Aberdeen’s Ryan Sharp, driving his Jet Alliance Aston Martin DBR9, battled through from 29th on the grid to run as high as fourth in the latest round of the FIA World GT Championship at Monza in Italy.
But the 28-year-old Scot was left ruing a disastrous qualifying session as his Austrian team-mate, former Formula One driver Karl Wendlinger, eventually brought the car home seventh.
The duo, who won the opening round at Silverstone four weeks ago, were denied the chance of repeating their Monza victory of 12 months ago when they were controversially punished in qualifying.
“We had a puncture on the opening lap of qualifying and for some strange reason the rules wouldn’t allow us to change a wheel,” 28-year-old Sharp explained today. “That really was us stuffed after that.” To rub salt into the wound, the sister Aston of Alex Muller qualified on pole.
Starting 29th, Sharp fought his way through the slower GT2 cars before gradually picking off the faster GT1 cars. By the time Sharp approached the compulsory driver change he was hounding the Corvette of Fabrizio Gollin, just 0.7secs ahead, for third.
“Obviously we dropped back during the driver change, but our aim at the start of the race was to score championship points and that’s something we’ve achieved,” Sharp continued. “It was a weekend of damage limitation.”
The race was won by Frenchman Christophe Bouchut and Xavier Maassen from Holland, in a Corvette, comfortably finishing 24.552secs ahead of the Maserati of Spain’s Miguel Ramos and Brazilian Alexandre Negrao.
Broxburn-based Ferrari team, Scuderia Ecosse, finished just off the podium in the GT2 class when Jamie Davies and Italian Fabio Babini brought their Ferrari F430GT home fourth behind the Porsche of winners Richard Westbrook from England and Frenchman Emmanuel Collard.