Victory at Silverstone for Sam De Haan and RAM Racing

Round 2 of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship saw a return to the top step of the podium for Sam De Haan, as he and his RAM Racing teammate James Cottingham recorded Silver-Am victory. Competing in the pink #69 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Sam and James scored maximum points after a three-hour battle at the championship’s headline event, the Silverstone 500. The result catapults the pairing up to 2nd in the championship, despite not scoring at the opening round.

Pace had looked strong in the weekend’s opening sessions around the Silverstone GP circuit, and James chalked up the quickest time in class during the opening qualifying session. With Sam improving on the laptime, but up against the Pro drivers in the second session, the Zenith-backed Mercedes scored P3 in class. The competitive nature of the field was highlighted as the pair narrowly missed out on the overall top-10 by just 0.014s, and the top three in the Silver-Am class were covered by less than 0.2s.

Following qualifying, Sam explained:

”It is great to be back racing at Silverstone, and the grid is incredibly strong this year. The pace of the field is extremely quick, but we are definitely in the mix knocking on the door of the top-10, and I am confident we have the car and the team to be able to push the guys ahead for a strong result.”

Cooler, overcast conditions added a new angle to the start of the race after the warmer qualifying, but James maintained his grid position from the rolling start and set a target on the higher podium positions. Despite an early setback in the opening laps, James kept out of trouble and had moved up into the top-10 after 30 minutes, and as the leading pack started an early pitstop schedule, so the #69 moved up the order.

Shortly after the 1-hour mark, James pitted from the class lead for the first of three mandatory stops, handing over to Sam for his first British GT laps of the season. He emerged still holding the class lead, and still within the top-10 of the overall field. Over the next 30 minutes, Sam closed down the cars both on track and through the pitstop strategies, and at mid-distance he was comfortably at the head of the class by more than half a minute, and with several competitors between him and his closest rival.

As the race entered the second half, Sam was running his own race and the strategy saw him climbing the standings. With his pace improving with each lap, and with strategy becoming more relevant with each lap, Sam continued to progress and shortly after two-thirds race distance he had built a sizable advantage over his championship rivals and held an overall podium position. Into the final hour, with two pitstops remaining, Sam posted the car’s quickest time, underlining his pace and determination, eventually pitting for James to complete another short stint and maintaining the class lead.

A split strategy against the nearest rival saw Sam return to the track with just over 30 minutes remaining running in P2, but the hard work and consistent pace saw Sam retake the lead on track before the pitstop cycles played out and left the #69 comfortably at the head of the field.

At the flag, Sam crossed the line in P8 overall, on the lead lap after three hard-fought hours, and more than a lap ahead of his closet competition to claim Silver-Am class victory.

Race-winner, Sam explained:

“It was a tough race, and the strategy played a huge part in the result across the whole field, but the team did a great job and we did what we needed to do to get ahead early on. James made a great start, and we both worked hard to run our own race and keep out of trouble, while the strategy meant we were still in the fight all the way to the end. As it turned out, we managed to pull out a comfortable margin in the latter stages, and we were solidly fighting in the top-10. With the one-off entries not scoring points, it has also been a strong weekend for the team’s championship efforts.”

The result moves Sam and James up to joint-second in the drivers’ championship, and sees RAM Racing holding P2 in the overall teams’ standings heading to round 3 of the championship at Donington Park.



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