International GT Open – Brands Hatch, UK
Race One: Qualified 2nd GTS/ 12th Overall Finished 1st GTS/ 7th Overall
Race Two: Qualified 1st GTS/ 1st Overall Finished 1st GTS/ 7th Overall
Conditions and home track knowledge played into Archie’s hands and, with team-mate Marco Mapelli, the Basingstoke 21 year old took his second and third wins of the season on home ground at Brands Hatch in Kent, UK.
Friday’s practice had gone well but was predominantly dry, while the conditions for Saturday’s qualifying varied between wet but drying track to rain. In the first qualifying session, Archie was driving well and qualified in second on a drying track. The conditions were full wet for Marco’s qualifying for race two and the Italian put in a fantastic lap at the end of his session to qualify first in class. A quirk in timings and the deterioration in conditions meant that the Super GT cars couldn’t match Marco’s time and so the pair took overall pole for race two.
Race one, held over 70 minutes on Saturday, started with a drying track and Archie put in strong early laps to overtake Super GT cars and then Michele Rugolo’s GTS Ferrari to claim the class lead. From there the weather deteriorated and Archie managed to hold his position despite pressure from behind and the poor visibility from rain and spray. Archie handed over to Marco at the mid-point and the team changed to a newer set of tyres. The rain increased and after the stops were completed Marco was still in the lead. He held off a challenge from Rizzoli’s Ferrari and crossed the line to take the duo’s second GTS victory of the season.
Sunday’s race two was dry putting the Super GT cars ahead on power but the track isn’t an easy one to overtake on and Marco did an excellent job in defending from pole with fierce pressure from behind him. Just before the stops two Super GTs managed to overtake and the loss of momentum lost ground for Marco who then had class contender Zampieri in #44 on his tail. The pair pitted together and Archie, partly helped by have a shorter success handicap by 15 seconds, emerged well ahead. Archie’s 18 second lead on his class rival was then cut when the safety car was deployed. When racing resumed there was just five minutes left of the race and Archie had two Super GT cars between him and #44’s Dalle Stelle and all were separated by just two seconds. Archie defended well and after one Super GT passed he held his position to the line to take the second win of the weekend.
The championship title is now closer with Archie and Marco rising to second in the standings and just one point behind the leader.
Euan Hankey, Driver Coach:
“This weekend has been one of the best performances I’ve seen from Archie. He drove maturely, consistently and fast. His race-craft, consistency and cool temperament to bring it home for wins were excellent.”
“The first race was pretty amazing. I couldn’t see and I dropped to third at the start. I regained the lost place through turn four. I had to pick off a few Super GT cars that were holding me up and took the lead by getting a good run out of Dingle Dell and went down the inside into Stirlings. I kept pushing hard and was trying to maintain a gap but it was treacherous. Today’s race was much more straightforward. The safety car at the end made life harder but I drove sensibly to make sure we got the class win.
“We had a new braking system in the car which suited me better and I was also able to adapt to the new harder tyre compound from Dunlop. Being my home track brought me an advantage and it was great to be able to help Marco with tips rather than the other way round. Everything came together and the preparations paid off. I’d like to thank iZone driver performance, my coach Euan, my sponsors and my father for their support.”
1. Zampieri/Dalle Stelle 48, 2. Hamilton/Mapelli 27, 3. Bizzarri 42 4. Rizzoli 24, 5. Christodoulou/Hummel 24, 6. Seyffarth/Heyer 20.