Liam Griffin and Adam Carroll walked away with the honours from race one at Oulton Park during the hectic Bank Holiday race day. They managed to make the most of a frantic pit-stop window during the opening race to take the victory. Meanwhile Optimum Motorsport’s Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson claimed the GT4 class honours after completing a dominating lights to flag victory.

Joe Osborne’s outstanding defensive driving helped himself and co-driver Lee Mowle bring the AMDTuning.com run BMW Z4 home in second place ahead of Team Parker Racing’s Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. Jack Mitchell and Matty Graham seemed to have more luck on their side for the first time this season as they managed to secure their first podium finish of the 2016 ahead of William Phillips and Jordan Stilps’ RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta G55 GT4.

Barwell Motorsport’s Liam Griffin and Adam Carroll managed to secure Lamborghini’s first victory in British GT since 2010 at Spa-Francorchamps. The duo started the race from second on the grid and at the beginning of the race they dropped to third after Parfitt Jnr’s Bentley had diced down the side to take second at Old Hall during the opening lap of the race.

There was a long part of the race driven under safety car conditions, it started at the end of lap three and lasted until just ten minutes prior to the pit-window was scheduled to open. After finishing second at Rockingham, Jon Minshaw had to pass the car over to Phil Keen when the pit window opened at Oulton Park but Keen would have to wait an extra seven seconds longer in the pit lane due to the seven second success penalty being applied. The chasing Bentley only had to sit and wait until they should have inherited the lead of the race after the driver changes had taken place but that was without teams thinking things through with Oulton Park having a very tight pit lane. With most teams stopping on the same lap as the leading cars it caused quite a few issues which held drivers up from changing to the co-drivers.

Team Parker Racing were one team to suffer after Seb Morris had jumped in the car from Parfitt Jnr he found he was blocked in by Rob Bell’s McLaren. When Morris managed to leave the pit lane he was just ahead of Phil Keen, who had taken over from Minshaw. Both drivers had lost out a fair bit on their track positions after some teams did not get held up during the pit-stop window.

Barwell made a smart choice to pit the sister Lamborghini in the hands of Liam Griffin after the pit lane had cleared out. Adam Carroll took over and managed to comfortably pull clear of the chasing pack to take the team’s first victory of the season thus far.

AMDTuning were very lucky in the fact that the pit stop window opened just as seventh placed Mowle came around onto the straight, enabling him to pit a lap earlier than most drivers and did not get caught up in the hectic pit lane. Osborne now aboard the BMW Z4 was not able to keep up with the pace the Lamborghini was setting up ahead but drove very defensively to keep Morris’ Bentley behind.

Jon Barnes, who shares a TF Sport run Aston Martin with Mark Farmer was reeled in by championship leader Jonny Adam in the sister TF Sport Aston but also drove very defensively to keep the place.

Rollcentre racing’s AM driver pairing of Richard Neary and Martin Short managed to avoid the stop-go penalties that affected quite a few others. The duo managed to bring their car home in sixth place whilst Phil Keen drove the wheels off his Lamborghini to overcome his pit stop-go penalty for a pit lane infringement to bring the car home in seventh place.

Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Alasdair McCaig had a strong run in fifth before the pit stops began but after handing the car over to Rob Bell the team got a penalty for blocking Team Parker Racing’s Seb Morris in during the pit-stops for driver changes. Tolman Motorsport’s Ginetta rounded out the top ten of the finishers. TF Sport’s Jonny Adam managed to set two consecutively fast laps to take the fastest lap record in GT3 when he was chasing Jon Barnes in the sister Aston Martin. Adam’s fastest lap was a 1:34.895.

The GT4 class of drivers proved to be more straightforward compared to the upfront GT3s. Pole sitter Graham Johnson lead the race right from the get go, managed to survive during the safety car period as well as stay ahead of RCIB Insurance’s William Phillips, who had been fighting to try and take the lead of the race. He then stopped later than the rival competitors to avoid the busy pit lane and hand the car over to Mike Robinson. Robinson took to the wheel with a manageable advantage, he drove well to take the victory of GT4. The gap back to second had grown to 23 seconds by the time the chequered flag came out to end the race.

At the restart after the safety car period saw there was a collision which saw Alex Reed retire his Lanan Racing Ginetta from the race as well as knocking Sandy Mitchell’s McLaren down the order meaning his chase for a podium was over. Matthew Graham survived the early contact to bring his Aston Martin Vantage into podium contention before handing the car over to teammate Jack Mitchell to finish the race. The team’s good work within the pit stop saw Mitchell emerge almost on the bumper of Robinson in the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport Ginetta.

The biggest battle of the race took place a little further back between Jordan Stilp, Nathan Freke and Scott Malvern all in Ginetta G55s. Jordan Stilp had taken over from the very fast William Phillips, Nathan Freke had taken over the driving duties from Anna Walewska. Stilp was up four places from where teammate Phillips had started but kept being attacked by Freke’s Century Motorsport’s Ginetta. Simpson Motorsport driver Scott Malvern had joined the battle late on in the session but there was no way either driver would be able to unsettle and pass Stilp. This saw Stilp and Phillips take their second podium in the British GT championship thus far. Just seven tenths of a second covered the three Ginetta drivers at the line.

Beachdean AMR were having a difficult weekend which saw GT4 race winners Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert start second but finish the race in sixth place. In seventh place was James Holder and Matthew George in the Generation AMR SuperRacing run Aston Martin.

RCIB Insurance Racing’s Aaron Mason and Rob Barrable managed to bring the sister car home in eighth place. Ninth place was taken by Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s McLaren that had stopped for repairs during the race but the car was excluded from the classification after they were deemed to be responsible for the incident that occurred at the restart which saw Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed have to retire from the race. Scott Malvern took the fastest lap of the race honours for GT4 aboard his Simpson Motorsport run Ginetta G55, the lap time which saw him take the fastest lap was a 1:43.915.

 

©Fay Tilley 31st May 2016.

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