Victories for both Optimum Motorsport and Balfe Motorsport as the Championship enjoys the Kent sunshine at Brands Hatch
Starting from pole, Flick Haigh in her Aston Marin Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin made a good start and had soon built a decent 12s lead, just enough to pit and and rejoin after serving an extra 10s success penalty. However a lengthy safety car period to remove the GT4 Ginetta of Mike Newbold from the start/finish straight eradicated that lead.
Once the safety car pitted, Haigh put in some quick laps in the last remaining six minutes to keep the pack headed by Spa winner Graham Davidson in his Jetstream Aston Martin, before the pitstop window opened and she could hand the Optimum Aston to partner Jonny Adam.
Thanks to those quick laps from Haigh, Adam was ahead of that charging pack, this time headed by the Beechdean AMR of Darren Turner and the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Phil Keen, who seemed to struggle to find space as nearly the whole grid pitted at the same time!
Stopping a lap later than everyone else and success penalties for Jetstream and Team Parker Racing, enabled the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker to jump from sixth to first as the second hour of racing was underway.
Turner soon dropped away from Adam and it was a great fight between the Lamborghini and Aston as the gap was no more than a second lap after lap. Cocker defended to keep Adam at bay, but, with five minutes of the race left, Adam made his move as they exited Hawhorns and was off to celebrate his 14th British GT victory.
Turner, having dropped back from the leading duo, was now doing his best to keep four others from taking his podium place. Keen, Nicki Thiim, Yelmer Buurman and Marco Sorensen were glued to each other trying to get past Turner. Unfortunately for Keen he had to pit and retire the Lamborghini due a blocked radiator which resulted in the engine overheating. This could have huge impact of the title hopes of Keen and Minshaw.
Thiim was now clear of the Lamborghini in fourth and was soon in that last podium position when the flag fell. A good result for the reigning GT3 Champion TF-Sport Aston Martin as they started back in 10th and now have a chance of hanging onto the title.
With one remaining round to go, Haigh/Adam lead Minshaw/Keen by 17.5 points, while Farmer/Thiim are only a point behind.
With a front row lock out, Century Motorsport’s Ben Green beat the sister BMW of Dean Macdonald into the lead for the first part of the race. Completing the top five GT4 Championship was Tolman McLaren of Charlie Fagg and the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin’s of Tom Wood and Will Moore.
With the intervention of the safety car, the various pairings couldn’t build enough of a lead to overcome their success penalties so after the pitstops had taken place, it was all change out front.
Balfe Motorsport who had started back in 13th with Graham Johnson moving his way through the field, had now taken over the lead with Mike Robinson enjoying a good gap to the UltraTek Nissan of Martin Plowman and the Team Parker Racing Mercedes AMG Scott Malvern.
The trio were covered by a mere 2s but Johnson was fortunate that Malvern was putting enough pressure on Plowman so that he was having to defend his second place. This allowed Johnson to enjoy a 6s lead as the flag fell at the end of two hours of racing.
Behind Johnson, Plowman and Malvern were joined by Century Motorsport’s Ben Tuck. The BMW had already been out in front during the opening stint, but success penalties meant that Tuck took over back in fifth. Having already overtaken Osbourne, Tuck was chasing another podium. On the final lap Tuck made his move on Malvern for third at Pilgrim’s Drop and a drag race to the line meant Tuck claimed that second spot on the podium, a mere 0.2s covered Tuck in second to Mavlern in fourth.
Behind this scrap for the podium was the Tolman Motorsport of Joe Osbourne. The team finished fifth after starting at the back and a late night changing the engine in the McLaren.
With the final race at Donington, the GT4 Championship is very close. Jack Mitchell leads fellow sister Century Motorsport team-mates by 10 points while HHC Motorsport Matthiessen/Pointon are only 3.5 back in third.
The final Championship decider is at Donington September 22/23.