Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw made it a double victory at the Oulton Park British GT season opener, triumphing in Monday’s second race, which was curtailed after a big crash for Richard Neary (Abba/Rollcentre Mercedes) and Ian Loggie (Team Parker Bentley). In GT4, the Lanan Ginetta won after on-track victor the #100 McLaren was penalised for a too-short pitstop.
Polesitter Seb Morris appeared to get bogged down at the start, promoting Keen to the lead and Callum Macleod in the #7 Bentley up to second. Morris’ dramas weren’t over, however, as he tapped Macleod off the track going into Knickerbrook, dropping the other Team Parker car to sixth.
Morris was subsequently hit with a drive-through penalty for the misdemeanour, leaving Jon Barnes (#11 TF Aston), Sam Tordoff (#6 Barwell Lamborghini), Jonny Adam (#1 TF Aston) and MacLeod running second to sixth as the order settled down. Keen had pulled out a five-second lead by the end of lap six. MacLeod then ran wide at Cascades, promoting James Littlejohn to fifth in the Macmillan Aston. That place wasn’t held long, though, as a recovering Morris made his way past.
Next to hit trouble was Tordoff, who was forced to retire his Lamborghini from third with a sudden loss of power, promoting Adam to third and a charging Matt Griffin to fourth in the Spirit Of Race Ferrari, the Irishman having also got past Littlejohn.
After the pitstops (which included an added 10, 7 and 5 seconds for the top three finishers from race one), Minshaw emerged in the lead in the #33, ahead of Mark Farmer in the #11 Aston, Derek Johnston in the #1 Aston and Rick Parfitt in the #31 Bentley. They looked set to finish in that order, until Farmer spun off without contacting the barriers, losing just one place in the end and gifting second to Johnston and Adam.
Any more racing was put paid to when Neary and Loggie came together just before Hilltop, both cars making heavy front-end contact with the barriers on driver’s left before coming to rest. Significant debris across the track and tyre barrier damage meant that although the safety car was deployed, the race had to be ended early to avoid excessive delay to an already-pressured timetable.
(Note – despite protestations post incident on TV from Ian Loggie that the accident had been caused by Neary turning in when he was alongside, spectator video of the incident shows the Bentley clipping the grass and swerving into the side/ rear of the AMG, Loggie though counters that the AMG had forced him onto the grass in the moments before the video footage)
Duncan Cameron held on for fourth in the Spirit Of Race Ferrari, having taken over from Matt Griffin, while the Parfitt/Morris Bentley wound up fifth after what the latter driver admitted on Twitter had been a “scruffy” race.
Polesitter Ciaran Haggerty in the #100 Black Bull McLaren appeared to suffer contact at the start, dropping him behind the leading pack for the opening stages of the race. That left Mike Simpson in the #111 University of Bolton Ginetta and Martin Plowman in the #53 RJN-run UltraTek Nissan disputing the lead, with a gaggle of other cars including third-place Scott Malvern in the Team Parker Porsche in close attendance. Elsewhere, Joe Osborne had to retire the Tolman McLaren early with a broken bonnet blocking the windscreen.
Both Simpson and Malvern went off track at Cascades, promoting race-one winner Adam Mackay in the Track-Club McLaren to second and Dave Pittard in the Lanan Racing Ginetta to third. Mackay came under intense pressure from Pittard for second as the pit window approached, with Mike Robinson holding fourth in the PMW Ginetta ahead of Akhil Rabindra in the #59 Black Bull McLaren.
After the pit stops, many were surprised to see the #100 McLaren emerge in the lead ahead of Alex Reed in the Lanan Ginetta, but it later emerged there was a very good explanation for this. The car crossed the line in first when the race ended under the safety car due to the GT3 crash, but was hit with a penalty for a too-short pit stop. That meant victory was Lanan’s, with Marcus Hoggarth and Matthew Graham clinching second in the #29 In2Racing McLaren ahead of reigning class champions Johnson and Robinson in the PMW Ginetta, who maintain a perfect podium finishing record in Oulton Park British GT races.