Top-five finish for Ely driver in Fox Motorsport team

Fox Motorsport's Mark Murfitt, left, with Michael Broadhurst.

Fox Motorsport's Mark Murfitt, left, with Michael Broadhurst. - Credit: Archant

An Ely man helped drive his team Fox Motorsport to a top-five finish in the British GT Championship’s GT4 Pro-Am division at the weekend.

The team from Maldon, Essex, which includes Ely’s Mark Murfitt, alongside teammate Michael Broadhurst, maintained their 100 per cent finishing record in the category with another strong performance.

Fifth place in a wet opening practice session laid solid foundations for the rest of the weekend, although a brake failure during FP2 led to a session-ending trip into the gravel for Mark and prevented the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 from undergoing a planned qualifying simulation.

Despite this, the pair secured fifth and 10th places in the respective ‘Pro’ and ‘Am’ sections of qualifying, to put the car eighth in class for Sunday’s two-hour race, although a front-row start was believed to have been achievable but for heavy traffic during the pro session.

The race took place in dry weather conditions, but was affected by sudden light sprinkles of rain and by several appearances by the safety car.

Mark started the race and fell to 10th place early on after one of those safety-appearances occurred just after he’d been lapped by the leader of the faster GT3 division – losing him over a minute to the cars he’d been battling through no fault of his own.

He made strong progress later in his stint to reach the halfway point in seventh spot.

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A lightning-fast pitstop by the Fox mechanics, followed by the almost instant re-appearance of the safety car, allowed Northampton-based Pro Michael to regain the lost lap.

He set off on a charge and climbed to fifth in Pro-Am by the chequered flag to add to the fourth place achieved by the team at Oulton Park in the season’s opening event.

Mark and Michael lie an impressive fifth in the GT4 Pro-Am Drivers’ points table while Fox Motorsport are 10th in the overall GT4 Teams’ Championship.

The next round takes place at Snetterton, Norfolk, on May 26-27.

Mark Murfitt said: “It’s been another solid weekend. I made a few rookie errors in the race and with that in mind, fifth in class is pretty good.

“We really haven’t had much dry running with the Mercedes this year, so we’re still finding our way around the car in those conditions, and we’ll continue to make progress after this weekend.

“I’m lacking experience compared to a lot of the other Am drivers because this is only my second year of racing, but everything is building nicely.

“We’ve practiced pitstop procedures a lot and it’s clear that we’re one of the best teams in this department, which helped us at Rockingham.

“We have three days of testing before the next round at Snetterton, which will give me some much-needed extra seat time and should help us move even further up the grid.”