Mitchell third in Euro GT3 Silver Cup 01 | 10 | 2018

    SCOTS TEENAGER SANDY MITCHELL clinched third place in the Silver Cup of the Blancpain GT Endurance Series, Europe’s leading sportscar championship, after a dramatic finale in Barcelona. (Related: Mitchell gunning for GT3 Euro glory)

    Driving his Black Bull Lamborghini Huracan GT3, the 18-year-old from Forfar recovered despite being pitched into the wall at the Circuit to Catalunya by another challenger for the title.

    And while stewards handed his rival a drive-through penalty after deeming it responsible for the incident, the Scot’s Euro hopes had disappeared. (Related: Mitchell claims maiden Blancpain GT win)

    “Without the contact we’d have been in a far better position to battle for the class win in the race and the Silver Cup,” stated Mitchell who — partnered with team-mates, Italian Michele Beretta and Croatian Martin Kodric — recovered to finish fourth in the three-hour season finale. The trio also finished third in the season-long Silver Cup.

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    “I went for a move up the inside into Turn 10, but as the corner continued he clipped the kerb then ran into me. That spun me into the wall and the rear of the car hit it hard. (Related: Mitchell bags Spa 24-Hours podium)

    “Once back on track it was obvious there was damage to the rear wing and rear diffuser. That meant the car lost a lot of rear downforce, so for three-quarters of my 60-minute stint it was very lively at the rear. I had a lot of oversteer.

    “But I managed it quite well and I was very happy with how I drove. I think it’s the best stint I’ve done all season.”

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    Mitchell — personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Whisky — was then forced to pit early from third position, handing the Lamborghini to Kodric. After losing time as emergency repairs were made to the damaged rear wing, the Croat then battled back to ease the Huracan into second in class.

    But the fallout from the earlier impact delivered a second blow. Because the Barwell Motorsport-prepared car had pitted early for repairs, Kodric was then forced into an unscheduled late pitstop to avoid exceeding his permitted time behind the wheel. Mitchell climbed back into the car and, because of the additional delay, brought the Lamborghini home fourth in class.

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    “Obviously it’s not the result we wanted to finish the season with,” Mitchell, a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star scheme, and part of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse GT3 Junior Program, admitted.

    “Without the hit we would have finished first or second. But overall we know again the car was exceptionally fast. It was a very positive weekend in terms of qualifying and the race pace.

    “Right through the season the team has been brilliant and but for the unfortunate bad luck we experienced in the opening two races at Monza and Silverstone, we’d have lifted the Silver Cup. But that’s motorsport.

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    “It’s been a big step up in driver class moving to a European championship on the big Euro circuits, but I’ve enjoyed every moment. And I’ve go to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all my sponsors who have contributed to the season’s success.

    “I’ve progressed a lot throughout the season and I’m really confident now racing and competing at this level. Now I can’t wait for next year.”

    And Euan Shand, chairman of main sponsors Black Bull Scotch Whisky, commented: “This has been an exciting season for the team this year, and Sandy was very unlucky the outcome of the race in Barcelona wasn’t more befitting of his effort. 

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    "He’s had a brilliant initiation on to the European GT platform and we’re very proud of his achievements in this new arena. The standout results were obviously his win at Paul Ricard and podium finish with the team in the Spa24H. 

    "This is just the beginning for Sandy; watch this space!”

    Related: Mitchell gets Lamborghini global role

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    Jim McGill

     

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