Richard Neary wins both races in his Team Abba Racing Mercedes AMG in the Sprint Category, while in the Endurance Category Black Mamba won both races with their separate crews.
Starting from pole the FF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3 of Ross Wylie made a good start and was out in front of the striking Mercedes AMG GT3. By the time the pitstops came around the lead was just under 24s as the Ferrari made their driver change to their gentleman driver David Mason. The power of the Mercedes was evident as it soon made headway into that gap. By the time the pitstops had all finished, the Mercedes of Neary was out in front and the gap back got bigger and bigger. As the flag fell at the end of 50 minutes of racing the gap was over one minute. Completing the top step was the FF Corse Ferrari 488 of John Seale.
In the Endurance Category it was all about the GT4 machines in Class 3. Ginetta G55s mixed with a KTM X-Bow Coupe and an Aston Martin plus an invitation to a Mercedes GT4.
The two Black Mamba Ginettas made good their getaway and were running together. Behind, the Team HARD Racing 2016-spec Ginettas couldn’t match Optimum Motorsport’s 2017 version, but Simon Rudd/Tom Barley were keeping them honest. The Darron Lewis/Adam Hatfield Ginetta suffered a door flying during qualifiying to add to other woes and started middle of the grid. Despite this Lewis was making ground to the sister Team HARD Ginetta and when Hatfield took over he managed to finish behind the sister Ginetta in fourth. The third Team HARD Ginetta, invitees Graham Roberts and Ben Wallace, lost their fourth place by a last-lap rush from Hatfield. Only 10s covered all three cars!
Class 4 had couple of TCR-Spec SEAT Cupras with one driven by BTCC drivers Adam Morgan and Stewart Lines. Victory though went to Sarah Moore and young 16 year-old Matty Greenwood in their Tockworth Motorsport Ginetta G50. Both the TCR SEATS were running so close together and racing hard that Lines took over from Morgan in a SEAT that had next to no brakes!
Starting from pole Richard Neary was off! The rolling start meant he could exploit the power of the Mercedes. However, the Ferrari of Ross Wylie made ground and made a move for the lead on lap four. Not only did Neary lose the lead, he was also deemed to jump the start and had to serve a stop/go penalty. By the time he rejoined, the gap was just over 40s to the Ferrari.
Wylie pitted the Ferrari at the last possible moment to hand over to David Mason. Neary didnt have to worry about driver change being a solo drive so the pit window didnt apply, so pitted later. Unfortunately he had to serve yet another stop/go due to his pit stop being 1s short of his 105s regulation pit stop. By the time he had rejoined from serving his penalty, the Ferrari was 13s down the road with six minutes of the Sprint race left. With 4 minutes left, the Mercedes made his move at the Tarzan hairpin. The sister FF Corse of Seale made a last lap move on Mason to claim second.
The two Black Mamba Ginetta G55s were again running together behind the Sprint contenders with the three Team HARD Racing Ginettas running as a trio behind. Ben Wallace in the #88 Team HARD Ginetta was the first of the Endurance runners to make his stop. Adam Hatfiled in the #285 Team HARD Ginetta came in with smoke from the front right of the car. All this was happening while the #88 was still in the pitlane having its own issues! Next in was Simon Rudd handing over to Tom Barley and this was relatively straight forward and all three were free to race to the end of the race.
Starting from the back of the grid (courtesy of ending the last race in the grave) the KTM X-Bow was up to third as the Team HARD cars were making their stops. The Black Mamba Ginettas were the last to stop right on the edge of the pitstop window closing. However, disaster was about fall for Black Mamba. The #6 Ginetta stopped on the grass coming out of Chapman Curve after the engine expired.
This brought out the safety car, but it picked up the seconded place KTM X-Bow. Once the stricken Ginetta had been retrieved the field was waved past so that the lead car (#22 Black Mamba Ginetta) was now behind the safety car. The sole remaining Black Mamba Ginetta was now struggling on its tyres and fastest was now the KTM X-Bow and the gap was being reduced at a massive 6s a lap. With the Ginetta struggling, the rest of the field were able to unlap themselves and to make matters worse they were put into a spin as the Class 4 SEAT of Ashley Woodman as he was chasing Lines’ TCR SEAT. Fortunately for Black Mamba they didnt lose the lead and managed to hold on for a win with the KTM X-Bow just 3.5s behind in second. Completing the podium was Simon Rudd/Tom Barley in their Team HARD Racing Ginetta.
The next round is Silverstone May 12th.