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September 21, 2017

Daniel Brown: The ups and downs of the Zandvoort Dunes

Daniel Brown: The ups and downs of the Zandvoort Dunes

August was a quiet month for me in racing terms, with only British GT at Brands Hatch and then some testing in historic cars.

Brands was a great weekend for me with the highlight being qualifying on pole position by 0.35 seconds. The race was a bit more difficult due to a pit stop success penalty, but finishing 4th was a solid result and a good haul of points for the championship.

The next stop on the British GT calendar was the undulating circuit of Zandvoort. I raced here once before in 2011, but that was in the AF Corse Ferrari 458 which is a little bit different to the BMW Z4.

Practice went very well for our car and we worked on a setup which would give a consistent car in the race. The qualifying sessions were interrupted by rain showers, but my team mate Steve did a great job qualifying 3rd and I finished the second qualifying session in 9th.

However, along with a number of other cars, we were given a 5 place grid penalty from the first qualifying session for not completing enough laps. This meant Steve would line up in 8th position.

The race one start was relatively quiet and Steve made up a couple of positions in the first few laps before a huge crash for Rick Parfitt Jnr brought out the car safety car. Thankfully Rick was OK and the marshals did a great job to clean the circuit so quickly. As the safety car period ended, the pit window also opened and there was a rush of cars to the pit lane. We decided to stay out for another lap and this proved to be the best decision. As the first pitstops finished, the drivers were greeted by a red light at the end of the pit lane and this held them for over 5 seconds. By the time we pitted on the following lap the pit exit had a green light again and I left the pit road in 4th position. I quickly passed a couple of cars to get into 2nd before I chased after the Porsche of Michael Caine. It proved more difficult to get past him as he defended perfectly every lap. I was very happy to finish in 2nd place as this gave us a good haul of points in the championship.

Race two was a bit more eventful than the first one. After making a solid start and lapping in 8th position, I came up to the back of a GT4 car to lap him and we made contact as I was passing him which caused both of us to retire. It was disappointing for this to happen, but this type of incident can often occur in mixed class racing and that is one of the challenges of it.

Next up on my agenda is the Masters Historic Touring Car series at Spa Francorchamps on the weekend of the Spa 6 Hour Classic race. I will be driving a Ford Escort Mk1 which is great fun and I am looking forward to it.

Daniel

About The Author

Gary Parravani

Gary Parravani is Racing.GT's chief photographer and website manager. The big boss of Xynamic Automotive Photography. Gary originally founded Racing.GT with Chris Partridge in 2013.