BLACK BULL ECURIE ECOSSE drivers Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty stormed to their second GT4 win in the British GT Championship. But the win at Donington was only achieved after a Herculean, near one-handed effort by Haggerty.
Having started the two-hour race from second on the
grid in in their McLaren 570S GT4, sponsored by John Clark Motor Group, Mitchell immediately took the lead into the
first right-hander and set about establishing a lead, but the appearance of the
safety car bunched the field up again.
On the restart, the 16-year-old from Forfar quickly re-established an advantage, and in the process set the fastest GT4 lap of the race with a 1min 37.410secs.
After his 60-minute stint, Mitchell — who became the youngest-ever winner in the British GT Championship last time out at Snetterton — handed the car over to Haggerty with a five-second lead.
The 20-year-old from Johnstone, who earlier in the week damaged his right hand in a work-related accident, arrived at Donington with his right hand and forearm bandaged.
Overcoming the pain, Haggerty then increased the advantage to 10s and the young duo took their second win of the season, in the process clinching third place in the British GT4 Championship and second in the Silver Cup.
The flying Scot though had to be helped from his McLaren at the end of the race before being taken to the circuit’s medical centre because he couldn’t move his left shoulder and arm.
“The problem was caused by the extra load I had to put on my left shoulder, basically because I wasn’t able to use the right hand as much as I usually would during the race,” Haggerty, clearly in severe pain, explained.
“The muscles in my shoulders cramped up and I couldn’t hold my arm up. I had to have a massage and antibiotics, then go to the medical centre, get some treatment and a sling to support it.
“Strangely, my other hand, which I cut on Wednesday, is ok, but I basically drove most of the race almost one-handed. I’m really happy to get the win.
“I’m just so pleased I was able to hold on and bring the car home for our second win in the British GT Championship. Nothing was going to stop me climbing on to the top step of the podium with Sandy.”
Team-mate Mitchell was quick to praise the courage of Haggerty.
“I’m not sure I could have gone through the pain barrier the way Ciaran did, but I’m so pleased he did because it guaranteed our second win of the season,” Mitchell said.
“I’m really happy with the victory. Having wins at the last two circuits, Snetterton and Donington, has been incredible. And to snatch third overall in the championship by nine-and-a-half points, and second in the Silver Cup after all the bad luck we had early on, is fantastic.”
The young guns' achievements were praised by Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse team principal Hugh McCaig, who also saw his McLaren 650S GT3 car win the main race.
“These lads have been so laid back all season it’s unbelievable, but that shouldn’t disguise the raw talent they have and the hard work they’ve put in throughout the season,” he said.
“The performances they delivered both here and at Snetterton last time out merely confirm what we’ve always know, that they are two of the most talented young drivers in Britain.”