The Clever Dollars British GT Championship’s drivers’ titles will be resolved at Donington Park next thirty day period immediately after Darren Leung and Dan Harper, and Erik Evans and Matt Cowley received their respective GT3 and GT4 classes at Models Hatch this afternoon.
Century’s BMW came house a 2nd clear of Beechdean AMR’s Aston Martin after Harper made the decisive go on Ross Gunn in site visitors halfway via the second stint. Points leaders James Cottingham and Jonny Adam completed the podium in spite of serving the utmost 20-second Payment Time just after Cottingham’s makes an attempt to negate the handicap were being twice thwarted by Security Auto periods.
Even more again, the early retirement of championship leaders Jack Brown and Charles Clark opened the doorway for their GT4 rivals to make sizeable inroads. And it was Academy’s Evans and Cowley who took their chance in emphatic manner after they also benefitted from a chaotic get started that despatched cars scattering through Paddock Hill’s gravel lure in avoidance of Ian Loggie’s spun Mercedes-AMG.
R Racing’s Seb Hopkins and Josh Miller fought by means of to next spot, although Michael Johnston and Chris Salkeld took a step closer to the Professional-Am title but also strengthened their total championship probabilities by completing the podium for Century.
Barwell’s late unscheduled pitstop handed Drivetac’s Chris Hart and James Wallis the GT3 Silver-Am spoils.
2 Seas may possibly have failed to get the drivers’ championship with a race to spare but its dominant year was verified by wrapping up the teams’ title.
John Ferguson’s make contact with with Ian Loggie at Paddock Hill Bend manufactured for an action-packed start out to a race in which championship leader Cottingham designed the perfect getaway but also benefitted from Shaun Balfe relieving principal title rival Leung of second into Switch 1. Howard was also ahead of the chaos that was concurrently unfolding driving where RAM’s Mercedes-AMG received into the again of 2 Seas’ 2nd auto which then also created get hold of with Sky Tempesta’s McLaren.
Loggie in some way resumed without key hurt, albeit stone last, when Ferguson soldiered on in fifth right up until a damaged entrance remaining upright pressured him into retirement.
Back at the front, Cottingham was environment about creating a lead that would get over his and Adam’s utmost Compensation Time. Balfe in 2nd also experienced 10 seconds to provide, and was 8 driving when the 1st Safety Car or truck intervened just after Richard Neary and Mark Radcliffe clashed at Clearways. Extra considerably, even though, was Leung circulating 20 seconds back again, which would have observed Adam emerge ahead of Harper soon after the stops.
Speedy laps following the restart observed Cottingham pull a good direct around his pursuers as soon as again ahead of one more Security Car or truck – this time next a collision involving Simon Orange and Mike Price tag – scuppered his initiatives just prior to the pit window opened.
Of system, ifs, buts and maybes make the earth go round. But Cottingham’s rate was undoubtedly spectacular and would – perhaps – have also been title-winning without having the interruptions.
As it was, Century had been now nicely positioned to hard cash in on 2 Seas’ and Barwell’s Compensation Time. Howard had pushed Leung down to fourth during the opening hour and it was his co-driver Gunn who rejoined at the head of the field from Harper, Adam, Jules Gounon and Callum Macleod.
With positions third to fifth locked in a shut struggle, the major two have been in a position to split obvious and have interaction in a scrap of their own. Harper was rapidly on Gunn’s tail but couldn’t come across an opening as the pair negotiated targeted traffic. It took till the start out of the ultimate 50 %-hour and a single of Century’s GT4 BMWs to somewhat and unintentionally delay the Aston Martin exiting Hawthorns for Harper to attract along with and full the move into Westfield.
The pair continued circulating alongside one another thereafter, while Gunn was not presented the probability to conclude Beechdean’s GT3 acquire draught that stretches back again to 2015.
At the rear of, Adam to begin with soaked up Gounon’s tension in advance of edging distinct to complete third and close Loggie’s hopes of retaining the title. It also indicates 13 details now different the two remaining championship contenders ahead of October’s Donington Decider in which it will be Leung and Harper’s flip to prevail over the utmost Compensation Time.
Greystone GT’s Mercedes-AMG shared by Value and Macleod appeared established to finish fifth and right behind Gounon until eventually the motor vehicle ran out of gas on the penultimate lap. Barwell’s Balfe and Sandy Mitchell were being the main beneficiaries, while it was not sufficient to remain in title contention.
Paddock’s McLaren ought to have scored a particular greatest consequence in sixth but had 40 seconds added to its time put up-race in lieu of a 10-2nd halt-go penalty for making speak to with a GT4 auto. Drivetac’s Hart and Wallis for that reason additional an superb sixth position over-all to their Silver-Am victory.
Evans and Cowley celebrated a dominant 1st victory of the time at Makes Hatch the place the duo set up a late title problem regardless of starting the day 54 details off the direct.
Without a doubt, on a weekend when Optimum’s Clark and Brown have been favourites to wrap up the championship, a non-rating for the McLaren pair and major gains for all of their rivals signifies 6 crews will keep on being in mathematical contention at the Donington Decider.
Clark and Brown required to lengthen their details lead marginally to seal the crown with a spherical to spare, but a chaotic commence to the race would unravel their celebration options.
The GT3 clash at Paddock Hill Bend prompted havoc with the GT4 qualifying buy as cars scattered to keep away from the 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG stranded in the middle of the observe. Pole-sitter Josh Rowledge experienced to skip the DTO McLaren extensive throughout Turn 1’s gravel to stay away from speak to, dumping him perfectly down the purchase, and Clark took identical avoiding motion. This was wherever Optimum’s problems began as shortly immediately after the championship-major Artura developed a coolant leak that would consign it to retirement soon after just a handful of laps.
With the title favourites out, it opened the door for other folks to claw back again floor. And nobody did that superior than Evans and Cowley.
Evans leapt from 3rd to to start with all through the early melee in which Miller also located a route by to second and Johnston made important floor en route to third.
Two Basic safety Cars all through the opening 50 % intended Evans experienced to frequently function really hard to forge a gap, but with no targeted visitors forward the Mustang galloped crystal clear to maintain an advantage of a handful of seconds by the time the pit window opened. Evans ran a lap more time than quite a few of his rivals, accomplished a clear stop, and Cowley rejoined nonetheless in the lead ahead of Salkeld, whose shorter pit time helped Century’s BMW vault previous R Racing’s Aston.
On the other hand, when Salkeld came under stress from Miller’s co-driver Hopkins, Cowley scampered crystal clear to take a apparent get, which also moved the crew from sixth to 3rd in the standings and bang into championship rivalry.
Hopkins did obtain a way past Salkeld to snatch 2nd, but 3rd in general and the Professional-Am acquire – in spite of obtaining to provide the most Pitstop Payment Time pursuing their Portimão victory – was a exceptional consequence for #14’s crew who continue to be Clark and Brown’s closest challengers. 10.5 points now separates the leading two, and 16.5 the initial 3.
Matt Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore have been fourth in the second Academy Mustang, a lap down but with adequate time to pose for a formation finish photo with the sister car! Carl Cavers and Chris Salkeld took fifth in Century’s second BMW, with James Townsend and Mike Simpson (Raceway Motorsport) rounding out both of those the leading six and the Pro-Am podium.
British GT’s drivers’ and GT4 teams’ championships will be made a decision at Donington Park on Oct 21-22.
RACE End result >>
Shots: Paul Foster