GT3 championship leaders Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw tightened their grip on the top of the points table by winning the first of Sunday’s two British GT races at Snetterton in the Demon Tweeks/Barwell Lamborghini. In GT4, honours went the way of Rockingham winners Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton in the HHC Motorsport Ginetta, who battled closely with fellow Ginetta runners Alex Reed and Dave Pittard in the polesitting Lanan Racing car throughout.
Polesitter Jack Mitchell in the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin streaked away on lap one and lead from Minshaw by over three seconds at the end of the first tour. The gap almost doubled second time around and had been extended to eight seconds by the end of lap six, however, the Macmillan car had an additonal five seconds to spend in the pits after the car’s Rockingham podium appearance, so a close battle in the second half beckoned.
Mark Farmer pitted the #11 TF Sport Aston before the pit window opened to have a damaged wheel rim checked by his mechanics following contact with Lee Mowle’s Mercedes. This dropped Farmer to the back of the GT3 field, and he subsequently compounded the issue by spinning on the approach to Coram just as the pit window opened.
Following the pit stops, Keen was closing rapidly on Littlejohn, who’d taken over the Macmillan car from Mitchell, with Sam Tordoff third in the Barwell Lamborghini started by Liam Griffin and Seb Morris fourth in the Team Parker Bentley started by Rick Parfitt Jr.
Keen immediately began harrying Littlejohn agressively for the lead and after several laps made a move stick through Oggies, around Williams and onto the Bentley straight. Keen’s Barwell team-mate Sam Tordoff in the other Huracan sensed an opportunity and himself got past around a lap later, but Littlejohn maintained third to the flag, ahead of Morris, Ryan Ratcliffe in the AmD Mercedes, Johnny Adam in the #1 TF Sport Aston started by Derek Johnston and Matt Griffin in the Spirit Of Race Ferrari he shares with Duncan Cameron.
At the time of writing, a potential penalty for a too-short pitstop threatened Morris and Parfitt Jr’s fourth place in the Team Parker Bentley.
Tregurtha got the jump on polesitter Reed to put the Rockingham-winning HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 ahead of the identical Lanan Racing machine in the early stages of the race. Tregurtha pulled away gradually, establishing a cushion of around three seconds by the end of lap six, mindful of the car’s 10-second additional pit stop time due to the victory last time out.
The order remained largely static at the front of GT4 during the first stint, but Will Phillips got the Macmillan Aston to 10th in class ahead of David Pattison in the Tolman McLaren, while Sam Webster in the #63 AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Ginetta and Time Eakin in the #54 RJN Nissan both got ahead of Anna Walewska’s Century Ginetta, which dropped to 14th.
Elsewhere, the #29 McLaren of Marcus Hoggarth stopped out on track just as the pit window opened with a reported water pump issue.
After the stops, the HHC car’s success penalty saw Middleton emerge behind Lanan’s second driver Pittard, but the youngster was soon nipping at his heels for the class lead and the cars ran nose-to-tail for almost the entire stint. Middleton eventually found a way past, making a robust move up the inside at Nelsons with just three minutes left on the clock.
Completing the podium was the #100 Black Bull/Garage 59 McLaren of Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell, ahead of another 570S in fourth, the Track-Club machine of Adam Mackay and Adam Balon. Matt Nicoll-Jones and Will Moore were the first Aston crew home in fifth, while a five-second pitstop success penalty from Rockingham contributed to a quiet run to sixth from PMW/Optimum’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson.