Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen took over leading the points in the championship after winning the opening race of the weekend in GT3. Meanwhile, in GT4 Sandy Mitchell made history with teammate Ciaran Haggerty by being the youngest driver to win a race at just sixteen years and one-hundred and sixty-nine days old. The Barwell Motorsport duo took the victory after Joe Osborne was given a thirty second penalty after the race, he was given this because he did not take his drive through penalty after making contact with the Lamborghini during the race. He crossed the line first but when the thirty seconds were added he classified in fifth. Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Sandy Mitchell became the youngest ever race winner in the British GT championship. He and Ciaran Haggerty won the GT4 class after battling the whole way throughout the race.

The first race of the weekend at Snetterton will be remembered as the race that’s Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle could have won but it ended with Keen and Minshaw taking the honours. They also take the lead of the championship.

Mark Farmer had a ten second success penalty added onto his pit stop whilst Rick Parfitt Jnr had a seven second penalty added onto his pit stop time after they finished in first and second at Spa. The fight during the race was always looking to be between Keen in the Lamborghini and Osborne in the BMW during the second half of the race. With not having any additional time on their pit stop times their co-drivers only had to stay at the front of the pack during the opening twenty-five minutes.

After pitting from second and third it helped both Keen and Osborne jump ahead of Jon Barnes. Barnes’ co-driver Mark Farmer had converted pole position into a two second lead when the pit window opened. Keen started his stint of the race with what seemed to be a four second advantage that he believed was safe but Osborne went on to set consecutive fastest laps of the race which allowed the latter to catch Keen and pass to take the lead but had contact as he moved into the lead. The move saw Keen spin after the BMW made contact with the Lamborghini. With just four minutes of the race remaining Osborne was hit with a drive through penalty for ‘avoidable contact’. After failing to take the drive through, Osborne took the flag first but then race control added a thirty-second-time penalty to take place of the drive through. This promoted Keen and Minshaw into the victory of the race.

Jon Barnes had a strong run during his stint which saw him finish just 0.4 seconds behind Keen, this turned into being a second place for the TF Sport driver and his co-driver Farmer. Team Parker Racing’s Rick Parfitt Jnr took advantage of an incident that occurred between Derek Johnston and Alasdair McCaig which allowed Parfitt Jnr to run in fourth place behind Lee Mowle. The Team Parker driver lost time at his spot due to having his success penalty added onto his pit stop time. Co-driver Seb Morris spent the majority of his stint holding off Jonny Adam. The Bentley and Aston Martin gained a place after Osborne and Mowle received their penalty.

Tolman Motorsport’s Ian Stinton and Mike Simpson looked to be about to take sixth after both put in strong performances but they received a stop and go penalty for a pit time infringement and a subsequent puncture dropped them down to eighth place behind Motorbase’s Phil Dryburgh and Ross Wylie and PFL Motorsport’s Pete Littler and Jody Fanin.

Liam Griffin had an unscheduled pit stop early in the race which was to replace a punctured tyre, this ended his and Alexander Sims’ hopes of gaining as many points as possible to stay in the title fight. Ultimate Speed’s Mike Brown and Matt Manderson managed to complete the points paying positions in tenth place. All of this means that Minshaw and Keen now lead the championship standings by 4.5 points back to Johnston and Adam, this being the first time the TF Sport pair have not been leading the points this year. Parfitt Jnr and Morris are another 7.5 seconds back with Farmer and Barnes also still in contention after such a strong race performance keeps them just 25 points off the leaders.

Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse finally got their GT4 class win at Snetterton in the opening race of the weekend after Ciaran Haggerty stood his ground and fought off Beechdean’s Ross Gunn. After the start being busy and close, Jack Mitchell made a brave move around the outside of the first corner which saw him jump from fourth on the grid to first. Jack Bartholomew performed well during the race but the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin was back down in fourth at the end of the first stint once both Alex Reed and Sandy Mitchell had re-passed.

Jack Mitchell’s hard work aboard the Generation AMR with Macmillan Racing got him able to pit with a comfortable lead. Matthew Graham and Mitchell had a five second pit stop success penalty after finishing in third at Spa, this allowed the McLaren in the hands of Ciaran Haggerty to launch back into the lead. The McLaren 570S remained in the lead until taking the chequered flag. Haggerty fought off a charging Gunn who was using all his experience to try and pass the prior after passing Graham. There was just 0.360 seconds between the two as they crossed the line. Joey Foster and Alex Reed’s ten second pit stop success penalty put them down to fourth in the final classification. Championship leader Graham Johnson started the race from second but was one of the victims of the chaotic first lap, he and Mike Robinson brought their Ginetta home to complete the top five finishers.

William Phillips and Jordan Stilp brought their RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta home in sixth place, exactly where it started the race from. Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth brought the Ebor GT Maserati home in seventh with the sister RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta in the hands of Rob Barrable and Aaron Mason in eighth. Century Motrosport’s Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke’s title hopes took a massive hit after finishing in ninth with Bradley Ellis and Ade Barwick completing the points paying place on their return to the championship.

With the results from race one, the lead Johnson and Robinson had has been cut to just 9.5 points. This means that even if they win, they cannot claim the title this weekend at Snetterton even if their title rivals had a DNF.


©Fay Tilley 7th August 2016.