Scuderia Ecosse 2004 Team News
Rounds 13 & 14 Thruxton - Race Report 
By Lindsay Morle

Aug 30, 2004, 18:16

Scuderia Ecosse took victory in both races at Thruxton this Bank Holiday Monday. Tim Mullen and Chris Niarchos took a hard fought win in race one whilst Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch won the second race, which was peppered with Safety Cars and yellow flags.

Race One
A professional performance from Chris Niarchos saw the number 34 Ferrari running in the top six throughout the first half of race one. Whilst Car 35 struggled with high water temperatures after an excursion across the grass, Chris battled with the Corvette of Cole and the Porsche of Jordan and brought the car in for Tim Mullen in the lead. A quick changeover with no extra time penalty put Tim out ten seconds behind the GruppeM Porsche but he quickly reeled in Tim Sugden and passed him for second place. With over 20 minutes of the race remaining, Tim set his sights on the Mosler leading the race. The first victory of 2004 for car 34 was there for the taking and it was going to be a crowd-thriller.

With only a handful of laps remaining, Tim caught Shaun Balfe in the Mosler and attempted to go around the outside of him at the chicane but the door was firmly slammed shut. Next time around things were different as Tim explains. “I got a great run out of Church and could see one of the Jones boys on my left and the Mosler moving over to the right so I went straight through the middle! Balfe turned into me but luckily he suffered the consequences of that and not me. We’re delighted to get a win after the luck we’ve had this year but I must confess to totally easing off for the last two laps. Chris would’ve cut my legs off if I’d gone off after all that!”

Chris was equally pleased with the race one victory and was overheard telling second-placed Tim Sugden on the podium that he had waited seven months to look down on the top of his head! “What a result! I think I’m the happiest man in the world today. We have been improving steadily throughout the season so we knew we could do a good job here and we’re obviously delighted to get a victory! The car felt fantastic and was a lot of fun to race.”

Andrew Kirkaldy finished race one in sixth position after Car 35 had to make two extra pit stops in addition to the usual Pro-Am penalty. The first stop was for Nathan Kinch to come in and have the car’s radiators cleared of grass after a trip across the green early on in the race. The blockage was causing the water temperatures to rocket but as soon as it was cleared everything returned to normal. Nathan handed over to Andrew in sixth place and after some blistering lap times, including the fastest lap of the race, Andrew was handed some bad luck and had to pit with a punctured right rear tyre. After making three stops it was a major achievement to take sixth at the chequered flag.

Race Two
Both Andrew and Tim got good starts in race two. During the second lap, Andrew passed pole man, Tim Sugden, and Tim Mullen followed him through a lap later. A Ferrari one-two then set about pulling out a gap to the rest of the field. As ever, Car 35 would need a 20 second advantage over the GruppeM Porsche before the pit stop. Andrew was looking good with a gap of over 15 seconds after only seven laps but a lap later the Safety Car was dispatched while the marshals removed a stranded Noble. The Safety Car came back in just before the pit window opened and Andrew set about building up the gap again with Tim Mullen close behind in P2. The Safety Car came out again on lap 16 so Andrew dived into the pits to hand the car over to Nathan who rejoined just behind the GruppeM Porsche. Tim Mullen came in a lap later.

After the pit stops and the Safety Car period, Nathan was running in second position behind Cocker but Chris Niarchos had taken over the sister Ferrari from Tim Mullen and ended up in tenth once everything levelled out. Chris was able to make his way through to eighth place, which would be his final finishing position.

Nathan soon made light work of Cocker’s Porsche, breezed into the lead and never looked back. He explains: “It’s fantastic for the team to get both wins today. I couldn’t believe it when the first Safety Car came out but as things panned out the second Safety Car actually helped us. Obviously we’re disappointed to lose out to Cocker in the Championship but the car is running great so we want the double at Brands Hatch.”

Like Nathan, Andrew was pleased with the win and has set his sights on Brands Hatch in a few weeks time. “The win was good and I was really pleased for Chris and Tim this morning too. I think now we have to just look to Brands and aim for most wins, most poles, most fastest laps and the like.”

“I’m really pleased with the job the team did today”, commented Team Principal Stewart Roden. “It’s tough on everyone to run two races in one day but they all worked incredibly hard and did me proud. Naturally we’re disappointed not to get the driver’s championship but the team title is still up for grabs so we’ll be back for more fun and games at Brands Hatch!”

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