Spa-Francorchamps – Saturday 8th July 2017.
UltraTek Racing Team RJN headed to the continent this weekend for the seventh round of the British GT Championship at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps. In an action-packed round, the Nissan 370Z based team claimed their first British GT 4 Pro/Am Win as well as gaining plenty of points and bringing both cars home safely.
Taffinder made a good start to race one and gained three places by the end of the first lap, solid progress for the AM driver. Eakin at the helm of the 54 Nissan held his start position over the opening lap. Minutes later saw the first safety car back on track after the Century Ginetta hit the barrier. This bunched the field behind while recovery took place. The green flag was barely back behind the wall when contact between Team Parker Porsche and Century Ginetta brought the safety car back out.
The green flag waved just as the pitlane opened with the UltraTek Pros Plowman and Fletcher ready to take the reins. Taffinder was first to pit, swiftly followed by Eakin who had held steady in position.
Plowman who had shown his trademark pace in FP1, FP2 and qualifying, quickly got up to speed, passing multiple cars on his first lap in the Nissan. Fletcher who was also rapidly getting to grip with the long sweeping technical Spa circuit showed pace and determination.
Plowman was marching up the field, gaining position after position to cross the line P5 but most importantly car 53 was the highest placed Pro/Am car for race one resulting in the team’s first trip up the podium steps at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Teammates Fletcher and Eakin crossed the line P10 in class, still in the points and with thier sights firmly on the next race.
Race two saw the UltraTek Racing Pro’s start the 1-hour session and lap one saw Plowman and Fletcher placed 3rd and 7th in class. Five minutes into the race carnage unfolded around Plowman’s Nissan resulting in him getting a firm wack to the rear, which unfortunately caused him to lose a few places but thankfully not race retirement. At the almost half way point, both cars were maintaining p4 and 6 in class with the pit window about to open. Plowman was first into the box with Fletcher handing over just seconds behind.
Taffinder was first out, he picked up the pace and held 4th in class over the next 25 mins with Eakin in 5th. Eakin was carrying slightly more speed passed his team mate cleanly. Taffinder was then put under pressure from the Porsche of Viron but kept a clear head and showed his determination and focus. Contact in the GT3 pack ahead left debris on the track which the UltraTek duo took action to avoid, but on the last lap, the 54 Nissan had indeed picked up a puncture which Eakin nursed over the line to finish p7 in class with Taffinder regaining P4 in class.
Richard Taffinder commented “UltraTek Racing is a true Pro-Am team, we have been working throughout the season to develop our racing skills as AMs from track tests to simulator training. To come away from Spa today having made our first trip up the podium steps is a fantastic achievement and one the whole team should be very proud. We were delighted to share this with our sponsors who joined us in Spa; they will have to come to the next two rounds now though as they had packed good luck in their luggage!. We have a small break before the next round and are back to the intensive coaching schedule from Martin to allow us to move onwards and upwards.”
Martin Plowman commented, “I’m over the moon to have finally delivered a class-win with Richard, being true to ourselves, we still have a lot of learning to do, but if Richard and I were complacent then we shouldn’t be out there racing together.
We needed this result to reward the hard work done by the whole of UltraTek and RJN Motorsport so far this year, and I hope this will be a turning point for our season.”
Kelvin Fletcher commented, “I have really enjoyed racing at Spa, it is the first time I have been here, and it is a fantastic circuit. I was always going to be playing a bit of catch-up as all my teammates have been here multiple times but I got my head down and had an excellent first campaign.”
Tim Eakin commented, “This weekend has been a case of mixed fortunes, I had great pace and qualified well, my pace continued right until the last sector of the last lap of race two when I had a puncture that robbed me of 3 places as I limped across the line. The only small consolation is that one of the places I lost was to Richard in the #53 car, but it’s not the end of the weekend that I wanted.”
The team are back in action at Brands Hatch on the 5th and 6th of August for the penultimate round of the British GT Championship.