Ben Clucas Racing

2 Podiums in Spanish GT Opener

Ben and Francisco rejoined their successful partnership from 2009 to defend their Spanish GT crown, again with Escuela Española de Pilotos

 

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2 Podiums in Spanish GT Opener The weekend didn’t get off to the best start when all UK flights were cancelled due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, putting ash in the atmosphere and making it dangerous to fly. Ben was still determined to get there however and drove through the night continuously for 20 hours to just make 2nd practice on Friday. It proved to be well worthwhile, with the British/Portuguese duo ending up fastest in that session.

The first qualifying session was wet and it was up to the young Brit to show what he was made of. With lap times getting quicker all the time on a drying track, he took pole on his last lap by a tenth of a second, to end an exciting session. Next it was Francisco’s turn. Another good job put the Portuguese 5th at the end of a treacherously wet session, where visibility was almost non-existent.

Race 1 started out on a drying track where some of the field went for wets and some, like the 2 Escuela Española de Pilotos cars, went for slicks. The Silverstone based driver started the number 87 Ginetta in what turned out to be a far from conventional get away. Conditions were slippery and a car spun coming out of the last turn before the start of the race. As everyone came down the start finish straight, the red lights never went out, meaning the race hadn’t started, or so everyone involved with the number 87 car thought. Then a crash between 2 Ferraris at turn 1 meant Ben just backed off, thinking that the race hadn’t started and there was no need to risk the car. Unfortunately though, the green lights were rather bizarrely turned on half way through the lap and the safety car was immediately brought out, meaning the places the Escuela Española de Pilotos run Ginetta had lost in the confusion would remain as they were. As the race got underway again the young British charger found himself in 2nd unable to mount much of a challenge for the lead, but not under much attack from behind. After the pitstops it was Francisco’s turn, and he drove well maintaining 2nd to the flag.

The 2nd race was wet, but without the start line drama. This time it was Francisco’s turn to start and he drove well putting in fast lap times before coming in the pits for the mandatory driver change. As all the pitstops and handicaps came to pass, the duo found themselves in 6th place with ground to make up. A racy drive from the defending Champions saw the Brit able to take the final step on the podium with a couple of laps to go, and get a good points haul for the weekend.

Overall Ben was happy with the weekend. “ I think it’s been a good start to the Championship. Francisco has done a good job all weekend and been fast. The start to race 1 was slightly strange, but I’ll know for next time never to back off until I see a red flag! 2 Podiums and a lot of points, it certainly makes the 20 hour drive worthwhile.”

 

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