History was made in the final round of British GT at Donington when Flick Haigh became the first woman to take the outright title, alongside Optimum Motorsport team mate Jonny Adam who took his third British GT Championship title. The pair finished fourth in the race but that was enough for them to end the season as champions.
Race winners were Barwell Motorsports Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen, despite taking the chequered flag behind the #11 car of Nicki Thiim and Mark Farmer, they took top step of the podium when the TF Sport duo were given a 30 second penalty for track limits. Finishing in third place was ERC Sports Lee Mowle and Yelmer Buurman
As the race got underway there were problems for Balfe Motorsports Mclaren which suffered suspension failure, and withdrew on the first lap. Contact between the #47 Aston Martin of Graham Davidson and Sam De Haan brought Davidson into the pits not long before a lengthy safety car period caused by oil on the track. Minshaw’s lead was wiped out under the safety car but it wasn’t long before he started to build it up again. Further back a squabble for fourth place between Rick Parfitt Jnr and Derek Johnston resulted in damage for both and a retirement for Johnston in his final race.
The pit window opened, and Jonny Adam began his push for the title rapidly making his way up from eighth, doing battle with a relentless Ryan Ratcliffe along the way before eventually making his way into fourth place. Meanwhile Keen and Thiim fought for first place, Keen holding him off, but Thiim’s incredible pace couldn’t be matched by Keen and the #11 car passed into first place. The 30 second time penalty handed to the TF Sport duo only lost them one place but TF Sport took the Team’s Championship title, nine points ahead of Barwell Motorsport.
In GT4 it was a nail biting race as there was much to play for. Century Motorsports Jack Mitchell took the title just one point ahead of team mates Ben Green and Ben tuck, Mitchell had started the race with a ten point lead and finished the race eighth in GT4. Title contenders Matt Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore were out of the race early on leaving the top four to fight it out. The safety car period and place changes resulted in Finlay Hutchison taking the lead and Charlie Fagg in second place. A pit lane infringement saw Mitchell and co driver Dean Macdonald incur a 10 second penalty which then dropped them down the order and left the #43 BMW fighting to capture places to hold the title place. Callum Pointon and Patrik Matthiesen briefly held the championship lead but lost it when relinquishing fifth place to Ben Tuck.
McKay and Hutchison took the GT4 win flanked by Tolman Motorsports Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg in second place with Joe Osborne and David Pattison in the #56 Tolman Motorsport McLaren in third place. In Pro/Am Scott Malvern and Nick Jones took the class win, while Century Motorsport took the GT4 Teams title.
Equipe Verschuur PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award
Daniel McKay Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race Award GT3
Marco Sorensen Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Season Award
Nicki Thiim Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race Award GT4
British GT returns to Oulton Park on April 20th and 22nd 2019
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick
It will be Barwell Motorsport in first and second place on the grid for the final British GT race of the season tomorrow as Minshaw and Keen took the fastest time in qualifying with the #69 of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker just behind them.
Championship leaders Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam will start the race from fourth place, while outgoing champion Rick Parfitt Jnr will commence his final race from 13th place.
In GT4 The #42 Century Motorsport of Ben Tuck and Ben Green will be at the front of the GT4 pack just ahead of the Equipe Verschuur McLaren of Finlay Hutchison and Daniel McKay. GT4 Championship leader Jack Mitchell will be in 7th place.
The British GT Donington Decider takes place tomorrow at 1.35.
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick
The final round of the British GT Championship takes place this weekend, with Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam topping the points table on 149.5 points, 27.5 points ahead of Barwell Motorsports Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, who themselves sit only a point ahead of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim.
With a huge advantage, history could be in the making for the Optimum Motorsport duo of Haigh and Adam, Flick would be the first woman to win the title outright and Adam would be the first competitor to win the title three times,
however the pair still have a 20 second success penalty to serve which along with expected wet weather conditions could add to the unpredictability of the race.
It has been announced that Sunday’s winner will be awarded the DPRAC Tom Wheatcroft Memorial Trophy. The cup is awarded by the Donington Park Racing Association Club to two and four wheeled Championships on alternate years, with previous recipients including Jason Plato, James Ellison, Matt Jackson and Marco Melandri.
There have been a few other GT3 announcements including the news that Rick Parfitt Jnr will be stepping down from racing. The Team Parker Racing driver has stated that he is not ruling out a return and if the right team and co-driver came along he would consider it but for now Donington would be his farewell race.
Another driver who we will be saying goodbye to is TF Sports Derek Johnston who retires after the Donington Decider. Johnston who was the 2016 British GT champion alongside Jonny Adam, started racing in 2007 in Radicals before eventually moving into British GT in 2013.
In GT4 Century Motorsports Jack Mitchell leads on 118 points, 10 points ahead of Century Motorsport duo of Ben Tuck and Ben Green.
The decider takes place at Donington Park on Sunday at 1.35.
Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi
Now in its the thirteenth year, the International GT Open returned to Silverstone bringing high level Pro and Am GT racing to the Northamptonshire circuit.
Taking a dominant win in race one was Marco Cioci and Daniel Serra, who led from the front throughout. The Luzich Racing duos #52 Ferrari 488 was helmed by Serra in the first stint who was untroubled by Imperiale Racings Rik Breukers remaining hot on his heels up to the pit window opening. There was an early retirement for Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod after their Team Parker Racing Bentley suffered with a damaged gearbox.
The #19 Lamboghini Huracan of Raffaele Giammaria took the race lead during pit stops while the #52 now in the hands of Marco Cioci rejoined in fifth place. When Giammaria pitted, the #33 Ferrari of Rinaldi Racings Daniel Keilwitz took the lead before handing the 488 over to teammate Steve Parrow.
Cioci in the #52 moved into third place then up into first as the pit window closed. As the race moved into its final laps, Jeroen Mul closed the gap between him and Cioci but it wasn’t enough, as the chequered flag dropped Serra and Cioci took the second win of the season.
Race two saw a fantastic win for Tom Onslowe-Cole and Valentin Pierburg. It was a
lights to flag win for the SPS Automotive Performance duo who also raced the fastest lap in their Mercedes AMG, second and third place going to Lamborghinis, second place to Imperiale Racings Giovanni Venturini and Jeroen Mul with third going to Ombra Racings Alex Frassineti and Damiano Fioravanti.
With two rounds left to go, Mikkel Mac tops the championship table on 86 points, eleven points ahead of Andrés Saravia and Fran Rueda. The International GT Open is the sister series to the Spanish GT Championship and visits some of the best circuits in Europe. The next round takes place at Monza on 22nd-23rd September.
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Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick