Bentwood Storms to Podium in Scotland
Hale-based racing driver, Michael Bentwood, chalked up his first podium of the year in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at the Knockhill racing circuit in Scotland.
Bentwood had not been expecting the extremely tight and twisty Knockhill circuit to suit the characteristics of the six-litre V12 Aston Martin DBRS9, owned by team owner and co-driver Tom Alexander. As it was Alexander had to pull out on the eve of the race due to business commitments and his place was taken by 2001 Formula Palmer Audi Champion, Adrian Willmott.
The 22GT Racing team went for a very different set-up on the car compared to what they had tried before and it seemed to pay dividends. Qualifying one didn’t go quite as planned, with Willmott still bedding into the car and putting the car 15th on the grid. Bentwood was more pleased with his qualifying efforts, which left him sixth on the grid. However, the grid position only told half the story with second to sixth places separated by one tenth of a second in Bentwood’s session.
Race one was an eventful one, with Willmott taking the first stint and clearly settling into the car well. The ex-single seater champion pulled the car up to tenth before handing over to Bentwood who set about further improving their position. Bentwood was losing time behind the CRS Ferrari and eventually went for a passing manoeuvre. Unfortunately, the circuit was still wet and slippery off line and the big Aston’s rear end broke away ending in a half spin. Bentwood immediate recovered and lost no places and was hard on the tail of the sixth placed car at the chequered flag.
Race two saw Bentwood taking the grid in sixth, and an excellent start saw the ex-F3 race storm round the outside of the Ferrari and Lamborghini in front of him. Initially the Lamborghini was all over the back of the 550bhp Aston, but Bentwood soaked the pressure up and then began to pull away. A great stop during the safety car period led to Willmott coming out in third place. The Aston Martin newcomer then passed for second place, before being passed himself by the Jones twins Ascari KZ1R. Despite this minor setback, Bentwood was pleased with the weekend’s results, commenting:
“It is fantastic to chalk up our first podium of the campaign, it was a shame Tom couldn’t be there to share it with me, but Adrian did a top job. He just kept getting quicker through the weekend and he told me after the second race that if it had lasted a few minutes longer then we might have been standing on the top step of the podium. We expected little at Knockhill, but all credit to the team who gave us a great set-up at a very non-Aston circuit.”
Bentwood will next be in action on the 25th and 26th of May at the Rockingham Motor Speedway circuit in Lincolnshire.
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