Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris managed to secure Team Parker Racing’s first victory in the Bentley Continental. The impressive performance during the second hour-long British GT race proved just what Team Parker’s Morris and Parfitt Jnr are capable of. Over in the GT4 field Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson dominated the race to make it two back to back wins at Oulton Park, including overcoming a pit stop success penalty.
Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell managed to celebrate their first podium in the series since changing to McLaren 650S by taking second place. Completing the British GT GT3 field podium was Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen. Further back in the GT4 field Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth managed to fight their way through to take their maiden podium in their Maserati MC GranTurismo. Rob Barrable and Aaron Mason finished race two in third place, the first time the #75 Ginetta had seen success so far this year.
The race was terminated early due to a crash which saw Anna Walewska crash out in her Century Motorsport run Ginetta, before this she had been leading the GT4 class.
Earlier in the day Team Parker Racing’s Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr had taken third place. To ensure the team could retain the lead from their pole position start Morris knew he needed to build up at least a five second advantage over the chasing field. The duo were on to claim their first victory of the season in the prior race but were blocked in the pit lane. Morris got a brilliant start and managed to bolt away and not need to look back. Rob Bell tried to chase down the Bentley but was unable to prevent Morris from building up a 13.5 second lead before it was time for the mandatory driver changes to take place.
Parfitt Jnr jumped in the Bentley in place of Morris and McCaig took over the driving duties of Bell’s McLaren. The two cars emerged from the pit lane nine seconds apart. The gap kept building during the second half of the race. The gap was up to 10.5 seconds at the end of the race.
Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen had started the race in third and also managed to stay consistent and take third place. Keen had dropped to fifth at the beginning of the race as Ross Gunn, in the Beachdean Aston Martin, and Adam Carroll in the sister Lamborghini managed to pass. However, both the Aston Martin and Carroll’s Lamborghini dropped backwards which meant the #33 Lamborghini finished the race in third place.
Jonny Adam, the leader of the championship, was hoping to break the record equalling 11th British GT3 race win at the weekend but he eventually had to settle for fourth place after finishing in a solid fifth during race one. The TF Sport driver slotted in behind Adam Carroll at the start of the hour long race running sixth in the early part of the race. He then handed the car over to Derek Johnston, who benefited from Beachdean’s Andrew Howard was given a drive through penalty and Barwell Motorsport had to endure the pit stop success penalty to secure more championship points.
Adam Carroll and Liam Griffin had to serve a pit stop success penalty at the driver change due to being victorious in race one. Morris and Parfitt Jnr also had one to overcome but not as long as Carroll and Griffin. After serving their ten second pit stop success penalty it was only enough to drop them down one place.
Beachdean’s Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn had the pace in the car to finish on the podium before they were penalised and given a drive through penalty for a pit lane infringement. The duo finished the second race in sixth with Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes’ TF Sport Aston Martin close behind in seventh.
Martin Short and Richard Neary brought the car home in eighth place, two places higher than they had in the opening race. AMDTuning.com’s Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne were not able to duplicate their podium from the first race in the day but managed to come home in ninth after an unscheduled stop late in the race.
Motorbase’s Phil Dryburgh and Ross Wylie completed the top ten to take home the last championship point.
Seb Morris made a huge effort to build enough advantage up in the first stint of the race to take the Sunco Fastest Race Lap of the Weekend Award with a lap time of 1:34.804 which was marginally quicker than the lap time set by Jonny Adam during race one.
Jon Minshaw won the Blancpain Gentleman Driver of the Weekend Award for securing the Am Pole Position and managed to lead throughout his stint during race one and went on to take third in race two.
Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam have retained their lead in the driver’s championship although Griffin’s win in the first race had seen him close the gap down to just 21.5 points. Team Parker Racing duo Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr are only seven points further back in third place.
After their dominant race one victory the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport drivers Johnson and Robinson were made to work even harder during race two as they were to endure a pit stop success penalty for their earlier victory.
At one point they gave the race lead away to Anna Walewska, but unfortunately she crashed out of the race brining the race to an abrupt end.
Mike Robinson had started the race on pole but was overtaken by Scott Malvern aboard the Simpson Motorsport Ginetta, who had started alongside in second in class. Malvern was able to start pulling out a gap over the chasing cars but was not able to reach the pit stop window after a power steering issue put the Ginetta out of the race. This promoted Matthew George up into the lead, after handing over the Aston to championship debutant James Holder.
Further back in the order was Abbie Eaton in the Ebor GT run Maserati running third in the GT4 class. She was within striking distance of Robinson’s Ginetta. The duo circulated round the circuit together never being more than a second apart whilst maintaining a comfortable advantage over Century’s Nathan Freke.
James Holder managed to emerge from the pits with a small advantage over the chasing cars but his inexperience showed when it didn’t take long for Walewska to manage to pass after she made up two places during the pit stop window. Johnson made his move on Holder to take second with Hoggarth following him through to take third place.
Twenty minutes of nose to tail racing between the three competitors continued during the race until during the closing minutes of the race Walewska was put under too much pressure by Johnson and oversteered wide ending up in the barriers, bringing out the red flags to terminate the race.
Johnson and Robinson once again took victory, their second of the weekend but third out of four races of the championship so far. Despite having to endure a ten second pit stop success penalty they showed how dominant they can be. Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton took second place in their Maserati MC GranTurismo. The final step of the podium went to Robert Barrable and Aaron Mason in their RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta.
Barrable and Mason started in eleventh but dodged the issues that were affecting many other competitors. Mason made his debut in the championship and to take a podium on his first weekend shows just how well he can drive.
Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell brought their McLaren home in fourth after enduring a tough weekend. Jordan Stilp and William Phillips rounded out the top five drivers after Phillips got tangled with Holder in the Aston Martin, which went on to retire.
Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert brought their Beachdean Aston Martin home in sixth despite having to endure a drive through penalty.
The GT4 laps were slower during race two which meant Scott Malvern won the Sunco Fastest Race Lap of the Weekend Award with a lap time of 1:43.915. The Simpson Motorsport team were also victorious after they were declared the winners of the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend prize after they did a stunning job of rebuilding their Ginetta after the accident that occurred in free practice two ready for qualifying later that day.
Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson’s fifty points haul from the weekend has helped them leapfrog the Beachdean duo of Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert to take the lead of the championship in the GT4 class with Jordan Stilp and William Phillips moving up to third.
The next round of the championship will take place in two weeks-time for its traditional trip to Silverstone for the three-hour long race.
©Fay Tilley 31st May 2016.