In a race that featured a stoppage of nearly an hour following an accident on the second lap, defending champion Andrew Howard brought the #1 Vantage GT3 to the flag for a comfortable victory that allows the team to move into the championship lead.
In the GT4 class, victory went to Twisted Team Parker for the second time this season as Ginetta teams locked out the podium places.
The initial start to the race had seen Jonathan Adam maintain his lead having qualified on pole position ahead of Adam Carroll in the FF Corse Ferrari and Joe Osborne’s Triple Eight-run BMW.
However, before the race had chance to settle down, the red flags were thrown after a three-car incident involving the Aston Martins of John Gaw and Andy Schulz and the BMW of Luke Hines.
While all three drivers escaped injury in the incident, heavy damage to the tyre barrier at Riches necessitated a lengthy stoppage before the race was able to resume at a shortened 55 minutes.
None of the three cars would be able to take the restart, with Gaw later hit with a £1,000 fine and excluded from the results after being deemed to be at fault.
Running initially behind the Safety Car, which was forced to stay out when Steven Kane pulled off track with an issue in the M-Sport Bentley, the race proper eventually got under with 45 minutes remaining, with Adam quickly settling about building an advantage over the chasing pack.
With Carroll being forced to defend from the cars behind, Adam built an advantage of eight seconds before bringing the car in, with Howard then rejoining with a comfortable advantage over the cars behind.
As they continued to squabble for position, the defending champion was able to bring the #1 car to the finish nearly 14 seconds clear to open his and the team’s win account for 2014.
Behind, Carroll had been the first of the front-runners to make his mandatory driver change and although Gary Eastwood briefly dropped to fourth having rejoined, the fact he had his tyres up to temperature when others then stopped allowed him to quickly get back into second spot, where he would stay to the finish; allowing the new partnership in the #18 Ferrari to celebrate a podium first time out.
It was a result that went some way towards making up for the disappointment of the retirement in race one, which had at one stage led to questions over whether the car would be out for race two.
The final podium place went to the Strata 21 Aston Martin of Tom Onslow-Cole and Paul White, which had run fifth in the early phases of the race.
Good work in the pits during the driver change and a solid run from White at the wheel saw the pair come home clear of the fourth placed Porsche of Jon Minshaw, which had stormed through the pack in the closing stages.
Lee Mowle, in the remaining Triple Eight BMW, and Iain Dockerill in the United Autosports Audi rounded out the top six; the latter looking increasingly comfortable in his new car as the weekend went on.
For the man who had topped the points going into the race, there was to be disappointment however, with an error in the closing stages leaving Marco Attard in the #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW down in tenth spot.
The car had run fourth early on in the race and Attard himself was sitting fifth when he ran wide while trying to find a way ahead of Dockerill in the mid-pack train.
The GT4 battle ultimately went the way of Ginetta, but it was a race that would ebb and flow between the front-runners throughout.
On the initial start, things looked to be going disastrously wrong for both the ISSY Racing Lotus and the Oliphant/Parfitt Ginetta when they were forced to put after the opening lap with mechanical issues.
The red flag that followed allow both teams to prepare for the restart, with the Lotus taking up its slot on the grid and the Ginetta joining in from the pits as the race got underway.
Gavan Kershaw led the early part of the race but was forced to retire just as it was announced that the car was to be given a penalty for a start infringement.
That allowed the Team Parker Porsche of Dan Cammish to take the lead and the former single-seater racer would maintain top spot through to the pitstops ahead of former champion Bradley Ellis in the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta.
Following the stops, Cammish’s team-mate Barrie Baxter slipped back down the order with Ellis’ partner Ade Barwick inheriting the lead; albeit with an ever decreasing advantage over the charging Aston Martin GT4 of Andrew Jarman.
A mistake from the TF Sport man dropped him out of contention, with Parfitt then becoming the driver most likely to take victory away from the Silverstone winner.
A slight error from Parfitt would give Barwick the breathing space he needed to take victory in the end by just 2.6 seconds, although second still marked an impressive result for the Century car after the team worked to replace the gearbox under the red flag.
The sister car of Morten Dons and Aleksander Schjerpen rounded out the podium places less than half a second back, with the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin in fourth; a penalty for being slightly too quick on the driver change preventing Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings from pushing for victory.
Full race result: http://bit.ly/V2wSui
Jonathan Adam – #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3:
“The car felt really good and the drop in ambient temperature helped to improve the balance. I was able to build a gap and the team did a great job in the pits to turn the car round quickly. Andrew could cruise to the finish, although in those situations you have to be careful as it’s easy to make a mistake. He drove well and its good for us to get a win and it gives us a boost in confidence heading to Spa.”
