Aberdeen’s Ryan Sharp, partnered by Karl Wendlinger, stormed to a dramatic victory in their JetAlliance Aston Martin DBR9 at the opening round of the FIA World GT Championship at a soggy and foggy Silverstone.
Having qualified their car fourth for the two-hour race, former F1 racer Wendlinger started the race and had carved his way into the lead before spinning as the heavens opened making track conditions treacherous.
With 36 minutes remaining, Wendlinger pitted and Sharp took over and as the track began to dry out, eased his way into second before a safety car closed up the field. With just 13 minutes remaining, the race went live again essentially turning it into a seven-lap sprint.
With just three laps remaining and hounding down the lead Aston of Philipp Peter, Sharp completed a dazzling overtaking manoeuvre as the cars sped through the Complex before entering the start/finish straight.
“That was brilliant racing,” the Scot, who eventually finished 3.807secs ahead of the Maserati piloted by Italian Andrea Bertolini and German Michaels Bartels, said immediately after the race.
“That’s the first time I’ve done the second stint and taken the chequered flag, and to do it at my home round of the world championship is fantastic. My car was far better on the brakes than Philipp’s and I always knew I’d be able to take him at some stage.
“Once I got my nose in front, then it was case of staying calm and bringing the car home to the finish. Now we head to Monza in four weeks leading the championship determined to increase our advantage.”
In addition to taking maximum points in the Silverstone opener, Sharp and Wendlinger won one of motorsport’s oldest trophies, the Royal Automobile Club Tourist’s Trophy.
In the lesser-powered GT2 class, Fifer Andrew Kirkaldy and England’s Rob Bell, had to content themselves with second. Giving their CR Scuderia Ferrari F430GT its racing debut, the pair were outpaced by the AF Corse Ferrari driven by Finn Toni Vilander and Italian Gianmaria Bruni.