LIVE: British GT Championship Round Three – Rockingham


Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com

The first two-hour race of the season takes the British GT Championship to Rockingham and a trip round the banking. TF Sport has locked out the front-row after a dominant qualifying session for the Aston Martin crew.

However, championship leaders Barwell Motorsport and their drivers Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw will be starting in third place and looking to take a third win on the bounce.

In GT4, HHC Motorsport took a storming pole position as Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton combined to put in the two fastest laps of the Pro and Am qualifying sessions.

Follow all the action as it happens with our live blog!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201712:57

Hello and welcome to The Checkered Flag’s live coverage of the third round of the British GT Championship. We’re at Rockingham for the first 120 minute race of the year and Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam will start on pole position in the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:00

And remember you can watch the race live online thanks to FrontRunner, just go to facebook.com/britishgt

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:05

There’s been one retirement already this weekend as the #29 In2Racing McLaren 570S of Matty Graham and Marcus Hoggarth had to pull out after a crash for Hoggarth in Free Practice Two yesterday

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:06

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:07

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:07

The cars are out on their green flag lap, we’ll be racing in just a minute!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:10

We are racing! The two Aston Martins hold on to their positions through the Deene Hairpin and Lanan lead in GT4

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:11

After the first lap, the biggest mover is James Littlejohn, he’s moved up five places to lie in third in GT3

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:12

GT4 leader is Alex Reed, with Ciaran Haggerty’s Garage 59 McLaren up two positions into 2nd

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:12

And the McLaren safety car makes its first appearance! The #69 is in the gravel at turn four

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:13

It was Harry Gottsacker in the #69 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT3 who ended up in the gravel

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:14

In GT4, the track-club McLaren is in the pits with a rather major fluid leak

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:15

At the front of GT3, Jon Minshaw got up to 2nd before the safety car came out with Mark Farmer slipping down to fourth as Littlejohn in the Macmillan AMR car went past as well.

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:17

And the track-club McLaren, which won at Oulton Park at the hands of Adam Balon and Adam Mackay has retired, a bit of debris has punctured the charge cooler in the 570S’s engine

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:17

The Safety car has come back in and we are now back to racing!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:19

After the first lap back under the green flags, Haggerty has managed to get himself up to first place in GT4 in the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:23

At the front of the GT3 field James Littlejohn is getting impatient in third place, he tried to go up the inside of Jon Minshaw for second at the Deene Hairpin

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:25

And there’s been a change for fourth, Parfitt goes up the inside of Mark Farmer at the Deene Hairpin in his Team Parker Bentley

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:29

And the top three are three abreast!! They run three wide out of Tarzan, Johnston brakes too late into the Chicane and slips to third with Minshaw taking the lead!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:34

Minshaw had a few nervy moments picking through GT4 traffic, they managed to give him enough space but it was close!

Speaking of GT4, Haggerty still has half-a-second in hand over the pole-sitting HHC Motorsport Ginetta of Will Tregurtha

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:35

And Farmer used the traffic to his benefit as got back past Parfitt for fourth place

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:37

Mark Farmer’s lost it at Gracelands, he’s been cursed by TCF’s Live Blog! He managed to avoid the gravel and carried on but down in 8th

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:39

Derek Johnston’s been given a time penalty for track limits, he’s been penalised five seconds and TSL has automatically moved him down to 5th

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:39

And as I type, the Spirit of Race Ferrari of Duncan Cameron has also been penalised five seconds for track limits. That’s put him down to seventh

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:40

The lead has changed as well! Jon Minshaw saw himself outflanked at the Deene Hairpin and James Littlejohn takes the lead

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:44

Harry Gottsacker’s day is getting worse, he’s been given a 10 second time penalty for various track limit infringements

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:48

Ciaran Haggerty is having his mirrors filled once again as Tregurtha crosses the line just 0.4s behind

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:50

And Tregurtha has got past Haggerty – another driver successfully cursed by the live blog! However, Haggerty managed to get back up the inside at turn one!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:53

There’s a yellow flag at Gracelands, the #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta GT4 of Steven Fresle has hit the gravel – we’ve got the safety car!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201713:59

And we are back racing once again! Littlejohn has a few GT4 cars between himself and Minshaw to give a bit of a gap to himself on the restart

