Edinburgh’s Robin Liddell has agonisingly missed out on the Rolex Grand-Am Series GT “crown” for the second time in his career. The 34-year-old Scot was denied the GT championship by just nine points after finishing second in class in the 13th and final race of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Liddell and co-driver Andrew Davis began the 1000km race in Utah second in the points standings, trailing leaders Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards by just six points.
Davis qualified and started their Stevenson Motorsport Pontiac GXP.R from 10th place in the 21-car GT field – a total of 37-cars competing around Miller Motorsports Park, a 4.486-mile, 24-corner road course near Salt Lake City.
Liddell was up to second by mid-distance when a heavy rain shower flooded the track and the race went full course caution to retrieve a number of stranded cars.
“The track was extremely treacherous and we were driving around barely able to keep up behind the safety car,” Liddell explained. “I spun like a top on standing water while in first gear doing no more than 25mph. It was only a brief shower but it flooded the track and I pitted under the caution having just taken the GT class lead on four hours, handing over to Andrew who rejoined in second place on wet weather, treaded tyres.
”Our championship rivals also pitted at the same time for a driver change and to go on to wet tyres but on the restart they immediately pitted again to go back on to dry, non-treaded ‘slick’ tyres. Andrew pitted a few laps later under green flag conditions, and I took over again on ‘slicks’ but we had dropped to second and lost a lot of ground to the leading Pontiac.”
Liddell was second, 20secs behind Edwards, with 20mins remaining but could not close the gap sufficiently. The Scot also finished runner-up in the GT category in 2006 but despite his disappointment he wasn’t despondent about missing out again.
“I think I’m more disappointed about finishing second in the race,” he admitted. “We knew we needed some luck to win the championship but we wanted to win the race regardless.
“Our Stevenson team accomplished the remarkable feat of ending nine of the 13 races on the podium – three wins (Mexico, Virginia, Montreal), three seconds (Watkins Glen, New Jersey, Utah) plus three thirds (Lime Rock, Mid-Ohio, Daytona).
“In the other four races, we were bumped out of contention by other cars twice (Daytona Rolex 24, Laguna Seca), suffered just one mechanical failure all season (Homestead) and finished off the podium in fourth once (Alabama).
“We were running strongly at Homestead and that one retirement ultimately hurt us badly but it has been a good year and an enjoyable one too, so naturally we hope to go one better next season.”