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9th May 2016


Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse was cruelly denied a maiden GT4 victory in the second round of the British GT Championship at Rockingham today after a late stop-go penalty.

Piloting their McLaren 570S GT4 for only the second time, Scots teenagers, Sandy Mitchell from Letham and Ciaran Haggerty from Johnstone, again demonstrated their potential as race winners when they led into the second-half of the two-hour race.

Having started from third on the GT4 grid, 16-year-old Mitchell delivered a blistering first 55-minute stint, moving the car up to second place. Minutes after handing the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse car over to his 19-year-old team-mate, Haggerty had eased into a healthy lead. But visions of a first win in the UK’s most demanding sportscar championship evaporated when stewards adjudged the team had released the McLaren 570S GT4 early, before completing the compulsory 155-second stop.

“It’s obviously not what we were hoping for,” team boss Hugh McCaig said. “Certainly a few questions will be asked to identify exactly why the mistake was made at the pitstop, because there’s no doubt it cost us a win.” From leading the race, Haggerty rejoined in sixth and eventually fought back to fifth before crossing the line sixth. But hours after the race finished, the winning Ginetta was excluded, and the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse car promoted to fifth.


Sandy Mitchell — Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S GT4 driver
“I didn’t make the best of starts. I dropped two or three places, but I got back up to third when I passed a number of cars round the outside of Turn Two. I then tucked myself up close behind the second-placed car and though I knew I was faster, I couldn’t get past. When I did manage to ease past him, I could push on, open the gap to him and close in on the leader. Then I pitted, and Ciaran was doing a great job: he’d taken the lead when we got the news about the penalty. We eventually finished sixth, but we’ve made such a huge amount of progress over the opening two races. We’ve shown good pace, and to be feeling disappointed with sixth shows what our expectations are now. We’re here to win races.”

Ciaran Haggerty — Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S GT4 driver
“The car felt really good. We put new rubber on the car at the pitstop for my stint, and the car was really good for the opening laps I was in the car. We had a comfortable lead and I was focusing on managing the gap to the car in second place. But then I got the message about the pitstop penalties. I obviously then had to come in, and after we lost time with the stop-go, I went back out and tried my hardest to get back up the order. Then we had a couple of frustrating electrical issues with the car as well. But we need to remember, the McLaren 570S GT4 is still in its development phase. We’re only going to get stronger, as a driver unit, a team and car. We’ve shown again that the car has the qualifying and race pace, so top three results and wins aren’t far away.”

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