Barwell Motorsport took a one-two in the second Intelligent Money British GT Championship race at Oulton Park with the #72 of Phil Keen and Adam Balon coming out on top of the #78 of Rob Collard and Sandy Mutchell as the final 25 minutes were run under the safety car after a three-car incident just after the halfway mark.
GT4 honours went to the pole-sitting Balfe Motorsport McLaren 570S of Euan Hankey and Mia Flewitt after a great opening stint from Hankey and an ideal pitstop timing.
At the start of the race Keen demonstrated why he’s been such a regular podium visitor as he disappeared up the road as soon as the red lights went out and rounded the first right-hander at Old Hall with a healthy margin over Mitchell in the second Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo and Marcus Clutton in the JMH Auto Lamborghini as he gave a few love taps to Patrick Kujala in the #69 Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
While it was going well at the front, there was a bit of drama in the middle of the pack as Michael O’Brien – in the race one winning Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3 – put two wheels on the grass on the outside of the fast left Island Bend and went off. Thankfully he avoided damage but was dropped to the back of the field.
When the field settled down, the field started to bunch behind Clutton – giving Keen and Mitchell licence to pull away. While the order didn’t particularly change under that train of cars, the bright start Matt Griffin had made in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 was undone as he was clipped at the Hislops Chicane by the debuting Speedworks Motorsport Toyota GR Supra which broke the Ferrari’s suspension.
After that, it was onto the pit window and Barwell left it until the final seconds – literally – for Keen to come in for his stop with just three seconds left on the pit window. Balon didn’t have the opportunity to put in too many laps as with 25 minutes left on the clock all manner of chaos unfurled.
Coming out of Old Hall and going down The Avenue, Nick Jones – in the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 – went to lap Connor O’Brien in the race one class winning TF Sport Aston Martin which was running third in GT4. The pair had some side-to-side contact which sent both cars off onto the grass, with O’Brien losing a wheel on the way to eventually becoming beached in the Cascades gravel trap.
The wheel clipped the rear-left of Angus Fender’s 2 Seas Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 which limped to a stop on the outside of the Shell Oils Hairpin while Jones managed to limp through the Fosters cut-through and parked the car on the entrance to the Hislops Chicane.
Being forced to recover three cars called for the safety car to be deployed but the suspension damage to Fender’s McLaren meant that had to be given a full lift, but that vehicle was dealing with the Aston Martin and time escaped the recovery crews meaning the race was chequered flagged under the safety car.
While that benefitted the Barwell duo, Buurman and team-mate Ian Loggie were major losers. They were given a two-second stop/go penalty for a too short pitstop and because that couldn’t be served under the full course yellow, it was adjusted to a time penalty after the race. Unfortunately the pair dropped from third to ninth – promoting team-mate Kujala and Sam De Haan onto the podium.
Behind, Jordan Witt and Jack Mitchell took fourth for 2 Seas, with Michael Igoe and Dennis Lind recovering from a poor opening encounter to take fifth in their WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán.
Two McLarens finished behind them with race one pole sitters Optimum Motorsport taking sixth ahead of the recovering Jenson Team Rocket McLaren.
Despite their early progress, Clutton and John Seale lost time in the stops and finished eighth at the flag.
In GT4, a great opening stint from Hankey – and fortuitous timing of the safety car – allowed him and Flewitt to secure their first class victory of the year, with Flewitt the first female driver to take a win in British GT since Flick Haigh in 2018.
Early in the first stint, Hankey was involved in a great tussle with the #97 TF Sport entry of Jamie Caroline as the McLaren factory driver put the pressure on the leading Aston without being able to find a way through.
That changed in the stops thanks to the extra time Caroline – and co-driver Dan Vaughan – had to serve because of their Silver Cup status and the safety car meant Vaughan never had the opportunity to try and make a move for the lead but did win the Silver class.
Rounding out the podium went to the #58 HHC McLaren 570S of Patrik Matthiesen and Jordan Collard. After an opening stint where they were predominantly fourth behind Caroline, Hankey and Patrick Kibble in the #95 TF car, Matthiesen benefited in the second stint by O’Brien being taken out to take their second third-place of the day.
Century Motorsport’s BMW M4 GT4 driven by Ben Hurst and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke took fourth, ahead of the second HHC McLaren of Chris Wesemael and Gus Bowers.
David Whitmore and Luke Sedzikowski in the Team Tegiwa BMW took sixth – and sub-class victory courtesy of them being the only all-Am pairing – ahead of the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang which was the last of the classified runners at the hands of Jordan Albert and Matt Cowley.
The next round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship takes the field to Donington Park on August 15/16 for a two-hour and a one-hour race.
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