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Paul, Manderson & Davidson Win At Snetterton

Good weekend for Grimes in GTO

Race 1

Graham Davidson claimed an impressive 12th victory in 14 races this season as he finished first at Snetterton in race one on Saturday. Gareth Downing Mosler led Davidson’s McLaren MP4-12/C in a close battle before the Mosler slowed with technical difficulties.

“A win is always good,” said Davidson. “The car was great and I think it was really important from the start to get some distance between us and the cars behind. Through the twisty stuff we managed to keep ahead and I think Downing dropped off, which took some pressure off at the end.”

Bonamy Grimes proved a real challenge for the Group GTO runners in his Ferrari 458 GTC, scoring a fifth place finish overall, and first in GTC. “It was great playing with the Astons,” said Grimes. “To be able to hang onto them was enjoyable but I couldn’t get past. I had a go but I thought better of it. I really enjoyed myself.”

Group GTB was won by Tom Webb in the BMW M3 E46 GTR, who finished sixth overall, as he led the debuting BMW V10 150 GTR of Nick Barrow throughout, though just three seconds separated the pair at the flag.

In Group GTA, Dominic Paul consolidated his championship lead with victory. “It was very close at the beginning and I had the GTB BMW in front of me,” said Paul. “I could carry more speed into the corners but he was faster in the straights. It was quite exciting. I had to put in four qualifying-level laps in to build a gap and I managed to do that. It was great fun.”

Race 2

Matt Manderson took his and Ultimate Speed Racing’s first victory of the season in Saturday’s second GT Cup race at Snetterton, with an overall and Group GTO win over runner-up Graham Davidson. Third overall and Group GTC winner was Bonamy Grimes.

“I really enjoyed myself,” said Manderson. “I didn’t get the race I was hoping for with a battle for the lead. But I loved it, it was absolutely brilliant and I had a whale of a time.”

In the Aston Martin GT3, Manderson took the lead early on after passing race one winner Davidson. Grimes put in a dogged display to finish third in the Ferrari 458 Challenge car, ahead of the Aston Martin GT3 of Nigel Hudson.

“I’m absolutely thrilled. I had a bit of luck and I knew I had to keep pushing,” said Grimes “The McLaren I couldn’t do much about but I just had to go flat out to keep the Aston behind me.”

The terrific Group GTB battle continued to thrill on Saturday, with Tom Webb’s BMW M3 E46 GTR and Neil Huggins’ Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo LP570-4 within half a second of each other throughout the race before Webb made a quick pit stop with loose bodywork.

“That was hard work!” said Huggins. “At the start, Tom was on the outside of the Ferrari and he got hung out a little bit so I was able to carry more speed and get past him. But of course that thing was so fast through the twisty stuff, it must’ve been frustrating for him, because I could see him flashing his lights. I kept it all together, neither of us did nothing stupid and that’s how it should be – just great racing.”

Dominic Paul swept the day’s Group GTA victories in his Ginetta G55 with Spy Motorsport team mate Brent Millage in second.

“I managed to get ahead of Mick Mercer and then had the Marcos behind me. I thought it was a Ginetta so I was driving like a lunatic to keep in front of him! Then the team came on and said ‘you’ve got a 10 second lead’ and I realised it was the Marcos. I think I’ve cemented my second place in the overall standings which is good.”

Race 3

Dominic Paul claimed his 11th Group GTA victory in the 50-minute GT Cup feature race at Snetterton on Sunday. He had to fight hard for the victory however, as Mick Mercer and Gary Smith’s Amigo Motorsport Ginetta hounded him after the pit stops, before Paul was able to break the tow and pull out an advantage.

“Amigo made us work for it,” Paul said. “The strategy was to build as much of a gap as I could at the start, so I was putting down qualifying laps down and it was tiring. I guess their tyres were warmer so he really harried me but then I managed to get a bit of a break. With a 45-second success penalty, that’s the most satisfying win.”

Nigel Hudson and Adam Wilcox won the race and the GTO group in their JMH Automotive Aston Martin GT3, holding off the chasing Graham Davidson’s Jetstream Motorsport McLaren MP4-12/C by just 0.8s at the flag.

“We worked really hard,” said Hudson. “Graham was fantastically quick, but we knew we had a slight advantage this time with the pit penalties and we got Adam out two or three seconds in front of Graham. We’re absolutely delighted. You always worry but Adam has a lot of experience and always brings it home.”

“It feels good to win again,” said Wilcox. “My aim is to get Nigel to win one of the races on Saturday. We’ll get there, he was bang on in qualifying and the next step is pole, then a win. We’re really pleased with that, he drove brilliantly and a massive thanks is due to JMH. They worked really hard, Chris in particular who has worked really hard and done a fantastic job.”

John Saunders took the win in Group GTB, finishing fifth overall in his TCS Motorsport Ginetta G50. “It was a terrific start and all three of us in the GTB were together,” said Saunders. “One by one we all had problems: Tom had a puncture, Neil spun and then I was down to six cylinders. We had terrible trouble yesterday. The differential went, then we had a misfire and had the same issue today but the team worked until 8pm yesterday – a full day’s work – to put the internals of another diff into this one just by hand. They never give up, they always make a plan – never defeated.”

Third overall and victor in Group GTC was Bonamy Grimes and James Little in the Ferrari 458 GTC.“We were very nervous as the car was turning itself off on Friday in testing,” said Grimes. “FF Corse did a fantastic job to get everything fixed, well balanced, and set up for the race. As James said to me, ‘how can you not have fun in a Ferrari?!’”

“Bon had a wonderful day yesterday,” said Little. “To secure another third place overall in a GTC car today makes me very, very happy.”

The championship now heads to Donington Park for rounds 17, 18 & 19 on the 16th & 17th September.