Archie Hamilton (21, Basingstoke) put in a strong performance on his street circuit debut in Baku, Azerbaijan this weekend, ultimately taking the City Challenge GT Supercup class win. He drove for Konrad Motorsport the inaugural City Challenge GT Race in a Porsche 911 GT3 car. Archie was paired with British Porsche Carrera Cup driver Ben Barker.
After two practice sessions on Saturday morning, Archie qualified fifth for his afternoon sprint race, while Ben was fourth for sprint two.
Archie got a good start to his race, making up a place straight away. He held position, challenging and defending from start to finish. Ben finished his sprint race, which ended prematurely after concrete blocks were moved by a heavy impact and the race was red-flagged in third. Later it was discovered that the duo had been racing all weekend with a broken rear damper which was fixed in time for the main 60 minute race today.
The grid position for the City Challenge GT was determined by Archie’s finishing position and Ben’s qualifying after there were deemed insufficient race laps for the sprint race result to count for the main race qualifying and the Barker/Hamilton duo started the race in third.
Archie took the first stint in the 60 minute race, which included compulsory driver and tyre changes, and lost a place in the opening lap before regaining the position after the Molitar Porsche ahead had an incident and touched the wall. Archie handed over to Ben in third place, which Ben maintained until the latter stages when pit-lane infringement penalties and mechanical issues led to Ben gaining positions to take second in class. The safety car was deployed with eight minutes to go and the race then resumed for a four minute sprint. In the final moments of the race Ben managed to gain a place from class rival Attempto Porsche for the class win.
Archie moves on to Spain where he will fight for the International GT Open title next weekend where he lies in third, just seven points behind the standings’ leader with 20 points available.
“I have to thank Konrad Motorsport for this opportunity. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had. I’m happy that I put in a good solid stint without mistakes to get today’s win which has been fantastic. Racing through the streets at 130 mph was amazing and we couldn’t afford even a lock-up or it would have definitely been straight into the wall. I’m really happy to have jumped into a new car on Friday and be beating top Supercup drivers. It’ll be nice in free practice in Barcelona with no walls around!”