The Oman Racing Team Aston Martin of Rory Butcher and Liam Griffin has stormed to victory in the first of two one-hour sprint races at Snetterton with action happening up and down the field.
It was the #27 TF Sport Aston Martin of Andrew Jarman that led as the lights went out at the start of the race, with Jarman flying into a comfortable lead going into Riches for the first time with the two Oman Racing Team cars, that of Liam Griffin and Ahmad Al Harthy in the sister car, chasing close behind. Andrew Howard wasn’t too far behind the top three in the Beechdean AMR entry to make it an Aston top four.
Sadly, the biggest loser in the first ten minutes was that of Jon Minshaw in the #63 Demon Tweeks BMW. Starting from the very back of the grid, they were picking off a good number of cars before they got a puncture and had to make an early pit stop.
Into GT4 and Norfolk locals ISSY Racing with Oz Yusuf behind the wheel blasted off into an early lead and put a handy gap between the Evora and Will Moore in the #61 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin in second place. Going well in the class was Fulvio Mussi in the Fox Motorsport Ginetta sitting pretty in third place.
However, not long after that started to go wrong as first Mussi outbraked himself going into Riches and dropped to fifth, and then at the pit stops the Ginetta lost all electrical power and sent the Fox squad into an early retirement.
Back in GT3 and already Ecurie Ecosse showed they had the measure of Snetterton as Marco Attard started to pick off other GT3 cars ahead of him. One of those was the Triple Eight BMW of Lee Mowle, who wasn’t going to be going down a place without a fight. Indeed their scrap at Agostini was amazing in the fact that they were going wheel-to-wheel without incident.
Getting towards the halfway point, just before the pit stops, Liam Griffin showed the #6 was strong as he closed in and closed in on Jarman to as little as a couple of car lengths at the shortest.
Into the pit stops and the biggest incident of note was the seemingly lightning pit stop executed by the #10 VonRyan Racing squad which saw it run side-by-side down the pit lane with the #6 – now with Rory Butcher behind the wheel – before coming out ahead.
In the second Oman car, the #2, a wait of a lap before they pitted ensured they came back out in the lead with Alex MacDowall peddling that car into a rather nice lead with Andrew Watson in second pre-occupied with Liam Griffin in third.
It was all going very well for MacDowall, in his first British GT race of the season, until he tangled with the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston as he was trying to lap him at Murrays. That sent the Oman car onto the grass and dropping places like a stone as the steering was majorly damaged.
It meant that Butcher, who got past Andrew Watson’s McLaren in a great move round the outside of Riches, inherited the lead and looked to keep the McLaren behind him for as long as possible.
That was made a bit easier for him as Watson was penalised for that lightning pit stop being three seconds too slow, and he was thus given a three second stop/go penalty for his trouble, relegating him down to sixth. It eventually became seventh not long later as Alexander Sims was on the war path and squeezed by the McLaren at Bombhole.
Before we go on to the mental last ten minutes for the cars in second, third and fourth, it is worth mentioning the battle for second in GT4. As you may have guessed the ISSY Racing Lotus was in a clear lead, but Dennis Strandberg in the #61 Academy Aston and Frederik Blomstedt in the Century Motorsport Ginetta were fighting tooth and nail for second in class. Swapping numerous times, it was eventually the Aston that staked a solid claim to second as the chequered flag dropped.
Now back into GT3 and Jody Fannin, Matt Bell, and Jonny Adam were basically touching fighting for second place with TF Sport man Fannin in the driving seat as Matt Bell in the #17 TF Sport sister car looked to rob Fannin of his runner’s up spot. Adam, in the #007, was looking to get past Bell for a podium so also tried to make a few moves of his own.
In the end, nothing could be done with the three so they finished as they were for many laps, with Fannin finishing a distant second to a superb Rory Butcher.
After the race, Sims was given a 30 second penalty after a collision with Mike Simpson in the #32 Ginetta which saw the orange machine retire a few laps later with a blown engine. The penalty means Sims and Attard have been demoted to eighth place.
The second British GT race of the afternoon takes place at 16:30, with TCF covering it live!