Double GT Cup win for FF Corse on home ground at Silverstone

FF Corse drivers Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll maintained their GTC series lead with a last-gasp GT Cup class victory at Silverstone, while team-mate Dan de Zille made it a double win for the local team.

Laki, who had taken his Ferrari 488 Challenge to fifth spot in the Saturday morning sprint race, started the enduro fourth and ran a solid opening stint for the Silverstone-based team.

Pro driver Adam took over half-way through the 50-minute race, but was faced with a tough task to claim the victory due to the pair’s Snetterton victory earning them a 20-second success penalty at their stop.

The Northern Irishman dug deep and reeled in his rivals; catching the sister FF Corse Ferrari of Ross Wylie – who was making his series debut alongside guest entrant Richard Guy – with two laps remaining.

Catching traffic at an inopportune time, Ross and Adam went either side of the slower car to put it a further lap down with Adam emerging in front.

Their victory was the 11th in GTC for FF Corse in 2019 and the fourth for he and Laki.

Another second place for Laki in Sunday’s sprint was followed by third for the pair in the enduro.

Having just changed drivers – and incurred another 20-second penalty because of their Saturday win – the safety car was deployed for an incident on-track, meaning any rivals who had not yet stopped, could do so while Adam was limited to a crawling speed on-track.

He recovered to second place to maintain the pair’s record of finishing on the podium in every enduro this year. They now lead the class by 13 points with three rounds left and 25 available for each race win.

Dan de Zille made it two sprint race wins in a row on Saturday; adding to the success he’d achieved at Snetterton in July.

In just he and father Graham’s second event driving their Ferrari 488 Challenge, Dan qualified second and snatched the GTC advantage just beyond half-distance. He and Graham finished fifth in the enduro.

Graham, who is still recovering from a short illness, elected not to race in Sunday’s sprint, meaning Dan was instilled for qualifying and the 25-minute event.

Sadly, first-corner contact with another car spun him into the side of team-mate Richard – fourth in Race One – who was attempting to avoid the incident at the time.

Both 488 Challenges were out on the spot and too-badly damaged to take part in the afternoon enduro.

The next event takes place on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on August 31-September 1.

Laki Christoforou said: “We’ve had a good weekend, got a win and still lead the GTC points, so they’re the big positives to take away. I made a bad start in the Saturday sprint, but the enduro went much better and both Adam and I drove well to win. I was lucky to avoid the carnage in the Sunday sprint race at the start, but I could feel something was going to happen when I saw five cars trying to go side-by-side into Copse, so I backed off and managed to get around. Second in that race was good and we definitely could have won the enduro before the safety car came out and effectively gave our rivals a free pitstop.”

Adam Carroll said: “It was great to get another enduro win; we seem to be making a habit of gaining spots late in the race after what happened at the last corner at Snetterton, and it shows that you always have to keep pushing because you never know what might happen. I caught Ross [Wylie] and with a lap to go he went one way in traffic, I went the other, and I got by, but it was good, fair racing all the way. On Sunday we lost the chance to fight for the win because the safety car came out seconds after we made our pitstop and it meant our main title rivals could change drivers while we were running at slow speed. Laki did a great job again and we’ve maintained a good championship lead.”

Dan de Zille said: “It’s great to get another sprint race win under my belt. Since switching from the Ferrari 458 to the 488 it’s like every bit of extra effort you put in behind the wheel is rewarded, and it’s brought us onto a level playing field against the other FF Corse pairings. It’s great fun now and having someone like Adam Carroll in the other car is a great yardstick for me. The incident at Copse on Sunday was disappointing for both Dad and I, and for the whole FF Corse team.”

Graham de Zille said: “I’ve spent a long time in motor racing, so it’s inevitable you’ll have weekends like this. Going from the high of Daniel’s win in the Saturday sprint through to the accident in Sunday’s race just means we’ve been through the full spectrum. I haven’t felt 100 per cent in the past week and was struggling a bit for stamina in the Saturday enduro, so we changed the plan for Sunday and put Daniel in the car for the sprint. Unfortunately the first-corner incident happened, the car was badly damaged and we’re now unsure if we’ll be out for Brands Hatch in two weeks.”

Richard Guy said: “It’s been great to come back to the GT Cup for the first time since the season-opening round, and to have a co-driver of the experience and quality of Ross Wylie was fantastic. He has so much experience of the 488 Challenge that he knows instantly what tweaks need to be made to get the set-up absolutely spot-on. The FF Corse team did a great job to get the car completely in the sweet spot for Race Two on Saturday and we came so close to winning before Ross caught the slow traffic by the end. Sunday was a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’. I was just innocent victim of the aftermath of what happened between Dan and another car ahead of me.”

Ross Wylie said: “It was a bittersweet weekend for my GT Cup debut. It was great to be back racing, but things didn’t go quite to plan. Richard did a very good job in qualifying and the sprint race and it was great to share a car with him. I thought we could hang on for the win in the Saturday enduro, but Adam was catching me and when I got boxed-in with lapped traffic on the penultimate lap, I wasn’t able to stay ahead. I’m sure we’d have been in the hunt for the win on Sunday, but obviously that never happened because of the damage the car took in the first-corner incident in Race Three.”

Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: “While naturally it’s great to get another pair of victories at our home circuit, it’s a huge shame to lose two cars from virtually all of Sunday’s racing because of the first-corner incident. Dan’s done a brilliant job to win the Saturday sprint for the second weekend in a row and both he and Graham have really adapted well to the 488 Challenge. Laki and Adam have had another strong weekend results-wise and it was great to have Ross back with us too. He’s been a regular in our Britcar line-up for the past 18 months and it was good to see he and Adam having an exciting battle in the first enduro. It’s only two weeks to Brands Hatch and we’ll be working flat-out to get the #19 car ready.”