John Saunders edged an intriguing GTB battle as Ginetta came out on top against Lamborghini in the opening GT Cup race from Silverstone, while Graham Davidson steered the Jet Stream McLaren 12C GT3 to the overall win.
The TCS Motorsport man was made to work hard for his GTB group triumph, Neil Huggins emerging from a feisty first corner as the contender in his Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo for much of the opening 25-minute race.
“Fantastic race from the beginning”, said Saunders. “I saw Neil in the distance and he was my man – I had to get him! I was reeling him in and then after the safety car I thought that I wouldn’t have enough time to catch him. I was right on him and he kept it together until the last lap when he got a bit of understeer through Aintree and that just allowed me to come through and take it with three corners to go. A great race.”
Leyton Clarke took the fight to the championship leader Graham Davidson at the head of the field meanwhile, as both claimed group victories of their own. He would not be able to topple the in-form McLaren of Davidson however, who extended his overall and GTO group championship lead with victory from pole position in Northamptonshire.
“I got a great start and hung on around the outside of the Aston Martin heading through the first corner, which meant I could get my head down and get away”, said Davidson. “After the safety car interruption at the end, I managed to put in one decent lap that gave me the gap at the front. I wasn’t teasing them! We’re in a good position because other group leaders had a difficult race.”
Gary Smith added a fine win of his own for Amigo Motorsport in GTA, best of a trio of Ginetta G55 machines ahead of Ian Payne and group leader, Dominic Paul.
“I survived a bit of a messy first corner, but it meant I was in the lead with them right on my bumper”, said Smith. “I got a bit crossed up as we were dicing all race. It was a perfect battle, really fair and a fantastic result for us in the end.”
Jake Rattenbury bounced back from race one disappointment with a fine GTC group victory in the second GT Cup sprint race at Silverstone’s GP circuit.
The MTECH/Wildwater Lamborghini Huracan started alongside pole-sitter Graham Davidson for the second 25-minute race, slipping only behind the GTO Aston Martin of Nigel Hudson on his way to a fine third place overall to add to his GTC group success.
“It was a good clean race for me”, added Rattenbury, who had his first race disrupted by contact heading into the first corner. “Once I got through the first lap I could get some distance from the GTC cars and keep going to build up the gap. I kept it clean and I’m happy with the win.”
Up front it was Davidson who made it two GTO wins from two in Northamptonshire, as well as two overall wins ahead of an endurance outing that he expects to be closely fought on Sunday.
“It turned out to be a more straightforward race compared to race one”, said Davidson. “The question I was asking myself was can I keep up the pace in the endurance race tomorrow. We’d like to use the Pirelli tyres again in that race, so I’m going to try and eek every tenth out of it. I want to race with the Aston Martin – I think it could be a great battle!”
GTB group honours went the way of John Saunders for the second race in succession. The TCS Motorsport Ginetta G50 burst into the group lead as the cars rushed into the first corner, a lead he would never surrender to add to his fighting race one victory.
“I couldn’t ask for more really”, said a happy Saunders afterwards. “That was a bit less eventful for me after I got the jump on the Ferrari ahead of me. After that it was just a case of getting my head down and pushing to keep clear of everyone. My engineer was in my ear wanting the fastest lap, but I kept cool!”
After starting from the rear of the field in race one, Dominic Paul was back to winning ways in the GTA group in race two. The Spy Motorsport Ginetta G55 broke away into an early group lead, leaving behind a fierce tussle for the remaining spots in GTA.
“It was great, the race before was a bit frustrating because I started at the back of the grid, but luckily I got fastest lap so we were on pole position for this race. I just needed a good start then get six or seven solid laps in – which I did – then I just kept out of trouble.”
JMH Automotive could celebrate their second win in as many GT Cup meetings after claiming victory in the third and final race of the weekend at Silverstone with Nigel Hudson and Adam Wilcox. The Aston Martin duo started the final 50-minute contest fourth on the grid in baking summer conditions, Hudson picking off his rivals in the opening laps to move up to second behind GTO rival, Graham Davidson.
Hudson handed over to Wilcox who assumed the lead after pit stops filtered through, the latter maintaining his pace to add to the pair’s victory last month at Spa-Francorchamps. “Nigel was fantastic at the start and has been all weekend”, praised Wilcox. “It meant I had a good lead when I went out onto the track, so it was just a case of dodging the traffic. It was a great race and it’s good to add another win.”
Sunoco Driver of the Weekend, Hudson added further praise to his team’s performance, saying “we’re going very much in the right direction. It’s been a good weekend. Graham has been so good in the McLaren this weekend so it’s nice to get one over on him!”
John Saunders and Patrick Scharfegger capped off a perfect weekend in the GTB group. A third victory in three outings at the Northamptonshire circuit was completed after Saunders built up a healthy group lead in the opening stint, Scharfegger maintaining his cushion to the flag to complete the hat-trick.
A delighted Saunders enthused “one is my lucky number now! It was a perfect weekend. Unfortunately the Webbs had to pull out of the race with an engine problem which meant we couldn’t have another battle, but I fought with the GTC cars in the early stages. We held it together and couldn’t have asked for more.”
Scharfegger added “John built up a nice lead so I had to maintain that as much as I could, which I managed to do. It’s been a perfect weekend so we couldn’t ask for much more.”
Jake Rattenbury could not convert his superb overall pole position into an outright victory, but another fine GTC group triumph was his reward after battling the GTO cars during the race. “It was a great last race”, he said. “I’ve not won all three races yet on a weekend so that is my main aim to achieve at some point this season. I maintained the pace really well and the team gave me a great car so I can’t complain about that.”
A popular victory in GTA went the way of Ian Payne and Ben Tuck, completing a hat-trick of podiums for the PT Sports Cars Ginetta G55 duo in the hotly-contested group. Three years on from his previous GT Cup appearance, Payne added “Ben did all the hard work really! It was quite hot in there. We had a cracking day yesterday with two second places and with the win today it’s a nice little haul of points we’ve had. It’s good to be back.”
It was a moment to savour too for Tuck, who made his debut in GT racing at Silverstone this weekend. “It was an awesome race; first ever time for me in a GT car this weekend so I was trying to manage the tyres which was the most interesting thing. I think I could’ve done a bit of a better job, but Ian had enough to bring it home. I think that’s the most enjoyable race of my career!”