Monday, March 4, 2013

Victorious return for the Doug Gore ABT-Audi TT-R in Jamaica

By Johan Laubscher

This weekend marked the return of Doug “Hollywood” Gore in and the ATL Automotive ABT-Audi TT-R in Jamaica. The ex-ABT Sportsline DTM race car arrived in Jamaica during 2011 and competed successfully until an accident at Dover last May. The accident caused a lot of damage to the car’s chassis. The damage put the car out for the rest of the 2012 season as it went back to Germany for repairs. It was uncertain if the car would return to Jamaica, but luckily at the beginning of 2013 it was confirmed that the car would return. It had undergone a thorough ABT rebuild and received new bodywork from the SVC team in the Czech Republic, more can be read HERE and HERE

The car was re-launched at an ATL press conference last week, shortly after clearing customs upon its arrival back in Jamaica. The new look and livery were revealed at the press conference, more can be read HERE. Following the launch, the ATL Racing team was hard at work as the first race meeting was only a few days away. Jamwest, a new racing facility in Jamaica, played host to the first motorsport event of the year. Jamaica now has two race tracks, Dover and Jamwest. Shortly after the launch Doug Gore made it clear that the ATL team aims to rule both circuits by reclaiming the lap record at Dover and beating the existing record when they debut at Jamwest. 

The team was out testing at Jamwest before the race weekend, the day after the launch. No official times were shared, but the Audi was reported as being very fast on the new track. The existing lap record was held by Mr Zoom Zoom, Peter Rae, in his Mazda at 1 minute and 10 seconds.

Admittedly, there was a small entry list at Jamwest, but the headliner was that Doug Gore would face off against Peter Rae in his Mazda, one of the top competitors in Jamaica. David Summerbell and his Mitsubishi Evo, the current Dover lap record holder, did not attend this event.

The big news began in qualifying when Doug Gore took pole position by setting a new lap record at 1:08.396. Peter Rae had been experiencing problems during the morning and would start from the back of the grid. The first race began with Gore leading the field off the line, but Rae was the big mover by moving from seventh to second on the first lap. Rae then continued to set a tremendous pace and began reeling in Gore, setting a fastest lap of 1:08.450. This lap time stunned everyone at the track. Gore may still have held the overall record, which he set in qualifying, but Rae had put in a stormer during the race and was knocking on the door of reclaiming it. Doug Gore maintained the lead, despite Rae’s pace, and won the first MP class race of the day. Gore did win the race, but in contrast his fastest lap was 1:09.256, nearly a second slower than Rae, which became the talking point at the circuit.

For race two Gore and Rae were both on the front row, and the scene was set for the race of the day. The two drivers ran in close proximity during the opening laps with Doug maintaining the lead. Both drivers improved their best laptimes during the second race. Rae dropped to a 1:07.723 whereas Gore pulled out a flyer by setting the new lap record at 1:06.946. The pace was clearly very fast at the front but Gore maintained the lead and took his second race win on the day. It was later reported that Rae had developed a puncture during the closing stages of the race.

The day’s proceedings came to a close with a staggered race, where the fastest cars started at the back with time delays based on pace. Only four cars competed the race with Rae suffering a retirement and Doug ultimately finishing third, but he was lapping almost ten seconds a lap faster than the cars in front of him.

It was a successful return for Doug Gore and the ATL Automotive ABT-Audi TT-R. Two race wins and the new lap record meant it was a case of mission accomplished, but the real test will come at the next event. The Jamaican motorsport brigade will next compete at Dover, the annual Carnival of Speed. All the top contenders, including Gore, Summerbell and Rae, will be there, all aiming for the top spot and the lap record. 

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