Adam Carroll – #18 FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia:
“It was really tight out there but it was a good race. I kept it consistent during my stint and didn’t make any mistakes, and I think that was the best I could have done. Gary drove well and it’s good for the team to have another podium finish. It makes up for race one and I think we can be happy as that is the best we could have done.”
Bradley Ellis – #46 Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G55 GT4:
“I’m really pleased for us to get the win. The problems for the Lotus did help but I did what I could to give Ade a bit of a lead and then it was down to him. The team has been great and I think we are doing a good job and I’m really happy with how the weekend has ended.”
Adrian Barwick – #46 Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G55 GT4:
“Brad put me in a nice position but I was worried I was overdriving the car and the team was telling me I needed to keep pushing. When I crossed the line and the team told me I’d won, I couldn’t believe it. I thought I’d got my win for this season; I didn’t expect to get another!”
Tom Oliphant – #42 Century Motorsport Ginetta 55 GT4:
“I didn’t think we’d even race when we had the issue with the clutch but the red flag gave the guys the time to change the gearbox and they got us out literally just in time to join the back of the field. It was maximum attack as we had nothing to lose and when Rick took over, he put in a great performance – a few laps more and we’d have had the win. Huge credit has to go to the team, everyone mucked in to make that result possible.”
Rick Parfitt Jr – #42 Century Motorsport Ginetta 55 GT4:
“I feel a bit emotional after that as I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. The team did an unbelievable job and it was like watching something on Top Gear – they got the car ready to the exact second it needed to be ready for us to join the race. The car was quite evil towards the end and I almost got caught out at turn one when I carried a bit too much speed in, but I was able to save it and even though I think we could have won with a few more laps, I’m pleased to get P2 from the back of the grid. We’ve got a great team who have given us a great car and I’m thrilled with two podiums from the weekend.”
Morten Dons – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“The team was great this weekend and the car was perfect. I’m really happy that we got onto the podium on my first time here and I think that Rick and I could have caught the leader with a bit more time. I was quite close to him at the end but wasn’t going to make a silly move on my team-mate and it’s a good result for the team.
Trackspeed opens account
Having qualified fifth on the grid, the Demon Tweaks-backed 997 GT3 R emerged from a lengthy battle with the pole-sitting Ecurie Ecosse BMW to give the former champions a narrow win.
In GT4, Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw also secured their first win of the year in the home race for their Lotus Evora GT4.
The race had started with Marco Attard on pole in the #79 BMW and the points leader held his position as the field headed into Riches for the first time, with Jody Firth in the first of the Trackspeed Porsches slotting into second behind.
The pair were able to break away from the field behind, with the AF Corse Ferrari of Pasin Lathouras acting as the cork in the bottle as a train of cars built behind.
Running in fourth, Minshaw was forced to bide his time before making his move into a podium position and set about chasing down the two leaders ahead before the trio pitted for their mandatory driver change.
Lathouras would continue to hold up the cars behind as both Derek Johnston and Andrew Howard tried to find a way through, with Johnston eventually finding a way ahead – albeit with contact that would drop the Ferrari well down the order.
It would prove to be an incident that had big repercussions for the #888 come the chequered flag…
As the driver changes took place – with the top three pitting together – it was Keen in the #63 that emerged out front, taking full advantage of the additional five seconds that the BMW had to spend in the pits following its podium finish at Silverstone.
Throughout the second half of the race, Keen would have his mirrors full of Cocker’s BMW, with the two cars being strong in different areas of the circuit.
Despite minor contact at turn two, there was to be no way past for Cocker who – mindful of the need to score points to aid Attard in his championship bid – was forced to settle for second place.
Behind the top two, the battle for third place was becoming an all Triple Eight affair, with Luke Hines settling into the final podium position after the Porsche of Warren Hughes had been forced to slow with a mechanical issue.
Hines wouldn’t have it easy however, with team-mate Joe Osborne putting on a charge that saw him find a way ahead of Richard Abra’s MP Motorsport Aston Martin before setting off after the sister BMW.
At the flag, the pair would be split by just under half a second, although there would be drama afterwards when the #888 car was excluded from the results for the contact between Johnston and Lathouras earlier on.
Johnston was also handed four points on his race licence, and docked twelve championship points.
That promoted Osborne and team-mate Lee Mowle into third, with the Aston Martin of Mark Poole and Abra in fourth.