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:01

Oh dear that wasn’t too good, a flashback to Oulton Park as a twitchy move from Ian Loggie sees the Mercedes of Richard Neary take a trip over the grass at the chicane

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:03

Oh dear part two, Tim Eakin was tapped into a spin by Nick Jones’ Porsche Cayman GT4. Eakin takes a while to get the Nissan going again but does in the end

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:05

GT4 still sees Haggerty in the lead but he’s only quarter of a second ahead Will Tregurtha, who is also just 0.3s ahead of Alex Reed

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:06

Derek Johnston’s had a big off at the Chicane, he’s not done any damage to the car but he’s lost a place on the road to Duncan Cameron and because of his time penalty he lost another place to Liam Griffin

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:11

The pits are open for business, first in is James Littlejohn in the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin who is handing over to Jack Mitchell

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:13

Most of the leaders are into the pits now, with teams wanting to put their Pro drivers in as early as they can

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:18

So Jack Mitchell has filtered through to the lead of the race again in the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin but in GT4 Will Tregurtha still hasn’t pitted the HHC machine so still has a handy lead in that class

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:21

The HHC car has finally come into the pits, after the pit window has closed – will the team be in trouble for leaving it out that long?

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:27

In GT3 Ryan Ratcliffe has been demoted from fourth to fifth as Sam Tordoff gets through at the Deene Hairpin

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:28

Sandy Mitchell leads in GT4 after taking over from Ciaran Haggerty. Stuart Middleton’s second in the HHC car

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:36

The lead battle in GT3 is really heating up! Jack Mitchell leads but Seb Morris is doing everything he can to squeeze up the inside. However, Matt Griffin is right on the back of the pair of them and looking to get past!

Joe Hudson April 30, 201714:38

Morris is through for the lead at the chicane!! Griffin is 2nd on the road but third on the timing screens because of his penalty

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:40

Meanwhile Phil Keen has just set the fastest lap in fifth.

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:40

Back at the front Griffin has taken the lead, provisionally. He still has a penalty, but has already broken away from Morris

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:42

On the last lap Griffin went 0.8 seconds quicker than Morris and quickly bridging the five second gap he needs

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:45

Disaster for Griffin, we have a Safety Car!

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:46

The #63 Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing has beached it in the gravel at turn four

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:50

The #36 Ginetta G55 has pulled into the pits to serve a stop/go penalty, but has now been pushed into the pit lane

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:53

Griffin has now been waved ahead of the safety car

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:54

While he was ahead on the road, the five second gap puts him further down. As a result he’s been waved through in order to ‘make up a lap’.

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:54

The race is back to Green!

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:55

Griffin thus leads by 30 seconds, despite his 5 second penalty.

Connor Jackson April 30, 201714:58

GT4 meanwhile still has the HHC Motorsport car of Stuart Middleton in the lead, only a second ahead of Sandy Mitchell

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:02

A loss of concentration from Jon Barnes, sees the #11 run through the grass, but continues after losing 5 seconds

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:04

Morris has broken away from Mitchell in third, but the Aston Martin is being hounded by the Lamboghini’s of Keen and Tordoff

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:06

With 4 minutes to go, the Spirit of Race car driven by Griffin has turned down the engine comfortable with its 25 second gap

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:08

Ratcliffe’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Jonny Adam’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 has joined the battle for third, but the five second penalty for Adam will put him out of contention

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:09

It’s the final lap

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:10

Griffin Wins the Second British GT round from Rockingham Motor Speedway

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:11

It was side by side over the line for third as Mitchell held on by 0.095 seconds from Keen

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:12

In GT4, Stuart Middleton’s HHC Motorsport run, Ginetta G55 GT4 claims victory by over 9 seconds.

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:15

The winner has now been put under investigation, full results to come

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:20

Provisional Top 3
GT3
1. #21 Spirit of Race – Ferrari 488 GT3
2. #31 Team Parker Racing – Bentley Continental GT3
3. #24 Macmillan AMR – Aston Martin Vantage GT3

GT4
1. #55 HHC Motorsport – Ginetta G55 GT4
2. #100 Black Bull Garage 59 – McLaren 570S
3. #501 Optimum Motorsport – Ginetta G55 GT4

Connor Jackson April 30, 201715:22

Thank You for keeping up with TCF’s coverage of the British GT race from Rockingham. We’ll see you all for Snetterton.