TF Sport’s Jonny Adam equalled the record for the most ever British GT3 wins after he and co-driver Derek Johnston took the overall win in the second race of the day at Snetterton. The victory came after Barwell Motorsport were handed a drive through penalty for their leading Lamborghini.
In the GT4 class Black Bull Garage 59’s duo of Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell took their first victory of the season after taking advantage of HHC Motorsport’s non finish after crashing in the second stint.
If Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen had taken the victory in race two they would have equalled the record for most GT3 wins but instead it was TF Sport’s Jonny Adam who equalled the record. Adam joined Hector Lester and David Ashburn on eleven after he and Derek Johnston ended their thirteen month wait to step on the top step of the podium.
The reigning champions did not have an easy ride to victory, they lined up third on the grid with Adam at the wheel. He immediately jumped ahead of front row starter Sam Tordoff when the lights went out. Adam did not have the pace to stay on the tail of pole sitter Phil Keen. The latter set about opening a lead to give him breathing space. His lead was nine seconds when the pit window opened after twenty five minutes had been completed. Usually this would have handed the TF Sport team the lead due to the Lamborghini having extra time to serve in their stop but a Ginetta stalled and trapped Derek Johnston in his pit box which allowed Minshaw to sail past in the lead.
The safety car was deployed to allow recovery to remove Callum Macleod’s stranded Bentley, this caused the pack to bunch up. There were some GT4 cars between Minshaw and Johnston which pretty much removed the Aston Martin’s chance of an on track opportunity. In the end it was a drive through penalty being given to the Lamborghini Huracan that handed TF Sport the win – their first since Rockingham last year.
Due to their drive through penalty it also promoted Barwell teammates Liam Griffin and Sam Tordoff into second. After being passed by Adam at the start, dropping to third Griffin took over the car and emerged third and drove well to bring the Lamborghini home in second for the second time at Snetterton this weekend.
The battle for third place heated up after the Safety Car period, TF Sport struggled at the start of the weekend but Adam and Johnston took the race two win with the sister Aston in the hands of Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes finishing the race in third. Barnes made up places during his stint due to cars having contact and punctures before Farmer then held off Team Parker Racing’s Rick Parfitt Jnr to claim the final podium place.
The Safety Car brought Rick Parfitt Jnr back into the fight during the final laps of the race, he became stuck behind Farmer which allowed Macmillan AMR’s Jack Mitchell to close in. Mitchell’s co-driver James Littlejohn unfortunately suffered a spin on the opening lap of the race, dropping him to the back of the GT3 field. The three drivers were followed closely by Minshaw in the recovering Lamborghini.
AmDtuning.com’s Mercedes AMG finished the race in seventh on the road but were given a five second penalty added to their time after exceeding track limits too many times. This penalty dropped them to eighth behind Spirit of Race’s Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin in seventh. Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing’s Mercedes AMG rounded out the GT3 finishers in ninth.
Barwell Motorsport’s Griffin won the Blancpain Gentleman Drive of the Weekend Award after finishing second in both races. Keen set the fastest lap of the weekend which earned him the Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Weekend trophy for the second weekend in a row. The Barwell duo of Minshaw and Keen were denied victory in race two but have extended their championship lead to 23.5 points over Team Parker Racing’s Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris. Johnston and Adam have moved into third.
After a tough opening weekend of the championship at Oulton Park and returning to the podium at Rockingham last time out Black Bull Garage 59’s Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell took their first win of the season in race two.
Tolman Motorsport’s Joe Osborne converted his pole position into a comfortable lead aboard his McLaren 570S. Lanan Racing’s David Pittard run in second ahead of HHC Motorsport’s Stuart Middleton in third and Haggerty in fourth ahead of the pit stop window.
Joe Osborne stayed behind the wheel of the McLaren for as long as he could before handing over to gentleman driver David Pattison. The Pro/Am pairing should have inherited quite a lead over the chasing Silver Cup pairings who have to serve a longer pit stop time in addition to the race one success penalties. The safety cars deployment soon closed down the gap they had and left Pattison having to fend off Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed, HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha and Black Bull Garage 59’s Sandy Mitchell when racing resumed.
Mitchell used the opportunity to surprise Tregurtha as he made a move to pass, they continued circulating together until Tregurtha saw his chance to make amends at the final hairpin. When he dived down the inside he found the apex blocked by another Ginetta whilst diving down the inside of the McLaren. This resulted in a T-bone, causing significant damage which sent the young championship leader into the barriers at Riches causing him to retire on the spot.
Sandy Mitchell was left to manage the gap back to Reed, who claimed Lanan Racing and co-driver David Pittard’s second runner up position of the weekend.
Pattison found himself sandwiched between the Safety Car and the overall race leader – he was then waved past the safety car which resulted in him being able to gain almost a lap on his fellow GT4 competitors. This ensured he and Osborne took the class win.
Track-Club’s Adam Balon and Adam Mackay finished the race in fourth ahead of Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson.
Team Parker Racing’s Porsche in the hands of Nick Jones and Scott Malvern were the first car that wasn’t a McLaren or Ginetta in sixth. Akhil Rabindra and Dean Macdonald’s battle scarred Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren 570S finished in seventh ahead of Century Motorsport’s Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke in eighth.
HHC’s Will Tregurtha set a fastest time of 1:58.650 was good enough to earn him the GT4 Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Weekend Award as well as a new class record for Snetterton.
Macmillan AMR’s hard work was rewarded with the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend prize after both their GT3 and GT4 crews were involved in replacing their GT4s gearbox, fuel pumps and seals and hydraulics system in time for the first race.
Middleton and Tregurtha are still leading the championship but by a reduced 9.5 points ahead of Reed and Pittard. Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty now sit in third.
The championship returns to the track in two weeks time with its blue riband, three hour race at Silverstone on the 10th/11th June.
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey
©Fay Tilley 29th May 2017