GT Trophy - Round 1 - Donington

6th April 2011

It was a late decision to enter this event with the intention being to get some racing miles in but it turned out to be a very positive weekend.

We are running an additional KTM this year for Athanasios Ladas who has previously run in the FIA GT4 series and more recently, the UAE Championship with his co-driver Michael Mallock. The second car is the Peter Belshaw GT4 X-Bow who will be doing a full season this year with new co driver but experienced KTM pilot Marcus Clutton.

Practice was run in damp but drying conditions which always favours the KTM and this was reflected in the No 39 car second quickest at the end of the session set by Peter Belshaw. This was the first time that the No 40 car had run on Pirelli tyres so Athansios and Michael were feeling their way in.

The sun was out for qualifying and both KTMs qualified well taking 5th and 7th behind the very rapid Ferraris 430s and 997 GT3 Porsche. However the No 40 car lost its throttle action midway through the session and the boys were working until midnight to resolve the issue.

With only a 10 car grid, some sceptics were predicting a boring 2 hours but this first round was not short of entertainment.

Peter and Athanasios took the first stints. With the possibility of increased tyre wear later, Peter banged in as many quick laps at the beginning of the stint and actually posted his fastest lap of 1.11.9 on lap 11 and pulling the 39 car into P3. Athanasios was enjoying a good scrap with the Chevron and posted his fastest lap of 1.13.5 on lap 35.

The No 40 car was brought in after 50 minutes for the scheduled pit stop which went smoothly and no dramas and Michael immediately got in the groove lapping consistently in the high 11s and low 12s.

Peter brought No 39 in on lap 48 for his change which unfortunately went a little too smoothly. The organisers had deemed Marcus and Michael (plus 2 others) as pro drivers so were given an extra 30 second penalty for their pit stops. Marcus, with a fresh rear tyre also pushed hard in the first part of the second stint lapping consistently in the 1.11 bracket. Unfortunately, he was given a drive through penalty for the stop being slightly short which dropped him down to P4. With 6 minutes remaining, No 39 came limping into the pits - out of fuel but rejoined after a splash and dash. Michael immediately pushed harder to take over P4 but more importantly taking the class lead setting his fastest lap of 1.11.5 on his very last lap. Marcus brought the Maxxis X-Bow home in P5 and second in class.

So overall a very good weekend for Team ABG with a first win for Athanasios Ladas & Michael Mallock and a very encouraging first outing for the Belshaw/Clutton combination.

Both these pairings are scheduled to run in the British GT series this year and this result has boosted their confidence nicely.

Next scheduled outing for Team ABG is the opening round of the BUTE GT Cup at Silverstone in mid April where Ben Harvey will wheel out the Green Meanie and Colin Broster the Custard Porsche.

Some images below courtesy of Mick Herring from the weekend.

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