and Schulz were prevented from completing a flying lap and ended the 20-minute session underwhelmed in tenth position.
Determined to consolidate their position as title contenders in the weekend’s first of three races, both Bailey and Schulz drove with vim and vigour to breach the podium places at the driver-change, with the Ferrari 458 Italia of Adam Carroll and Darren Nelson and the Porsche of Richard Chamberlain well within range.
Schulz passed former race leader Chamberlain for second position and the TF Sport driver’s intentions to narrow his 4.1s deficit to Carroll in P1 were clear when he recorded the fastest lap.
Unfortunately the chequered flag flew before he could bridge the gap, which stood at 1.1s as he took his Horsepower Racing-liveried Aston Martin V12 Vantage across the line, but second position was a welcome result after the frustration of qualifying.
Sunday also yielded strong results. Bailey was unable to unlock his full potential in the dry qualifying session and torrential rain that struck the Norfolk countryside for the day’s two sprint races limited the Rutland-based driver, with self-preservation being his main objective.
Ever-deteriorating conditions made staying on the circuit a tall order, but Bailey handled the conditions well and sensibly drove well within himself to finish third in race one, while a second place result later that day was pleasing, given that title contender Nelson succumbed to the treacherously wet weather with two laps remaining.
“Having had a little bit of time to recap on the weekend, I feel it was a success,” said Bailey. “I was the quickest gentleman driver in testing and everything was very positive in free practice, but red flags and a downpour meant I didn’t get a flying lap in during qualifying on Saturday and we started the pit stop race well down the order. I was able to surge through the pack while engaging in some really close, aggressive battles and Andy (Schulz) did an impressive job against Richard Chamberlain and Adam Carroll to bring the car home in second.
“I was pleased to be just four tenths off pole in Sunday’s qualifying and super happy to bring the car home safely in the races, where there was a lot of standing water. I took no risks and the podiums mean we scored a lot of valuable points and, with hindsight preserving the car and driving well within myself was the right thing to do strategically, as it puts us in a very good position from a championship perspective as we head to Brands Hatch for the next round.”
Martin Johnston, meanwhile, teamed up with his professional driver coach, Phil Glew, in Saturday’s pit stop race, in which he validated his perceived progression by taking his GT4-spec Aston Martin V8 Vantage to second position and then threaten for the GTA lead when a fuel pressure problem halted his charge.
The Allfloors Express Managing Director was resigned to third in the final classification and the result, which was well received by all concerned with TF Sport, spurred him to push the boundaries further on Sunday, when he recorded respectable times in qualifying and a brace of fifth places in the day’s two rain-affected sprint races.