It was a memorable victory for Bentley last weekend when the British GT Championship pitched up in the marques’ backyard at Oulton Park for a double header. Just twenty minutes from the Pyms Lane factory in Crewe, Team Parker Racing and drivers Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jr. stormed to a start to finish victory in race two, marking a first for the manufacturer in British GT.
“It was nice to have a trouble-free race,” said Morris after stepping off the podium. “The car ran really well and allowed me to push the way I did and open up the gap, which was critical.”
A success penalty meant Morris had to have at least five seconds on his rivals at the pit stops, but when the time came the gap was closer to twelve seconds.
“We were hoping to get five seconds, but we smashed that. The engineer was telling me the gap and it was getting bigger and bigger, so the confidence was growing in the car and when I handed over to Rick he did exactly the same thing, he did a brilliant job maintaining that gap.”
Race one saw the Bentley Continental GT3 finish in third after losing time in the pit stop when the car was blocked in the narrow Oulton Park pit lane by Rob Bell’s Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S GT3. The race win went to the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Liam Griffin and Adam Carroll, who benefited from a pit stop strategy that saw them avoid the chaos that caught the Bentley by stopping a lap later. Exiting to a clear track, Carroll was able to build a lead whilst his rivals fought through the pack.
The biggest winner in the pit stops was the BMW Z4 GT3 of Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne, which exited the final corner just as the pit window opened, so was able to stop from P7 ahead of everyone else and eventually emerge in second.
The old Z4 then had to fight a rearguard action to preserve second place as it was relentlessly pursued by Morris in the Bentley.
“We lucked in, to be honest,” said Mowle. “Oulton’s been a lucky circuit for us; last season we started thirteenth and finished second. Our BMW doesn’t have the raw pace of the newer cars so we were fortunate, both before and during the stops. Pitting first just as the window opened really helped us. Then it was a case of survival for Joe, who did a phenomenal job to keep Seb Morris at bay. He drove a stonker, especially through sector two where we don’t have the grunt.”
GT4 saw a comfortable victory in race 1 for Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson who led from pole, were able to pit early and by the end brought their Ginetta G55 GT4 home with a 23 second gap to the Generation AMR Macmillan Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 of Matthew Graham and Jack Mitchell.
Race 2 was a harder affair with Johnson and Robinson again being successful but this time having to fight all the way to the flag. The Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 of Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth claimed P2 with Rob Barrable and Aaron Mason rounding out the podium in the RCIB Insurance Ginetta G55.