FRIDAY 10 JULY 2009
SIZZLING SNETTERTON WIN DERAILED BY OVER ZEALOUS OFFICIALS
Allan Simonsen headed to Le Mans with the British GT Championship lead tucked nicely away but was still worried about his position. Cleverly (NOT!), the Scottish Knockhill BGT round was on the same weekend that our Danish friend found himself sailing down the Mulsanne is a GT2 spec Ferrari.

Not only did it mean zero points but another opportunity for the other competitors to make good.
Allan's team mate, Hector Lester was, naturally, tied on points. Since Lester would do the Knockhill round, with a substitute driver, it became mathematically impossible for Allan to win the championship, assuming Lester elected not to drive.

Consequently, as the Rosse Verde/UBC pairing headed to Snetterton, all efforts were down on getting Lester the title.

Snet is not an ideal Ferrari circuit and with two long straights, it has the slowest speed through the trap.

However the shortcomings of the GT3 were neutralised by the extra level of skill and talent Simonsen could bring to the team. Whilst slower on the shutes, the Ferrari was blindingly quick through the twisties and the Dane was a specialist at this.

Allan put the car through its paces in practice and found a sweet setup early. This allowed Lester in but suddenly the front splitter broke – the result of a large curb. Still, they were in P1. The remaining session was taken up with the repairs.

Today was Allan's birthday but he'd no time to celebrate. Yet.

Pole was vital and he delivered it perfectly – 0.7s quicker than the rest. This prompted some wide-eyed remarks from his fellow competitors, who, knowing the deficiencies of the Ferrari, were astounded at his performance. This, for a racing car driver, is the sweetest of moments – receiving accolades from their piers. What a birthday present!


Lester, who despite being 3 secs a lap slower than Simonsen, but consistent never the less, started the first race. He pitted at the 23 minute mark, some 35 seconds behind the leaders.

Allan rejoined in 6th and soon made it to 5th. But such are the nuances of race cars that whilst they can be perfect one moment, they can be a handful the next.

Now the Ferrari was understeering badly and was a pain to get around corners. Allan quickly changed his style to minimise the problem and soon had taken Adam Wilcox for 3rd and 6 points towards the championship title.

Time for Race 2 and Allan started from pole making a super start.
By the end of lap 1 he'd taken the lead out to 2.5 seconds and continuously set sub 1m11sec laps. Such was his dominance that he amassed a huge 30 sec lead at the 35 minute mark. And here was a car that didn't suit the circuit!

Simonsen out. Lester in, and returned to the track holding the lead and his rivals to take the win. What a mega birthday!

But then news came through that officials had disqualified the car. Not for any technical or driving infringement – it appeared that Hector was not correctly attired – the case of missing fireproof underwear? An appeal has been lodged.

"In my mind we won this fair and square," said Allan still in a state of disbelief and annoyance.

"There are 10 points now awaiting the outcome of that appeal and they will be vital in securing Hector the championship. I'm confident that common sense will prevail and a pair of smelly pants will never again be allowed to effect the outcome of a national championship.