Mixed fortunes in difficult wet conditions at Oulton Park kicked off the 2018 British GT season. But it was a storming, historic win for Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam in race one. The race started with four Aston Martins in the top six, with the #17 TF Sport on the second row and #11 TF Sport Aston on the third row next to the #99 Beechdean Aston of Darren Turner and Andrew Howard.
As the race got underway under the safety car due to wet weather conditions, it was an unstoppable Flick Haigh who led the way in the Optimum Motorsport Aston with the #1 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental of Rick Parfitt just behind.
Early on there was contact between #11 TF Sports Mark Farmer and #33 Jon Minshaw, spinning Farmer round on the track but Minshaw continued on, hacking his way through to make second place. Shortly after #17 TF Sport of Derek Johnston also span off but rejoined the track, as Minshaw safely passed. Parfitt Jnr continued to spar with Ian Loggie, Loggie eventually making his way past in the 4th lap.
Further back the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin of Will Moore slid off into the barriers after contact on track. The #53 Ultratek Racing Nissan of Kelvin Fletcher also took a spin off but rejoined, all the while Flick Haigh retained her lead.
20 mins into the hour race, Callum Pointon in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta continued to hold the GT4 lead. As the pit window opened Loggie and Parfitt pitted at the same time while Minshaw stayed out until more pit traffic had cleared.
#11 TF Sport now with Nicki Thiim behind the wheel forged on to try and make the places lost earlier on. Jonny Adam continued to hold the lead after the driver change, while Phil Keen held second place closing the gap on Adam.
Half a minute back #99 Darren Turner had a fight on his hands with Yelmer Buurman in the ERC Sport Mercedes AMG.
Jonny Adam made a gap between himself and Keen but shortly after Keen pitted with wheel damage, handing second place to Turner. Further down the field Ryan Ratcliffe sat in 19th place. As the #116 Mercedes and #99 Aston Martin continued their fight over second place, Ben Barnicoat in the #72 Track-Club McLaren took the lead in GT4. while there was a McLaren battle going on further back in GT3 between #5 & #56 Tolman Motorsport and #501 Balfe Motorsport.
With 14 minutes to go Buurman began to close the gap on Turner as the duo got tangled in traffic. After the earlier wheel incident Keen held fourth place, while Adam had more than a second lead on Darren Turner.
The #50 Ginetta of Will Burns was off the track and out of the race, while at the front of the pack in the dying minutes the racing was fiercer between Turner and Buurman in the battle for second place. But it was an Aston Martin 1-2 with Adam and Haigh taking first place, the first outright win by a woman in British GT and Darren Turner and Andrew Howard taking second place with Yelmer Buurman and Lee Mowle taking third place.
In GT4 Ben Barnicoat and Adam Balon took the win while the Century Motorsport BMW of Ben Green and Ben Tuck was originally in P2 until a post race 30 second penalty for a short pitstop dropped them further down the order moving Tolman Motorsports Charlie Fagg and Michael O Brien up to 2nd place while Ricky Collard, who had been drafted in to partner Jack Mitchell in the #43 Century Motorsport BMW, made the third step of the podium.
Race Two began unceremoniously for Optimum Motorsport when Jonny Adam tried to join the grid but aquaplaned on standing water and made contact with a barrier doing damage to the left rear of the Aston Martin Vantage, putting it back into the garage. Such were the conditions that the field only managed four laps under the safety car before the race and rest of the event was red flagged.
The Championship continues at Rockingham on 28th/29th April.
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick