Barwell Motorsport’s #33 Lamborghini driven by Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen managed to extend their championship lead after taking the victory during race one at Spa-Francorchamps.
In the GT4 class it was Ebor GT’s Matthew Graham and Charlie Fagg that claimed victory aboard their Maserati after starting in last place. Alain Ferte and Stuart Leonard in the Team WRT run Audi and Kessel Racing’s Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo van Dam completed the GT3 podium positions.
In GT4 the podium was decided after two crazy final laps of the race which saw Lanan Racing’s David Pittard and Alex Reed finish in second ahead of HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton in third.
During the race there were two lenthly periods where the Safety Car was deployed, this played into the hands of Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen. Team Parker Racing’s pole sitting Rick Parfitt Jnr was denied the opportunity to exit the pits ahead of the first placed car during the pit stops.
Two laps of the race had been completed during the first twenty-eight minutes of the race due to Century Motorsport’s Steve Fresle crashing at Raidillon on the second lap. At the restart a strange incident saw Team Parker Racing’s Nick Moore at the wheel of the Porsche Cayman Clubsport end up on top of Century Motorsport’s Anna Walewska in the Ginetta G55 at La Source. Both drivers escaped without injury.
The majority of the field chose to pit as soon as the window opened during the second safety car period. Team Parker kept Parfitt Jnr out for a bit longer but it failed to help Morris – he returned to the track down in sixth place.
Barwell’s Minshaw pitted from fourth place and inherited the lead of the race when the Bentley and Macmillan AMR’s Aston Martin pitted. Keen then set about lapping consistently until the chequered flag – crossing the line fourteen seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
Team WRT’s Alain Ferte started from fifth and stayed there before the pit window opened but moved up into second when co-driver Stuart Leonard rejoined the circuit. Leonard was 0.850 seconds clear of Carlo van Dam.
The latters co-driver Bhirombhakdi stole everyone’s attention at the start as he jumped from fourth to first by the time they reached Les Combes for the first time. Parfitt Jnr used the same move to retake the lead on the second tour.
Barwell Motorsport’s Patrick Kujala suffered an issue late on that gifted Team Parker Racing’s two Bentley’s fourth and fifth place. TF Sport’s Jon Barnes finished in sixth ahead of Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing’s Adam Christodoulou.
Just under three seconds covered second to seventh positons when the flag came out. Sam Tordoff rounded out the top eight in his Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. TF Sport’s Jonny Adam finished the opening race in ninth after his co-driver Derek Johnston spun on the opening lap of the race. Macmillan AMR’s Jack Mitchell finished the race in tenth after struggling in the pit stops due to added time they must serve.
Post race Team WRT’s Audi was given a six place grid drop for the second race of the day due to contact with cars #501 and #55.
In the GT4 class, Ebor GT’s Maserati in the hands of Matthew Graham and Charlie Fagg managed to climb from last up to take the win by 5.8 seconds. A gearbox issue had forced the duo to sit out of qualifying yesterday but it proved not to affect the two from fighting their way through the pack.
Tolman Motorsport’s David Pattison and Joe Osborne who looked to be on the way to a certain victory before a puncture on the penultimate lap denied them the win. Pattison had pitted from seventh in GT4 but with many other teams having to serve longer times in the pit stops which saw his co-driver Osborne exit the pits in the lead of the class.
With just two laps remaining Osborne was fourteen seconds clear before a puncture and slow in lap saw Tolman’s hopes of a first win during 2017 taken away from them.
All eyes were on the group behind, Black Bull Garage 59’s Ciaran Haggerty had inherited the lead after Osborne had to limp back to the pits. At almost the same time as he inherited the lead Graham flew past to relieve him of the lead after passing Stuart Middleton and David Pittard. Haggerty dropped to fourth behind Graham, Middleton and Pittard. Pittard ended the race in second ahead of Middleton.
Macmillan AMR’s Jan Jonck and William Phillips were running in the top five all throughout the race – which is where they finished too. Ultratek/RJN’s Taffinder and Plowman moved into sixth after Tolman’s puncture. Academy Motorsport’s Will Moore pitted from third place but co-driver Matt Nicoll-Jones finished the race in seventh.
Duvyer and Hollings led home the In2Racing cars with teammates Marcus Hoggarth and Jesse Anttila following behind in ninth. Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing’s Jake Giddings and Matt Chapman rounded out the top ten.
Reigning GT4 Champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson looked to be on course to celebrate a well earned return after starting on the back row of the grid, they had fought their way into third before contact with Team WRT’s Audi spun the McLaren round at the Bus Stop Chicane, knocking them out of contention.
Post race, the #100 McLaren was investigated after being involved in an incident after the chequered flag which sees the duo excluded from both races