British GT Brands Hatch

The British GT Championship rolled into the Kent Brands Hatch Gp circuit for the penultimate round. In the GT3 class victory went to the Team Parker Racing Bentley #31 of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr and GT4 victors Macmillan AMR of William Philips and Jan Jonck.

The 2 hour race was held in sunny warm conditions which was a complete contrast from a very wet to drying qualifying the day before. Starting from pole #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Phil Keen got away in the lead but fellow front row starters #24 Macmillan AMR Aston Martin of James Littlejohn kept the Lamborghini in his sights. When Keen was trying to pass the GT4’s he ran slightly wide but that was all the invitation that Littlejohn needed and nipped through into the lead at Graham Hill Bend.

Behind the top two, the Team Parker Racing #31 Bentley of Rick Parfitt Jnr (who started in P6) made his way past TF-Sport’s Derek Johnston, Barwell Motorsport’s Liam Griffin and the other TF-Sport of Mark Farmer. Three laps after Littlejohn had passed Keen’s Lamborghini,  the Bentley duly did the same and was now into second.

The safety car was momentarily sent out so the marshals could retreive the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin that had broken down. This bunched the field up but once racing had resumed the top two had already broken away. A problem for Littlejohn (ECU issues) meant that his Aston Martin was side-lined moments before the hour mark.

At the first opportunity Team Parker Racing pitted and Seb Morris took to the wheel. This helped the team to have a very healthy lead of 26s once all the stops had been completed. At the flag Morris had managed to increase the lead to just under 34s over his nearest rivals.

The problem for Littlejohn promoted the #11 TF-Sport Aston Martin to second place prior to the pit-stops after Farmer had already overtaken Griffin’ Lamborghini and then Minshaw in the other Barwell Lamborghini. Griffin stopped early, after already overtaken the sister Barwell Lamborghini and with Sam Tordoff at the wheel had done enough to leapfrog the TF-Sport Aston once all the stops had taken place.

Minshaw’s was infact going further backwards as Johnston in his TF-Sport Aston also passed the Lamborghini before the pit stop window opened. Once all the stops had been completed, Keen was in fifth place behind Adam. During the closing stages of the race Tordoff, Barnes, Adam and Keen all ran very close to each other but no-one could make a move so thats how they finished at the flag after 2 hours of intense racing.

Duncan Cameron in his Spirit of Race Ferrari and Richard Neary driving the Team ABBA with Rollcentre Mecerdes were having a great battle and Neary got ahead of his rival just prior to the pitstops. Once battle resumes after the pitstops Adam Christodoulou was just ahead of Matt Griffin and the battle continued right until the end of the race and the gap was 0.455s as the flag fell.

The GT3 Drivers’ title race now goes to the final round at Donington where there are 35 points up for grabs. The duo of Morris/Parfitt Jnr now enjoy a 10.5 point lead, having previously been 12 points adrift, over Minshaw/Keen. At Donington Morris and Parfitt Jnr have a 20s pitstop success penalty whereas Minshaw and Keen don’t…

GT3 Winners Team Parker Racing #31DSC_4583

In the GT4 class it was a maiden win for Macmillan AMR Aston Martin and also for William Phillips and Jan Jonck. Tolman Motorsport finished second and current championship leaders, HHC Motorsport, completed the GT4 podium.

Starting from pole, Academy Motorsport’s Aston Martin Will Moore initially led the race but Black Bull Garage 59’s Sandy Mitchell soon relieved that from Aston driver. Moore now in second place was fending over the advances of Lanan Racing’s David Pittard, Niall Murry’s Century Motorsport and HHC Motorsport’s Middleton.

Moore’s Aston Martin grounded to a halt on Hawthorn Hill and the resulting safety car bunched everybody back up again. Just before the safety car was deployed Phillips had moved into fifth ahead Murray’s Century Motorsport Ginetta.

Once racing resumed it was just as frenetic. Murray passed Phillips at the restart but this only spurred on Phillips and he then retook the place and even made it one more place as he also overtook Middleton. Phillips was soon into second place as Pittard had to pit with a broken steering arm after some great battle with Mitchell. The Lanan mechanics fixed the Ginetta and send it back out, but they were several laps down and out of the points.

With the pitstop window open, Mitchell made his stop and handed his Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren over to Ciaran Haggerty. Macmillan AMR then stopped their Aston Martin and Phillips handed the driving over to Jan Jonck for the final stint. Once the stops had been completed it was still the McLaren leading the way. The Aston Martin of Jonck made his move going into Druids with just 15 minutes left on the clock.

Jonck disappeared off into the distance leaving Haggerty to fend off the Tolman Motorsport McLaren of Joe Osborne. Five minutes after losing the lead, Haggerty was down another place as the fast McLaren of Osborne moved ahead at Druids and set off trying to catch Jonck. The Tolman pairing had started in sixth but dropped back and not even a 10s pitsop success penalty could halt this pair on their charge.

On the last lap Haggerty was passed by Tregurtha in his HHC Motorsport and the day got worse for Haggerty as on the lasp lap he ended up in the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend and no points.

Going into the final round HHC Motorsport pairing now enjoy a 25 point lead over Lanan Racing’s Reed/Pittard. In fact HHC Motorsport are within touching distance of the GT4 Drivers’ title as Reed/Pittard must finish no lower than second..

GT4 Winners Macmillan AMRDSC_3068

The final race is at Donington on September 23/24.

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