Clean sweep - pole position and solo race win for Dan de Zille in round 8 of the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge at Brands on Saturday 27 August.
Dan de Zille was driving solo this weekend due to prior commitments leaving his co-driver Karsten le Blanc absent from the no.12 car for Nicholas Mee Racing in the 90-minute GT4 endurance race. In an exciting qualifying session, Dan was running 2nd fastest to Richard Abra in the Generation AMR car, with just 6 minutes to go, a change of rubber - Dan went out to post a lap time of 49.8 on his last lap, promoting him to pole position – despite Abra chasing hard.
“With Friday’s practice being a washout I was having to push to the limits in qualifying and when the team told me Abra was hot on my heels I put everything into that final lap.” Dan
The 90min race started at 14.20pm and Dan led the field into Paddock Hill Bend and for the first few laps. On lap 5, Richard Abra his nearest challenger got ahead, but Dan remained firmly on his rear bumper. By the pit stop window, Abra only had a 3 second lead over Dan, Generation AMR pitted first to hand over to Mark Poole and Dan went back into the lead.
By the time NMR made their pit stop Dan had accrued such a lead that he was able to pit and rejoin the race still as race leader. A professional and faultless drive from Dan saw him maintain his lead right to the end of the 90 minutes finishing two laps head of the Vantage Racing pairing of Tom Black and Alan Bonner.
“I had to pace myself, Abra would be getting out the car at the stop whereas I would have to finish the race so settled into a rhythm, keeping the pressure on but making sure I didn't take too much life out of the tires. As it happened, a mistake by their second driver took them out of contention and from then on it was a matter of looking after the car and myself and keeping an eye on Vantage Racing.”
The Aston Martin GT4 racing has been close all season, and Dan’s result puts the NMR car level on points with the Vantage Racing pairing of Black and Bonner who took their first win at Oulton Park earlier this month. The final round will be at Dijon 10/11 September where Karsten le Blanc will be back in the car also driving solo to decide who takes the title.
This result is Dan’s fourth win in just five outings the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge this season and is the Series’ first ever solo win! Dan will be back out driving the NMR car as part of a team in the Britcar 24hr race at Silverstone in October.
Meanwhile, its back to Brands Hatch next weekend for Dan for rounds 16-18 of the British Formula Ford Championship where Dan is currently lying in 6th position overall.
Dan commented "It was an amazing weekend but not quite as easy as it looked! It was a physically hard race, but probably the most satisfying of my career. We are back again next week in the Ford and I can hardly wait!"