Scuderia Ecosse 2004 Team News
Rounds 15 & 16 Brands Hatch - Race Report 
By Lindsay Morle

Oct 3, 2004, 18:17

Scuderia Ecosse brought the curtain down on a great debut season of GT racing with a stunning victory at Brands Hatch today. Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch won a rain-soaked, dramatic race on the tight Indy circuit.

Race One
The first race of the Brands Hatch weekend got off to a dramatic start when Nathan Kinch passed Jonathan Cocker on the first lap to take the lead. Chris Niarchos meanwhile was having a very busy opening lap after receiving a tap from the Tech 9 NGT Porsche, which sent him into the gravel. Chris controlled the Ferrari beautifully and rejoined the race albeit in 17th position. He then had a lot of work to do to make his way back through the pack and brought the car in for Tim Mullen in a very respectable seventh place. Chris explains, “I definitely felt a tap from behind going into Paddock Hill Bend and ended up having to drag myself out of the gravel. Once I rejoined the car felt ok and I was able to have a great fight through the field. It’s a shame we didn’t get a podium finish but I thoroughly enjoyed the race today.” After a close battle with Cocker throughout the first stint, Nathan pitted in first place to hand the car over to Andrew Kirkaldy. As usual Car 35 received a 20 second penalty in the pits meaning that Andrew should have rejoined 20 seconds behind the Porsche, now driven by Tim Sugden.

The now infamous British GT Safety Car was despatched just as the pit stop window opened and whilst Sugden rejoined just in front of the Safety Car, Andrew joined just behind. The Safety Car failed to pick up the leader and the end result was that once the Safety Car period ended, the Porsche was 47 seconds ahead of Andrew, effectively a whole lap up!

Andrew set about closing the gap but the chance of victory had gone and, when the Ferrari developed an exhaust problem with 20 minutes to go, it was time for Car 35 to retire. Tim Mullen now in the sister Ferrari was running in sixth position before Car 35 retired. He took the chequered flag in fifth place, scoring points some well-earned points.

Race Two
The weather conditions at the start of race two were entirely different to the previous day. Light rain had fallen before the start and the team took the decision to begin the race on intermediate tyres. Andrew Kirkaldy started from pole position, his fifth of the season, and kept the lead off the line, closely followed by Tim Mullen. The two Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari’s were closely matched and Tim Mullen, fighting Andrew for the lead, span off at Paddock which retired Car 34 from the race. Andrew meanwhile was able to begin pulling away from Tim Sugden’s Porsche which was up to second.

As expected in bad weather the Safety Car was despatched before the pit window opened and just as the Ultima had managed to get past Andrew on the track. The Safety Car picked up Andrew as the leader so it took a few laps to sort the field out which meant the Safety Car was still out when the pits opened. Andrew dived into the pits to hand the Ferrari over to Nathan Kinch who rejoined the race with wet tyres fitted. Once all the cars had pitted Nathan was lying in sixth place. He wasn’t too happy about being sixth so set about doing something about it!

The closing laps of the race showed Nathan Kinch at his very best. Driving like a true Pro he began picking off the cars in front of him and set his sights on Cocker’s second-placed Porsche, just as the Safety Car appeared again! This closed up the field but made no difference to Nathan as, with or without the Safety Car, he was going to end the season on a high. At the restart he got past Cocker and then the Ultima for the lead, which he kept until the chequered flag. After the race Nathan commented, “That was a lot of fun! The car felt perfect and I was able to just get my head down and go for the win. It’s exactly the result we needed and a great way to end the season so I’ll be leaving with a smile on my face tonight.”

Andrew echoed the sentiments of his team-mate. “It’s fantastic that we have finished the season on a high note. Starting the race on intermediates was the right choice for the first few laps but it got a bit tricky later on when the rain got heavier! Nathan did a fantastic job today and I’m delighted that against all the odds we got the last win of the season.”

The final word goes to Team Principal, Stewart Roden: “We’ve had one hell of a year in GT racing! We’ve enjoyed every minute of it, even all the dramas with penalties, noise levels and the like. I’d like to pay tribute to my team for working their socks off all year, to our sponsors, and last but by no means least the four drivers who have all done a fantastic job for us this year. Of course it’s a shame we couldn’t win the Championship but I’d like to think we put on a great show for everyone along the way!”

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