03 Jun Top finish for Blancpain team in maiden outing
2nd June 2013, Silverstone – The maiden outing for the Fortec Motorpsorts Blancpain team saw a strong finish of sixteenth/twelfth in class on the 60 car grid, With Stephen Jelley, Benji Hetherington and Ollie Hancock sharing duties for the three-hour race, it was Ollie Hancock who drove the Mercedes SLS AMG home after starting 21st on the grid.
Jelley was first behind the wheel, suffuring from an unfortunate start as he got boxed in, whilst others gambled and pushed their way through. A car then spun in front of Jelley as he powered into Stowe and with nowhere to go their was no choice but to brake and let others pass, resulting in completing the first lap in 27th place. Jelley continued to chase the field out front, rapidly gaining pace and picking off the pack as the race continued,
Following the first sequence of pitstops young-gun Hetherington went straight back out on track now in 20th place, consistantly improving his sector times on each lap and picking off the field.
Hancock was the final driver the young Surrey based driver gained three places to 15th behind #78 GRG Grasser Racing . Defending from a pushing #25 Thiriet by TDS Racing in sixteenth, the three diced for fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth. With just 15 minutes left on the clock Hancock maintained his position, putting in a strong drive to cross the line in sixteenth and twelfth in class, a great finish for the team’s inaugral Blancpain outing.
Jelley said: I had an unfortunate start but managed to pick my way through the field again and gain some places back. The car was great and really well prepared – the team have done a great job working on the car and I think Fortec have a great future in GT racing.
Hetherington added: “The race felt like it went really well, I don’t think the time sheets reflected this but we had a pretty clean race with good pace. Finishing twelfth in class is a great result considering it’s our first time in the series and our first outing on Pirelli tyres, it’s massively different from the British GT so I’m happy with the result.”
Commenting after the race Hancock said: “I wasn’t getting on with the understeer but I soon found a set-up on the car which worked well for me and allowed me to find some time and gain pace. I’m massively happy with my performance, this is my third GT race and it was a lot of fun.”
Picture: The Mercedes storms round Silverstone, courtesy of eMOTIONiMAGES/Jon Hobley