Good Pace at Donington for Fender goes unrewarded
Teammates Angus Fender and Dean Macdonald were left empty-handed after suspension damage brought an early end to their challenge for a top-5 finish in the British GT Championship at Donington Park at the weekend.
Qualifying for the weekend saw Angus as the highest-placed for the team in the #9 McLaren 720S GT3 as he went third-quickest during the opening of the two sessions.
The combined lap times from the two sessions would see Angus and Dean lining up with the #9 car in P8.
The opening lap of the race continued to provide the action levels which the season has seen all year, and both Angus and the sister #10 car were quick to capitalise on the opportunities. As the grid squeezed through the opening corners, contact was inevitable but Angus remained narrowly ahead of the #10 car as they moved through the field up to P5 and P6. Running in close formation after the Safety Car restart, the pair kept the pressure on and both gained a further position as a front-runner span off track as tyre temperatures were still building up.
As the race action settled in to a rhythm, it quickly became clear that pitstop strategy would play a major role in the remainder of the race. At this stage, the call from the 2 Seas Motorsport garage split the strategy across the two cars and saw Angus pit the #9 from P4 to switch for team mate Dean. At the 90-minute mark, strategy changes saw the leaders pit out of sequence with Dean running well in P4. After another stop and then a longer stint for Angus saw the #9 challenging for the final podium spot before pitting from P4 and handing over to team mate Dean as the race reached the final hour.
With less than an hour remaining, heavy contact with a kerb resulted in a spin and a puncture for the #9, and Dean was forced to recover the car to the pitlane. Quick work by the team returned the car to the track, but rear suspension damage meant a return to the pitlane undoing all the hard work by Angus and Dean up to that point. The team worked hard to repair the damage, but the pair had dropped out of contention. Despite the setback, the pace was clear as Dean re-joined the track and lap times were comparable to the race leaders.