Brooks diesels to victory in first Masters Endurance Legends race at Silverstone
Steve Brooks in the Peugeot 90X held off a late charge by Tim De Silva in the Pescarolo-Judd 01 started by father Harindra De Silva to win the first Masters Endurance Legends race at the Silverstone Festival. The two leading cars were led by Jonathan Kennard during their first stint, but Kennard’s P2 Muscle Milk-liveried Acura ARX-01b succumbed before it could be taken over by Jamie Constable.
Stuart Wiltshire powered to the front to claim third in the second Peugeot 90X, leading home Keith Frieser’s Zytek 09S and Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2. Following Kennard’s demise, the P2 class battle turned into a true thriller, as Bradley Ellis in the Morgan LMP2 shared with Andy Cummings pipped Max Lynn’s BR Engineering BR01 right on the line, with Nick Tandy’s HPD-Honda ARX-04 and Shaun Lynn’s other BR01 close behind.
P3 was equally entertaining, with a mere two seconds separating the top three. Rob Hall’s Ligier JSP3 came out on top, a smidgeon ahead of Bradley Smith’s Norma M30 and Jon Minshaw’s similar JSP3. The GT class, however, saw complete domination in the shape of the Claude Bovet/David McDonald Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Wayne Marrs took second in the Mercedes AMG GT3, with Sean & Michael McInerney claiming third in their Mosler MT900R.
It was late in the afternoon already when a massive 43-car grid lined up for its first 40-minute Masters Endurance Legends race. Harindra De Silva initially led away in the Pescarolo 01 and while the father of qualifying king Tim De Silva did well to hang on for a full lap, he soon had to give way to Steve Brooks who made a storming start in the Peugeot 90X and Jonathan Kennard in the second-tier Acura ARX-01b that naturally also led the P2 class. On lap 2, Christophe d’Ansembourg in the Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 also had a look at De Silva, but first it was Kennard who nipped through to take the lead.
Andy Cummings in the Morgan LMP2 was fifth in the second P2 car, ahead of Gregor Fisken in the Dallara SP1, Stuart Wiltshire in the second Peugeot 90X, Keith Frieser in the Zytek 09S and Antoine d’Ansembourg’s Dallara-ORECA DO-05. Max Lynn and dad Shaun in their pair of BR Engineering BR01 P2s were ninth and tenth. In P3, Bradley Smith’s Norma M30 led in 13th overall while Claude Bovet’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was well in front in the GT class.
At the front, Kennard and Brooks fought tooth and nail, but behind them D’Ansembourg Sr and Wiltshire were on the up, both passing De Silva, who now had Frieser to deal with. On lap 5, Wiltshire and D’Ansembourg swapped places for a Peugeot 90X 2-3, but Wiltshire now trailed Brooks by 14 seconds already. On the same lap, Kennard lowered the fastest lap mark to a 1.47.482. Further back, Steve Tandy had broken into the top ten with his HPD-Honda ARX-04 P2 machine, now chased by Nigel Greensall in one of Tandy’s former cars, the Lola-Mazda B12/60.
P3 class leader Bradley Smith was now up into 11th overall, the Norma well ahead of the Ligier hordes led by Jon Minshaw and Rob Hall in 18th and 19th. Bovet continued to lead in GTs, now in 21st overall, chased by Wayne Marrs in the Mercedes AMG GT3 in 25th and Vasily Vladikin in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra in 29th.
On lap 7, with the pit window approaching, Frieser got past De Silva for fifth, as Kennard had drawn away from Brooks who now trailed by four seconds, with Wiltshire a further 22 seconds further adrift. Harindra De Silva was first in to hand over to his quick son Tim, but then – shock, as Kennard parked the Acura to hand the lead to Brooks who on lap 9 came in for his mandatory pitstop. This handed Wiltshire the momentary lead, as Frieser and D’Ansembourg (C.) also pitted, followed by Max Lynn, while Greensall handed the Lola-Mazda over to Chris Milner. Meanwhile, Tim De Silva was absolutely flying, setting a new fastest lap of the race while unlapping himself from the Peugeot. On lap 11, Wiltshire was the last of the leaders to pit.
By the time the pitstops had all cycled through, Brooks was back in the lead but De Silva ran at a pace that was three seconds quicker than the leading Peugeot. 23 seconds still separated them, with some 12 minutes remaining on the clock. Wiltshire resumed in third, four seconds ahead of Frieser and D’Ansembourg Sr, while Max and Shaun Lynn now were first and third in P2 in sixth and eighth overall, sandwiching Tandy’s Acura, the trio having pipped the Andy Cummings/Bradley Ellis Morgan. In P3, Rob Hall was the new leader, as he continued his fight with Minshaw, with Smith’s Norma now in third. David McDonald had relieved Bovet in the GT class-leading Aston Martin Vantage GT3 that was still chased by Marrs’ Merc, with the Sean & Michael McInerney Mosler MT900R now in third, just ahead of Colin Sowter’s Ferrari 458 GT3, as the Vasily Vladikin/Frank Wrathall Audi was forced to retire with a broken gearbox.
Eight more minutes remained, and De Silva had clawed back his deficit to 16 seconds, but traffic wasn’t playing into his hands, the young American losing two seconds on lap 16. Wiltshire in turn trailed by 23 seconds but losing time on the two cars ahead, while Frieser and D’Ansembourg still contested fourth place, the Canadian valiantly keeping in front of the Belgian’s screaming Lola-Aston. In P2, Max Lynn and Steve Tandy were five seconds apart, while Ellis got one back on Shaun Lynn to recover to third in class. P3 wasn’t done either, as Hall and Minshaw were separated by a mere 1.3 seconds. The Bovet/McDonald Aston, however, continued its domination of the GT class.
As the final minutes ticked away, Brooks seemed to have De Silva covered, and indeed, the French car crossed the line in first with five seconds in hand on the Pescarolo. Wiltshire put another Peugeot on the overall podium, while Frieser held on to fourth over D’Ansembourg (C.). The P2 class fight was decided right on the line, as a flying Ellis pipped Lynn (M.) to victory by 0.287s, with Tandy a further ten seconds back. Lynn (S.) was ninth, a lap down, with the Gregor Fisken/Sam Hancock Dallara SP1 rounding out the top ten. An equally thrilling P3 battle ended with Rob Hall holding off Bradley Smith by 0.324s, with Jon Minshaw two seconds further down the road. Meanwhile, the Bovet/McDonald Aston Martin Vantage GT3 completed its GT domination ahead of Marrs and the McInerneys.
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