Faultless win in Masters Historic Sports Cars at Brands GP for Pearson & Brundle
Lola T70 Mk3B pairing Gary Pearson and Alex Brundle eased to a comfortable and controlled victory in the one-hour Historic Sports Car race at Brands Hatch.
Winning by 11 seconds from the Chevron B19 of sole racer Jonathan Mitchell, the overall podium was rounded-out by Chevron B23 duo Goncalo Gomes and James Claridge – the top three cars the only ones on the lead lap at the chequered flag.
Mitchell led away from pole position at the start with Brundle hot on his heels, and it wasn’t long before the powerful Lola moved through into the lead on the run out onto the Grand Prix loop.
Instantly punching in a string of fastest laps, Brundle built an advantage of over eight seconds by the start of lap 10 and Mitchell too was able to open a good gap to third placed Gary Culver’s Lola T70.
Culver’s podium hopes, however, took a big hit when he was served with a stop-go penalty for an infringement at the rolling start. Culver finally took his penalty at the end of lap 14, dropping him off the podium and down to fifth place – helped by an unscheduled pit visit for Steve Tandy’s Lola T70, the first of several visits for him.
As the pit-window opened at the 25-minute mark the race order was Brundle, 10 seconds clear at the front, from Mitchell, Claridge, Robert Beebee’s Lola T70, Culver and the Chevron B19 of Marc Devis.
Claridge was the first of the lead contenders to pit for the mandatory stop a couple of minutes later, handing over to Gomes, and Beebee pitted soon after to give the No.59 Lola to Steve Brooks. Devis moved into third as a result, and he pitted at the end of lap 18 with around half an hour to run.
Brundle finally pitted from the lead at the end of lap 21, some 15 seconds clear of Mitchell, to hand over the No.23 Lola to Pearson and Mitchell also stopped shortly after. When the order settled, Pearson’s advantage over Mitchell was about the same with Gomes third.
On his first flying lap after the pit-stops Mitchell took 1.2 seconds out of Pearson’s lead and he continued to close the gap. Pearson started to respond, though, with around 15 minutes to run and opened the cushion to over 14 seconds again.
The lead gap did fluctuate through traffic during the latter stages, but it was always well north of 10 seconds and Pearson eventually took the flag on lap 38 just over 11 seconds to the good.
Mitchell was some 50 seconds clear of the Gomes and Claridge Chevron B23, fourth position went to the Beebee and Brooks Lola, with Culver taking fifth and Devis sixth.
In terms of the class successes, Pearson and Brundle won ‘Rodriguez’, Mitchell took the ‘Marko’ victory, Gomes and Claridge won ‘Stommelen’, Cooper Monaco pairing Steve Farthing and Chris Jolly won ‘Hulme’, Charles Allison’s Chevron B8 took the spoils in ‘Bonnier’ and John Sheldon’s Chevron B16 won ‘Siffert’.
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