British GT – Oulton Park

Race 1 start. Source: Ian Cutting Photography

History made in GT3 at Oulton Park. 

Today saw the 2018 British GT Championship races get underway at a rather soggy Oulton Park circuit, located in Cheshire. Race one took place just before midday with Flick Haigh starting on pole position in the #75 Optimum Motorsport run Aston Martin. Haigh made history in the GT3 Am qualifying session on Saturday as she became the first woman to take the outright pole position in the championship after posting the fastest time in the GT3 Am session.

Optimum Motorsport. Source: Ian Cutting Photography

The race was started under safety car conditions, the Team Parker Racing Mercedes in the hands of Nick Jones was unable to pull away off the grid before being able to re-join the pack albeit a lap down. About five minutes later the safety car lights were out and it was peeling back into the pit lane. When the lights went out, the grid stormed away ready to battle for the opening victory. Just a few moments after getting the race underway with green flag conditions there was contact between Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and TF Sport’s Mark Farmer at Old Hall with the latter sent for a spin but was able to re-join. The next car to experience some bad luck was the sister TF Sport Aston Martin in the hands of Derek Johnston. 

Back at the front it was Flick Haigh leading the pack with a gap of 6.4 seconds to second placed Jon Minshaw. The latter started the race in P7 but climbed his way into second early on. Andrew Howard in the Beechdean Aston Martin climbed into third from fifth. Rick Parfitt Jnr running in third aboard the Team Parker Racing Bentley ahead of teammate Ian Loggie and ERC Sport’s Lee Mowle.

There was a great battle building for fourth place in GT3 between the two Team Parker Bentley’s in the hands of Parfitt Jnr and Loggie with the latter taking the position at Old Hall. With twenty-five minutes of the hour long race being completed the pit window opened, first in was race leader Haigh whereas second placed Minshaw opted to stay out for another lap. When all the stops were completed Haigh’s co-driver Jonny Adam took over the driving duties and carried on leading the race ahead of Minshaw’s co-driver Phil Keen in second.

The leading two cars were battling hard whilst negotiating through traffic, the Lamborghini in the hands of Phil Keen tangled with a Ginetta which forced him to take a trip to the pits with a puncture. Adam continued lapping the Cheshire circuit getting his lead up to 35 seconds. Beechdean’s Darren Turner inherited second place with ERC Sport’s Yelmer Buurman inheriting third. After his pit stop Phil Keen emerged in fourth place. 

Jonny Adam appeared to be comfortable at the head of the pack with all eyes focusing on the battle for second between Turner and Buurman with just 2.2 seconds separating the two. The second, third and fourth placed cars began closing in on each other with just under ten minutes of the race remaining. Turner’s lead now down to just one second. With five minutes of the race left to run Jonny Adam was leading by twenty-six seconds. Buurman closed right in on Turner with not much track separating the two.

Flick Haigh made more history by being the first woman to take the outright win in the championship with co-driver Jonny Adam. Beechdean’s Darren Turner and Andrew Howard took second place ahead of ERC Sport’s Yelmer Buurman and Lee Mowle in third and Barwell Motorsport’s Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw in fourth. Fifth place went to Barwell Motorsport’s Patrick Kujala and Leo Machitski.

The winners in GT4 were Ben Barnicoat and Adam Balon in the Track-Club McLaren 570S ahead of Century Motorsport’s Ben Green and Ben Tuck. Third place went to Tolman Motorsport’s Charlie Fagg and Michael O’Brien with Century Motorsport’s Jack Mitchell and Ricky Collard taking fourth. Fifth place in the GT4 class went to Tolman Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson. 

Track-Club McLaren. Source: Ian Cutting Photography

HHC Motorsport’s Callum Pointon led the class after starting on pole, his lead gap only 0.2 seconds over Michael O’Brien in the Tolman Motorsport run McLaren 570S. Century Motorsport’s stand in driver Ricky Collard was running third in class aboard the BMW M4 ahead of Academy Motorsport’s Tom Wood. Tolman Motorsport’s Lewis Proctor running in fifth ahead of Century Motorsport’s Ben Tuck rounding out the top six.

The pit stops were kind to TrackClub’s Adam Balon and Ben Barnicoat as they emerged in the lead of the class. Century Motorsport’s Ben Green running in second ahead of Tolman Motorsport’s Charlie Fagg. The second of the Century Motorsport run BMW’s in the hands of Jack Mitchell was running in fourth ahead of Tolman Motorsport’s Jordan Albert with just a quarter of the race remaining.

Race 2 was abandoned on safety grounds due to the adverse weather conditions as heavy rain began to fall before the start and continued to fall hard.

The next round is at Rockingham April 28th-29th