Topcats GT2 Marcos’ record lap time stuns rivals!
Both the Marcos GT2 and GT3 cars and their respective drivers would show the rest of the field just what they are capable of in outright speed and what is required to assert their domination in a qualifying lap.
Even with the likes of the rival McInerney Mosler and Sumpter Porsche RSR and a host of other state of the art Porsches and Ferrari’s, the Marcos’s caused a shockwave in the 30 minute qualifying session.
With 3 drivers, Mick Mercer, Richard Fores and Luc Paillard to qualify in the GT2 Marcos, time was going to be valuable.
First to qualify was Mercer, tasked with curing the tyres in preparation for a number of quick laps, some of which would be his own but ultimately the best lap would come a little later when the tyres would be at their best.
Second to qualify was Fores who was able to improve on Mercers time and managed a supreme 1 min. 9.2 seconds which was only a few 10ths of a second off its all time best lap for the circuit.
With only the chance of putting in 4 laps before the end of qualifying, Paillard astonished everyone, including the supposedly faster rival cars, the RSR Porsche, the two 430 Ferrari’s and remaining GT3 Porsches. Paillard succeeded in smashing the cars lap record by over a second. Only one second behind the ultra fast GT1 class McInerney Mosler and pipping the Sumpter RSR Porsche by 2 tenths of a second to claim 3rd on the grid.
Championship contenders, Neil Huggins and Jon Harrison, driving the GT3 Marcos put in another stunning performance, asserting their dominance by taking class pole, courtesy of Huggins with a qualifying lap time of 1 min. 9.6 seconds thus shaming a number of class 2 cars in the process who had failed to beat his time.
As is customary, given his record for blistering opening race laps, Mick would start, followed in order by, Paillard, Fores and then back to Mercer to take the chequered flag. Mercer did not fail, and proceeded to take 2nd place from the Prosport 3000 within the first few corners and gave the Mosler pilot something to worry about as Mercer was full in his mirrors for several laps until he had to relinquish 2nd back to the much lighter and aero equipped Prosport once it had managed to gather momentum.
Harrison meanwhile was relishing his first stint in the car and was able to build up a healthy lead from the class rival Porsches of Barrett/Persson/Sheperd and Morcillo/Cintrato as well as the Red Bull Exige of Adrian Newey who suffered engine problems early and never recovered. Not even the Class 2 Porsche of Colbert and Stott could keep pace and remained a long distance behind.
A very harsh stop and go penalty (considering subsequent offenders were only given a warning) for Harrison at the end of the first hour was served for excessive use of kerbs and that allowed the pursuing Porsches to catch and pass but sadly for them this did not last as Harrison masterfully reeled them back in and passed both cars again without hindrance.
Mercer, meanwhile looked assured of a podium finish, but 50 minutes in and a drive flange sheared, forcing car and driver to limp round but eventually unable to get back to the pits under its own power. The safety car was out but by now several laps were lost and many more would be lost while the car was repaired. They race would now have to be a damage limitation exercise and go for what championship points would be available as drivers tried to make their way back up the leaderboard and into a points scoring position.
Luc took over from Mick once the drive flange was replaced and rejoined 22 laps down from the leader and in last place with a near impossible task of getting ahead of any other cars. A puncture, 30 minutes into Paillard’s drive was yet another setback and the deficit grew. A spirited drive from all three drivers to the end of the race saw them finish 12th overall and there was a silver lining, as they were still able to claim 3rd in class.
After a strong drive from Harrison, Huggins took over to do the long middle stint but he too was to fall fowl of the rugged kerbs and suffered a blown tyre. This allowed the class Porsches to catch up and pass again and resembling something of a cat and mouse chase. However Huggins was able to make short shrift of them, passing the Morcillo/Cintrato Porsche after a 15 minute catch up and only minutes later to do the same with the Barrett/Persson/Sheperd Porsche.
It all looked wrapped and Harrison and Huggins were comfortably able to do their last pitstop and driver change without threat. However, the same fate awaited the number 35 Marcos only at opposite ends of the race. The drive shaft itself had broken and with only 15 minutes of the race remaining, the Marcos was still on its jacks in the pit garage at the chequered flag. Small consolation for the Harrison/Huggins duo, classified as one place ahead of its sister Marcos in 11th.