Maiden British GT win for father / son duo Richard and Sam Neary in their Team Abba Racing Mercedes GT3 while Gus Burton and Will Burns claim GT4 honours.
Starting from pole, the RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie exited turn 1 in the lead but behind the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini was turned round into a spin and then collected an unfortunate Leo Machitski’s Barwell Lamborghini. Machitski limped round back to the pits but the damage was beyond repair and was wheeled back into the garage. The stranded WPI Lamborghini brought out the first of safety car visits.
Running P2 at the end of the first lap was the Team Abba Racing Mercedes AMG of Richard Neary. Having missed qualifying and most of FP 2 they start at the back of the GT3 pack. The reason for sitting out of qualifying was an exploding brake disc during FP 2 as Sam Neary braked on the entry to the Essess. Parts of the disc went through the bodywork, broke the suspension and spilt the rim into two pieces.
Just as soon as the safety car pitted it was soon sent back out again as chaos reigned in GT4. The second time of asking at the restart, Neary was closer this time to Loggie and duly made his move for the lead going into Redgate. The last appearance of the safety car meant Neary couldn’t really pull out a gap but once racing resumed once more a gap of 3s was soon had over the chasing Loggie.
Behind Loggie it was the Balfe McLaren of Stewart Proctor keeping everyone else at bay, but was soon passed by Kelvin Fletcher, Adam Balon, Andrew Howard and Morgan Tilbrook. The Lamborghini of Balon and the Aston Martin of Howard soon made their way past a struggling Fletcher, as the Bentley was having grip issues.
Just after the hour mark, separated by 1.5s, both Neary and Moggie pitted at the same time, but with the RAM Racing having to serve an extra 10s, Sam Neary retained the lead his father had worked hard to establish.
With the AMG driver of Yelmer Buurman now in the RAM Racing AMG he set about trying to reduce the gap to Neary. The young Neary though managed to increase the lead of the experienced Buurman and crossed the line to claim the teams first British GT victory by 15.9s and the first by father / son pairing.
With Buurman running P2, the attention was drawn to the battle for the last podium position. Jonny Adam, Marcus Clutton and Sandy Mitchell all eyeing that third place.
Mitchell had rejoined in P7 after serving his success penalty and had managed to overhaul both Lewis Proctor and Martin Plowman to be able to be able to hassle Clutton.
Clutton was keeping an eye on the charging Lamborghini but same time trying to get his McLaren past the Beechdean Aston Martin. It was Adam who managed to use his experience to hang onto that P3 at the flag, a mere 0.7s ahead of Mitchell.
The Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin of Matt Topham lead the GT4 pack around the spinning WPI Lamborghini with John Ferguson and Will Moore in close pursuit. The resulting safety car bunched the field together and at the restart and at the restart Ferguson and Moore both got past the Aston.
At McLeans a multi car clash involved the Ginetta of Mark Sansom, Balfe McLaren of Ashley Marshall and the McLaren of Alain Valente, Topham was also caught in the chaos. Chris Salkeld was later penalised with a 10s stop-go penalty for causing a collision.
This resulted in the safety car being sent back out again so stricken cars could be collected. Ferguson in his Toyota maintained the lead closely followed by Moore, Will Burns’ Century Motorsport BMW and Harry Hayek in his McLaren.
Burns didn’t waste time getting past Moore and then soon made his move for the lead diving into the Melbourne Hairpin. Ferguson was now busy defending from Moore and Hayek. Hayek had just got ahead of Moore and challenging Ferguson for P2. Exiting Goddards Hayek had managed to get ahead of the Toyota but was clipped at the rear and half spun and collected an innocent Moore in his Mustang, both retiring from the race.
All this was happening behind a lonely Burns before the pit stop window opened and managed to enjoy in a 10s lead over Jordan Collard in his Team Rocket RJN McLaren. Century Motorsport kept Burns out as late as possible to build a gap. The plan worked as Gus Burton rejoined the action with a 6s advantage. The speed of the BMW meant they managed to finish the race a full lap clear of their rivals.
The battle for second place was were the action was. James Kell had taken over from Collard but with some damage to the rear of the car early on it was starting to take effect on the McLaren. This meant Kell wasn’t able to defend the position from Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke’s BMW, who had taken over from Salkeld. Gordon-Colebrooke had driven a great stint to overhaul the penalty and made his move for P2 as he swept past a stricken McLaren at Redgate.
With a Century 1-2, Kell tried to hang onto that last podium place but he could do nothing to stop Jamie Stanley going past in his Fox Motorsport McLaren. Kell finally finished P5 behind Ciceley Motorsport of Jake Giddings.
The next round is at Spa-Francorchamps July 24th / 25th.