Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt secured the first British GT Championship win of 2019 in the JRM Bentley Continental GT3 after an early mistake took out the front-row starters.
Before the race, Morris said he’d need his rivals ahead to make a mistake if the team was to have any chance of getting a good result. On just the second lap they got exactly that as Ryan Ratcliffe out-braked himself in the Team Parker Racing Bentley and went into the side of polesitter Ian Loggie in the Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The incident put both out on the spot and, with San De Haan getting a slower start in the #69 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, Parfitt inherited a lead the pair maintained for the rest of the race.
With Parfitt and then Morris breezing off into the distance, Phil Keen – in the sister Barwell Lamborghini he shared with Adam Balon – was left on his own as the battle for third meant he lacked any pressure from behind.
That battle was between Jonny Cocker – in the De Haan-started car – and Bradley Ellis in the Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Cocker was all over the back of Ellis in the final stages of the race, but the Aston driver just had the edge on speed to secure third.
Fifth went to Ben Green in the Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 he shares with Dominic Paul. The latter had a dicey scrap with team-mate Adrian Willmott early in his stint, but Green and Jack Mitchell – who took over from Willmott – couldn’t maintain the pace as the front four turned up the wick.
Jonny Adam took seventh for TF Sport, just half-a-second clear of Adam Christodoulou in the Team ABBA Racing Mercedes. Adam’s team-mates Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim had a tough race in the sister Aston. After an early spin for Farmer, he was then caught out by Loggie’s Mercedes parked across the track in the middle of the chicane after the Scott attempted to recover the car from the track.
A stop/go penalty for a too quick pitstop compounded the pair’s race, as they eventually finished in 10th.
Dean Macdonald and Callum Pointon secured victory for HHC Motorsport in the GT4 category as the McLaren got the best of the Ford Mustang.
A great opening stint from Macdonald allowed the McLaren 570S driver to be right on the back of Jade Buford in the Multimatic Mustang but the Scot couldn’t find a way past the American.
That was until the halfway point. Getting up the inside of Buford going up Deer Leap, Macdonald was braver on the brakes and took the lead at Old Hall. Pitting later than the rest of the GT4 field gave HHC a clear pitlane to service the McLaren, allowing Pointon an easy run out of the pits.
Buford’s co-driver McCumbee couldn’t match his fellow American’s pace and found himself swamped by McLarens as both Josh Smith – in the Tolman Motorsport entry – and Luke Williams in the second HHC car pushed the Mustang down the order.
It was a tougher race for race two polesitters Scott Maxwell and Seb Priaulx in the second Multimatic entry. Maxwell found himself pushed into the gravel as he was being lapped by Morris, and then Priaulx spun and impacted the barriers as he tried to go up the inside of Michael Broadhurst’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Cascades. He managed to continue and finished 29th, the last of the classified runners.
Pro/Am class honours went to the Invictus Games Racing Jaguar F-Type of Matty George and Steve McCulley – the latter a former Royal Marine who was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. After a solid start from McCulley, George got the better of Martin Plowman in the Beechdean Aston Martin to relegate the latter to second in class.
Failing to finish in GT4 was the #5 Tolman McLaren. Jordan Collard was running at the front-end of the class until the final lap, when he had to pull over at Hislop’s with flames licking from the rear of the car. Marshals quickly extinguished the fire, but it is yet to be determined whether that car will make the second race, which starts at 15:35 UK time / 16:35 CET.