A charge from Jonny Adam in the second half of the race – aided by a penalty for an unlucky RJN Motorsport crew – gave the new GT3-spec Aston Martin Vantage its first race win as Beechdean Motorsport won the first Avon Tyres British GT Championship race of the Nurburgring 24 Hours weekend.
Adam had collected the car in fourth place after Andrew Howard's opening stint but moved up to second by the end of the ten minute pitstop with a quick out lap followed by fastest laps as he got the Aston up to speed.
One place came after a slow stop for Optimum Motorsport. Luke Hines had been one of the beneficiaries of some first lap contact to move into third place from sixth on the grid before getting by Howard for second at the start of the second lap. Even though he quickly pulled away from the Aston he was no match for Jann Mardenborough who had easily converted pole position into a race lead.
Mardenborough's lead stretched out to nearly nine seconds before the pit window opened with 25 of the race's 60 minutes elapsed.
Along with the chasing Hines and David Jones in the Preci–Spark Mercedes SLS Mardenborough was a late pitter, but kept the lead. George Murrells, who took over Optimum's Ginetta G55 from Hines was not to lucky, a pitstop hiccup knocking them back down to sixth place.
Also in the pitstops Adam managed to jump the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 started by Alasdair McCaig. Initially 16 seconds in arrears Adam cleaved into the lead now enjoyed by Alex Buncombe, taking one and a half to two seconds out of the Nissan driver every lap as the race appeared headed for a crescendo in the final laps with the lead pair closing up.
However, Buncombe was called in to serve a penalty for a driver change stop just half a second too short. The trip down the pitlane handed Adam the lead and brought Buncombe out just ahead of the Motorbase Performance Porsche of Michael Caine who relegated the GT-R to third place at turn three.
Caine had continued the drive through the field started by co-driver Daniele Perfetti. From fourth on the grid Perfetti searched for second place around the outside of turn one only to be tipped into a spin by Jody Firth who was also delayed by the incident – dropping to cross the line sixth after the first lap of the race.
Perfetti fought back up into the top ten by the end of his 16 lap stint, Caine continuing to push on in the second half of the race.
For his role in the incident Firth and the Team WFR crew were given a stop go penalty served in the second half of the race that dropped them out of points' contention. However, while he was still in the car Firth the aggressor turned Firth the victim as Charles Bateman caught the back of the Ginetta as both drivers fought past the Jones' SLS. Bateman too received a penalty for his action, ruling he and Matt Bell out of top ten contention. The final man to be reprimanded by stewards was Benji Hetherington who knocked Steve Parish in the second Motorbase Porsche into retirement after contact at turn one.
Parish retired on the spot, Hetherington losing places as an immediate result before retiring a few laps later before his brother Freddie had got a chance to take over the car. However, as a result of Benji's action Freddie will receive a grid penalty for tomorrow's second race.
Pushed back to third place Buncombe arrested the slide, pulling away from the waiting Oliver Bryant in fourth who lost out to Matt Griffin on the final lap as the Irishman moved the MTECH Ferrari 458 into fourth position.
The Jones brothers took sixth place with a quiet but impressive race from Marco Attard and Marcel Leipert netting seventh place in the Rhino's Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini ahead of the trio of Trackspeed Porsches.
The Jon Minshaw and Tim Harvey driven no.33 car led the trio, Harvey surviving contact with George Murrells' Team WFR Ginetta, inflicting suspension damage that knocked the G55 out of the race with only a handful of laps to go.
Steve Tandy and Joe Osborne finished ninth ahead of the Richard Westbrook and David Ashburn entry, Ashburn struggling in his stint, spinning out while battling for ninth place with Duncan Cameron in the MTECH Ferrari.
After losing the lead in the opening laps Jody Fannin wasted little time in reasserting Team WFR's dominance at the top of GT4, taking the lead from Mike Ticehurst in the Jota Mazda MX5.
The Mazda, making its GT4 debut, eventually finished fourth in the hands of Owen Mildenhall after he had lost the final step on the podium to Dominic Evans in the Century Motorsport Ginetta started by Zoe Wenham. Mildenhall and Evans had a brief battle, Evans taking the place through the final turn, only to lose out to Mildenhall at turn three the next lap, before the Mazda man ran wide letting Evans back by into a position he would not lose again.
A surprising second, albeit 55 seconds in arrears, were the Italian Nova Race Ginetta pairing. The other two Ginetta G50s in the race suffered problems throughout. After challenging for a class podium early on APO Sport were classified four laps down. Optimum Motorsport's G50 was beset with problems. Lee Mowle spun the yellow car on the opening lap before the car caught fire later in the race forcing retirement.