After a disappointing start to the season Ben de Zille Butler was looking forward to finally putting his mark on the 2008 British GT Championship at his home circuit of Snetterton. Returning to the Norfolk track for the first time since his podium finish in the Barwell Aston Martin DBRS9 Ben said, “I like it at Snetterton and am looking forward to finally showing people what I can do after a tough start to the season.”

With Friday testing being very wet Ben & teammate Guy Harrington were able to show their pace with 7th fastest time of the day and when the rain continued to fall as heavily in Saturday mornings free practice they continued to impress with 4th fastest in the treacherous conditions. With a good set up in mind the team decided to park the car after 15 minutes to both save tyres and avoid the risk of an off before qualifying. As the session dried a few cars went quicker in the better conditions but everyone was confident for good result finally.

The luck appeared to be improving as a clear track gave Guy the chance to qualify 4th on the grid for race one in drying conditions. With the skies appearing to lift slightly Ben and the team opted to go out in session two on the scrubbed wets Guy had used as there was less standing water and an adjustment was also made to the rear wing. This quickly showed to be the wrong call as the session saw constant drizzle leave standing water in places and Ben suffered with massive under steer due to low tyre pressures, eventually posting a time not far off Guy’s time in session one but only good enough for 16th in race two.

The luck continued to avoid the former Caterham Champions as the pit lane was opened early for the grid to form and the number 11 car did not make it out on time forcing them to start from the pit lane along with six other cars.

As the lights went out and all the cars passed the line Guy was let out to join the back of the train. In the opening 3 laps he managed to carve his way through the slower GT4 cars and quickly catch his first GT3 target of Hector Lester. For a couple of laps Guy sat behind looking for the right opportunity to pass in the greasy conditions and as he was about to make the move into the Esses he felt the rear of the car lock up slightly and he started to drop back. A lap later the low oil pressure light came on and Guy was forced to retire the car into the pit lane.

Despite hard work by Team Modena overnight to get the car running for Sunday’s race the problem was terminal and Ben had to go for an early bath without completing a single race lap at his home circuit.

I am obviously disappointed” said Ben, “the car was going well and I was beginning to feel confident in it on Friday and Saturday. My qualifying time did not show the true pace but that was due to circumstance and the way the car was set up did not suit the conditions. I will of course take this disappointment on the chin and pick myself up for the next round at Thruxton on three weeks time. I like Thruxton a lot and if we can finally shake of the bad luck that is following us around at the moment am confident we can compete at the front like last year.”


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