Minshaw and Keen double up to take a chaotic British GT victory


Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com

Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw have proved their not one-trick wonders as they picked their way through the chaos to claim a second British GT Championship victory of the day at Oulton Park.

The front-row was a repetition of the earlier race as Seb Morris in the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 started on pole position with Keen alongside in the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

Just like race one, the Lamborghini would swoop round the outside of the Bentley at Old Hall and into a strong lead. However, unlike in race one, Morris’ team-mate Callum Macleod would also managed to squeeze himself round the outside and into second place.

They wouldn’t stay second and third for long as – going into Hislops – Morris tried a touch too-daring move on Macleod and the pair would collide. Morris would move up to second but Macleod would slip down to sixth, promoting the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Jon Barnes into a podium position.

Barnes would then move up to second, with team-mate Jonny Adam putting in a number of good moves to climb from 11th to fourth, helped by the fact that Morris got penalised for his lunge and served a drive-through penalty, relegating him to sixth.

While this was all unfolding, the GT4 class was developing drama of its own. At the start, Mike Simpson’s University of Bolton Ginetta G55 GT4 and Ciaran Haggerty’s Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren 570S collided at Old Hall, sending Haggerty’s McLaren to the rear of the field.

A couple of laps later the #111 of Simpson would be involved in another incident, this time with the Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport of Scott Malvern. They tangled going down The Avenue and the pair span off onto the grass before continuing far down the order.

Ahead, in the GT3 class, there was heartache for Sam Tordoff. Coming off the back of his first GT podium in race one, he would retire from third position with electrical problems going along Lakeside, gifting Jonny Adam third place.

For Morris, his race would get more ‘exciting’ at the exit of Hislops 15 minutes in to the race as he put a wheel on the grass and spun the Bentley round.

Good work in the pitstops, and a bit of luck with penalties for rivals, saw Lanan claim GT4 honours (Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com)

By this point, the pit window had opened and some form of  calm had descended on the grid and one of the first in to the pits was David Pittard in the Lanan Racing Ginetta to hand over to Alex Reed. They would run a clean second stint and find themselves second behind the #100 McLaren which pulled off some pitstop wizardry to move back to the lead of the race.

That wizardry would turn out to be a too short pitstop and a time penalty late in the race would demote the Garage 59 entry to seventh, allowing Lanan to claim their first victory of the season in what was Pittard’s first race since last year’s Silverstone 24 Hours.

In GT3, the final section of the race would see Duncan Cameron, who took over the Spirit of Race Ferrari from Matt Griffin, up to fourth and unable to make the most of Mark Farmer spinning from second in the TF Sport Aston at the exit of the Britten’s Chicane. Farmer moved down to third and Derek Johnston, who had taken over from Adam in the championship-winning TF Sport car, was promoted to second.

They would finish in that order, with Jon Minshaw taking over the lead Barwell Lamborghini from Keen, as a rather nasty incident involving Richard Neary in the Team ABBA with Rollcentre Mercedes AMG GT3 and Ian Loggie in the unlucky #7 Bentley Continental GT3, saw the race ended five minutes early, after running under the safety car for ten minutes.

The incident saw the pair tangle with each other on the run up the hill at Hilltop and crash heavily into the tyre barrier on the left-handside. Both drivers would get out unharmed, with Loggie giving the car a punch for good measure as he ended a less than ideal second race in retirement.

The GT4 order got changed a bit as time-penalties given in lieu of stop/gos saw the McLaren drop to seventh and the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin of William Phillips and Jan Jonck drop behind them to eighth.

That saw Lanan score victory, the In2Racing McLaren 570S of Marcus Hoggarth and Matty Graham finished second and third went to defending GT4 champions PMW Expo Racing and drivers Mike Robinson & Graham Johnson.

For Matty Graham, scoring podium was an unexpected reward after a late deal saw him do no testing in the McLaren prior to this weekend. He said: “That’s not a bad result considering we started P12! I got my head down and had a mega start, overtaking quite a few people on the first lap.

“The car is good over a race distance and this result proves that. Marcus had a great stint to bring the car home and our crew was just superb to avoid getting a pitstop penalty. We’ve gelled well together this weekend and I can’t wait for Rockingham.”

The next round for the British GT Championship is at the end of April with a two-hour blast around Rockingham on April 29 and 30.