Ben Clucas Racing

Spanish GT Championship Jerez May 4-7th 2007

A dream start to Ben's first GT meeting with 2 convincing wins in the GTB class.

 

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There were two classes totalling 33 cars - slower GTB cars, and faster GTA ones, which race together in a mixed grid, but qualify separately.

New tyres give a big performance advantage - but only for a single lap, so it was impossible to gauge quite how well free practise went - and would make qualifying very demanding. Both drivers were to have their problems. Ben, in the first qualifying session encountered traffic on his quick lap, so still to be 2nd, only .04 seconds off GTB pole man - fellow team driver Juan Ignatio Villacieros - was both frustrating and encouraging. Francisco was badly baulked on his quick lap and as a result ended up 5th in the second qualifying session.

Race One went very well, a good start by Ben into the first bend saw the white Porsche take the class lead. It was not to last for long as his team-mate's Ferrari seemed to have better early pace and regained the postion. However by lap 6 the Porsche gained the advantage and pulled out an ever increasing class lead. By the handover to Franciso Cruz Martins the lead had reached nearly 7 seconds, and Francisco continued to extend it to 19 seconds by the flag.

The second race promised to be much tougher. In this, intervening GTA cars meant Francisco was to start some 8 places behind the leading GTB car Being much quicker in a straight line, GTA cars can be very hard to pass. In addition the series operates a handicap system based on success - and the first race win meant an additional 20 seconds wait at the driver changeover. However Francisco made a good start and made excellent progress to 15th place overall and 3rd in class before further progress was hampered by a GTA car. The 20 second handicap meant Ben was back in 4th by the end of the pit stop window -but still 35 seconds behind the lead GTB car. However, the Porsche was quickly up to 3rd, up to 2nd with 5 laps to go, and into the lead with 2 laps remaining and went on to win by four and a half seconds at the flag..

The result promotes the team to second in the championship behind the Ferrari 430 of Valero and Diaz.

The next race will be at Estoril on the 26th/27th May.

 

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