Ben Clucas Racing

Spanish GT Championship Jerez 27th/28th October

A perfect weekend with 2 poles and 2 wins, but slight disappointment as Ben loses championship by just 1 point.

 

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Entering the weekend Ben and Francisco were 10 points off the championship lead with just 20 points on offer, so they knew they needed some good results and a bit of luck. Having tested a couple of days at Jerez before they expected to be quick though.

Ben did qualifying 1 as usual, and did a very good lap on the new tyres to qualify pole with quite a good margin, and sat out the remaining minutes of the session.

Francisco did qualifying 2 and did a fantastic job to qualify a clear pole in his session as well.

For race 1 they had 20 seconds handicap due to their win at the last race in Valencia, so they had to try and build a gap. As the lights went green the rain started to fall, everyone was struggling with slicks on a wet track. This helped though, as Ben moved past most of the GT2 cars to run second in the race outright. Showers continued through the race, meaning it was never either dry or wet. As he came into the pits to hand over to Francisco they were still 2nd in the race outright. After all the stops and handicap had worked out they had dropped back to 3rd in class. Francisco then drove brilliantly in tricky conditions, to win the class by over 10 seconds, and take 3rd in the race outright in the GT3 Porsche, against all the GT2 cars. The championship leaders only finished 5th.

This set up a tense final race with lots of different permutations that could give them championship victory, but basically they needed to beat their championship rivals, and have a car between them. This was going to be doubly difficult now that they had a 40 second handicap in the pits compared to zero for their competitors. Francisco drove very well from pole in dry conditions, and was quick and consistently before handing the car to Ben. As all the pit stops and handicaps worked out they were lying 5th with their championship rivals in a distant 2nd. Ben produced some quick laps and good overtakes that eventually moved them up to 2nd, passing the championship leaders, but with the other car finishing 3rd on the road they missed out on the Championship by just 1 point. After the race the winner was excluded due to a ride height problem, but this merely gifted them the win without changing the championship situation.

Ben was happy after the race although with a slight tinge of disappointment. "Overall it was a perfect weekend, but was just a shame we couldn't quite pull off the championship. It was a great end to the year though, and to only drop 4 points in the last 5 races of the season, taking 3 wins and 2 seconds was a great effort by the team and everyone involved to get us in the championship fight. I missed the first 2 races of the season as well, so it was a good end to my first year in GT's"

 

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