A SHUNT from another competitor wrecked Daniel Brown’s hopes of success at Imola in the European Le Mans Series.

Brown’s team-mate Roald Goethe was driving the opening stint of the four-hour endurance race in Italy when he was hit off the track by a rival.

The Billericay driver climbed the field after taking over from Goethe and handed over to Stuart Hall who brought their Aston Martin Vantage home in 20th place and ninth in their GTE class.

“It was a bit of a frustrating weekend really because the Aston Martin felt great in the race,” said 22-year-old Brown.

“Had we not dropped so far behind in the early stages, we could have definitely been in the hunt for a top five finish in our class.”

All three drivers were competing at the famous grand prix circuit for the first time and were satisfied with their practice sessions as they got to grips with Imola.

Hall was nominated to qualify the Aston but trouble getting heat into the slick tyres meant he was only able to place the car 12th in the GTE class.

German amateur driver Goethe took the first stint and was holding station when he was knocked off the track by a competitor’s ambitious overtaking attempt.

It put the Gulf Racing car in 36th place overall and last in the 15-car GTE class when Brown took over for the second stint.

He lapped at the same pace as the class leaders and clawed back places. After pitting for fuel Brown continued to climb up the order before the final stop saw Hall take over for the final stint.

He drove superbly to finish ninth in the GTE class and 20th overall.

Despite his disappointment at not quite being a match for the Ferrari 458s on their home circuit and the shunt adversely affecting the race, Brown was happy with the car and admitted he loved Imola.

“It is one of the great old-school tracks where there is no margin for error and it is really satisfying when you piece together a quick lap,” he added.

Brown takes a break from the ELMS this weekend when he will be driving a mark one Ford Escort during the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch.