Craig Dolby and Tomas Enge scored Wessex Motorsport’s first International GT Open win, on the team’s series debut at Silverstone. In his stint Enge fought through the frontrunners in the team’s Reiter-supported Lamborghini Gallardo to take a convincing five-second win over the rest of the 13-car field.
“It was a great race, I think I made it a bit harder for Tomas,” Dolby admitted after the race. “I didn’t get a great start but my lap times were consistent. It definitely worked out well in the end.”
From second on the grid, Dolby slipped back to fourth place, after running wide at Copse at the start, while pole-sitter Côme Ledogar in the #88 Garage 59 McLaren pulled away from the field. Inheriting second was the #2 Teo Martín BMW M6 of Gustavo Yacamán, with Phil Keen in the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S third.
It was a clean start, but the opening lap saw Colin Noble in the Radical Works Team RXC tag Salih Yoluc’s TF Sport Aston Martin into a spin at Stowe. After that, the Aston would go on a tear after Yoluc handed over to teammate Euan Hankey, who like Enge, carved up the pack and eventually scored a podium.
With the field mostly spread out in the opening laps, the only real move for position before the stops was Keen getting past Yacaman at Woodcote for second place and Dolby following through laps later to take third in the Lambo up the inside at Brooklands.
After the stops Alexander West emerged in the lead in the Garage 59 McLaren, but the chase was immediately on with Shaun Balfe in second reeling him in during the first set of laps in his stint.
When he did catch up to the leading McLaren he couldn’t find a way through, and instead, had to focus on his mirrors, as Enge – who started his stint 15 seconds back – had caught the pair and was eager to get past.
As West continued to defend, Pieter Schothorst in his GT Open debut for Teo Martín, had caught the trio in the #1 M6 which moved up the order in the pits. It made for a brief four-way fight for the lead in the final 20 minutes.
Enge slid past Balfe at Brooklands, before quickly taking the lead into Becketts. After he took the lead, the Lambo quickly moved into a comfortable position out front, while Fabrizio Crestani in the Orange 1 Huracan caught up to the train behind West fighting for second.
“We knew it was competitive, now everyone saw it,” said Enge after getting out the car. “We didn’t go for a fast lap time in Qualifying, we went for race set up. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad we can celebrate our first win.”
Crestani made light work of both Schothorst and Balfe, before taking second off West, who shortly after lost control on the exit of the Arena hairpin and slipped down to 10th.
It left Balfe’s McLaren and Schothorst’s BMW battling for third place, but Euan Hankey, who started his stint eighth in the TF Aston, stole the final podium spot in the final laps after a masterful drive to pass both of them.
The #1 M6 finished fourth, with the 650S fifth.
Race 2 at Silverstone starts at 15:30 local time in the UK.