MIDDLETON SHINES IN HOME RACE
Rounds 3 & 4 of the European GT4 Championship took place on the 2.43-mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent and home soil for Stuart Middleton.
After Securing a double pole position in the 46-car grid by over half a second Stuart Middleton and team mate Will Tregurtha had high hopes of emulating their success in the previous round in Zolder.
Middleton started race one and immediately took the lead but the safety car was deployed after an incident at Surtees, after the restart Middleton set about building a gap which was up to 1.5 seconds when on lap 11 the safety car was deployed again, during the safety car period the pit window opened and Middleton dived in for the mandatory driver swap and handed over to team mate Tregurtha and after all the cars had made their stop the British pairing were still in the lead. On lap 17 the #10 McLaren went off at high speed clearing the barriers at the very fast Hawthorn bend and after an initial safety car period the race was red flagged. After the race it was adjudged that the Middleton/Tregurtha #55 car had fallen short on their compulsory pitstop time by 1/10thof a second and the pair were handed a 21 second time penalty moving them from first to tenth in class.
With the pair on pole for race two they were determined to bring home a result at their home race this time with Tregurtha taking the start. As the race started Tregurtha held the lead but it was clear it was not going to be an easy race, by lap 4 positions at the front had changed four times and by lap 16 Tregurtha had slipped to fourth in the close battle at the front when the safety car was again deployed, on the same lap the pit window also opened and Tregurtha dived in. This time a perfect pit stop got Middleton out into 2ndplace and as the safety car peeled into the pits on lap 20 Middleton set about chasing down the leading Mercedes, a bold move into Surtees saw Middleton take the lead and start to pull away although being chased hard by the #1 BMW. Expertly picking his way through the back markers Middleton started to create a gap and by the chequered flag had built an impressive 7.7 second lead over the field.
“Receiving the time penalty for a pit stop infringement in race 1 was very disappointing and we were determined to put that right for race 2, Will drove a great first stint and handed the car over to me in a great position which allowed us to challenge for the win, it’s a shame there were so many safety cars but that’s the nature of this track especially when you have 46 cars all fighting for the same piece of tarmac. it was great to win in front of our home crowd and I want to thank the team for giving us a great car all weekend “.
Both Middleton and Tregurtha were awarded a Certina watch each by series sponsor Certina for their double pole position, the next round takes place at Misano, Italy on 23rd& 24thJune