Stewards had initially elected to exclude the car from the result following contact between Poole and the Ferrari of Gary Eastwood in the first part of the race, which forced the FF Corse car into retirement.
An appeal from the team saw them later reinstated into the result, although Poole was docked nine championship points and the car handed a six place grid penalty that it will take at Spa.
Phil Dryburgh and John Gaw took fifth in their PGF – Kinfaun Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Jonny Adam rounding out the top six for Beechdean AMR; just ahead of the Audi of Matt Bell.
Two further Aston Martins and a Bentley rounded out the top ten in the hands of Michael Caine, Tom Onslow-Cole and James Appleby.
Heading into the race, many had predicted that the ISSY Racing Lotus would walk away with proceedings give its Saturday pace, but the opposite would be true in the opening stint, with Oz Yusuf coming under huge pressure from the Century Motorsport Ginetta of Rick Parfitt Jr.
Giving it his all, Parfitt was able to force Yusuf into a mistake that allowed him through into the lead and he would work hard to build an advantage before pitting to hand the car to team-mate Tom Oliphant.
His hard work would come to nothing however, with a gearbox issue leading to the loss of vital time before he was able to rejoin the race.
That issue gave Gavan Kershaw a comfortable lead when he rejoined in the Lotus, although there was still time for a scare when rising water temperatures allowed the chasing pack to close in in the final laps.
Kershaw would ultimately take the flag three seconds clear of the Aston Martin of Jake Giddings, with the Beechdean driver having been forced to defend hard to keep a recovering Oliphant at bay.
Alexander Schjerpen took fourth in the second of the Century Motorsport cars, with the TF Sport Aston Martin and the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta rounding out the top six.
Full race one result: http://bit.ly/UvRXN5
Marco Attard – #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3:
“My stint was actually quite peaceful and I was able to maintain position. I knew Jody was there but wasn’t quite able to get the gap I wanted before we pitted. It’s more good points in the championship and while first would have been fantastic, I’m still pleased with second place.”
Jonny Cocker – #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3:
“Our car was very strong in the corners but the Porsche was quicker on the straights and when that is the case, it’s very hard to try and make a move. Phil drove very cleanly and to be honest, he did a perfect job. I’d have liked to win obviously, but my focus is on scoring as many points as possible for Marco and I wasn’t going to make a move unless I was 100 per cent sure I could make it through cleanly.”
Oz Yusuf – #77 ISSY Racing/Oz Yusuf Lotus Evora GT4:
“I’m really pleased. We’ve worked hard but have had a lot of bad luck so far so it’s great to put it behind us. The car wasn’t handling as well as it did yesterday as the conditions are a little different but my aim was to keep the car in a good position for Gav to take over. Subconsciously, I think nerves got the better of me and I made a small mistake that let the Ginetta through but I settled into a rhythm and then it was down to Gav.”
Gavan Kershaw – #77 ISSY Racing/Oz Yusuf Lotus Evora GT4:
“We showed our pace at Oulton Park but then it hasn’t really gone our way since, so it’s great to get the victory here. The track was greasy and it wasn’t easy, but the issue for the Ginetta in the pits gave me some breathing space that meant I could take it a bit easier when the GT3 cars were coming through. There was a scare towards the end as the water temperature went up, so the chequered flag couldn’t come soon enough!”
Ross Wylie – #407 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin GT4 Challenge:
“It’s a great result to be on the podium. I wasn’t really happy with my start but kept myself in the top four and then it was all down to Jake to bring it home.”
Jake Giddings – #407 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin GT4 Challenge:
“I could see the Ginetta coming behind me and I knew he was strong in the corners and I had to drive to try and keep him behind. Towards the end, the rears were going away from me so I was happy to see him off and take second spot.”
Rick Parfitt Jr – #42 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“We knew the Lotus had the legs on us on the straights but we could make up time in the twisty bits and I tried to put Oz under as much pressure as I could. He made a mistake and then it was all about trying to build the gap. Sadly our bad luck continued in the pits and then we were playing catch-up. Tom did a great job to close in on the Aston but Jake knew what he was doing to keep him behind. We showed we had the pace, and at least we managed to rescue a podium.”
Tom Oliphant – #42 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“It was all going well and Rick had built a good gap and then we had the issue in the pits. We just couldn’t get the car into first gear and lost about 20 seconds so the chance of victory just disappeared. The focus then was on trying to reclaim second place and I did what I could but it was just too difficult to find a way through and then a GT3 car forced me wide. It’s a shame as we had the pace to win.”
Source. British GT Championship/Photos. Jack Mitchell/John Patterson