Witt Gamski and Keith Robinson continued their 100 percent winning streak in the Britcar GT Championship, guiding their MJC Ltd Ferrari F430 GTC around Snetterton for their fifth win in as many races.
With the Sun beaming down on the Norfolk circuit, conditions were perfect for the four hour race. The Production class joined the GT class on the grid and a total of 32 cars started behind the Ferrari of Gamski and Robinson with a rolling start. However it was another Ferrari, that of Aaron Scott and Arwyn Williams in the 430 GT3 who took the lead on the first lap and began to build a sizeable lead in the early stages.
A mistake on lap four though, meant the number 12 Ferrari had dropped back down the order and by lap five, the early leader was now sitting in sixth and nearly ten seconds behind the now leaders, Gamski and Robinson. The Championship leaders were not having it easy though as the Porsche 996 RSR driven by Jim and his son, Porsche Carrera Cup star Glynn Geddie were pushing hard for first place and sticking to the lead Ferrari's bumper like glue. Persistence paid off as the Geddie pairing took the lead on lap eight, and thanks to production class back markers, they had build a huge lead of nearly nine seconds over the next lap!
It was at this point that the Technosport BMW E46 driven by George Agyeton and British Touring Car Driver Steven Kane had experienced mechanical trouble. They came into the pits on lap nine, and unfortunately never returned back out, ending their race early on.
By the hour mark, Glynn Geddie and his father Jim had built up a strong lead of over a lap, whilst the Gamski and Robinson Ferrari were battling to hold off the Porsche 996 GT3 of Spanish pair Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano who were pushing them hard for the second spot. The two Topcat Racing Marcos Mantis' were keeping in touch of the battle for second and third, with Neil Huggins and Raphael Fiorentino in fourth and Owen O'Neill and Jon Harrison Fifth. Rounding out the Top Six at this stage were the Jones cousins Morgan, Philip and Gareth in the Eurotech Racing Porsche 997.
The Production class had seen the BMW of Paul White and Calum Lockie take the lead, and the Ford Mustang driven by Mike Jordan and Steven Wood move up from fourth on the grid to second place. Mike Jordan had been at Silverstone that morning, racing in a Ford Lotus Cortina and had not taken part in the qualifying session, but managed to get to the race to take over from Wood and finish the second half. Who better to get you between the circuits in time? Mike's son, BTCC Winner Andy Jordan. If he drove like he did during his touring car win at croft, then I'm sure they got there in plenty of time. The Seat Leon Supercopa of Mark and Peter Cunningham was running nicely in third, followed by Gary Furst in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and the Geoff Steel Racing BMW E46 M3 with Gino Ussi behind the wheel a lap back in fifth.
There were no major events, until the one and a half hour mark, when, the Ferrari of Scott and Williams burst an oil hose exiting the Esses and sent oil spewing along the track in the process. Not only that but the leaking oil caught fire setting light to the rear of the JMH teams car, leaving them with no option but to pull off the circuit at Coram for the marshalls to put out the flames. That had ended their race, and, in an unfortunate set of circumstances, led to the end of the race for the Geddie's Porsche.
The Oil from the Ferrari dumped on the track caused a spin for the Number 41 Azteca Porsche of Morcillo and Cintrano at the entrance to the Bomb Hole. During the spin the Spaniards car collided with another Porsche, that of the two Geddie's. Both had managed to get back to the pits, and whilst the Azteca machine had suffered only superficial damage, the Apex Tubulars Porsche's was terminal and lead to their retirement due to suspension damage. This had handed the lead to the Number 1 Gamski and Robinson Ferrari.
Afterwards speaking on his website Glynn Geddie said, “It’s so frustrating as, with the lead that we had, we were definitely on for an overall win despite the fact we didn’t have the quickest car out there. It just proves that anything can happen in motorsport – one moment you’re leading and everything is going your way, then the next, you’re out of the race”. He continued, “There are positives that we can take out of the weekend and it was a pleasure to race with my dad again – he drove very well in his stint and it’s a shame he only got 40 minutes in the car. Also it was good preparation for the Carrera Cup races here, and there are pieces of data that we’ve collected that can hopefully give us an advantage then.”
The safety car had been called so the oil could be cleared up. This took quite a while, as time behind the safety car became longer and longer, the completion of the two hour race for the production class grew nearer and nearer. Frustration was growing for Mike Jordan in the Mustang as he had dropped to fourth place and was catching the Cunningham Seat in third until the safety car period. Disappointingly the Oil could not be cleared in time for the production class race finish leaving Gino Ussi to take the win behind the Safety Car. He was followed by the Ginetta GT4 of Mike Mercer and Gary Smith being run by In 2 Racing and the Seat Leon Supercopa of the two Cunninghams.
Luck was to change for the Mustang pair though as the Seat Leon had made a pit stop outside of the window before the race end. This lead to a time penalty which stripped them of the final podium position and handing it to Wood and Jordan.
Meanwhile, the GT class were continuing on, joined by 4 of the production class cars who had elected to continue for the remaining two hours. This is within the rules so Owen Thomas, Ashley Woodman and Greg Noble in a second Seat Supercopa run by BPM Racing Limited continued, along with The BMW 130i run by Brunswick Automotive with Martin Parsons, Dominic Malone and Nick Gooch behind the wheel White and Lockie's BMW and the Team Jota with Mazda Motors MX5 of Owen Mildenhall and Mark Ticehurst.
Mazda Motors along with Team Jota had entered 2 MX5's in the Class two invitational group of the production championship for this race. This was to mark the 20th anniversary of the iconic MX5. The other Mazda driven by David Hooper and Jade Pavely had finished last out of the Production entries, but a good effort against the larger more powerful machines.
After three hours it was Still Gamski and Robinson in the lead and with a 2 lap advantage over the second placed Jones cousins. The Topcat Marcos of Huggins and Fiorentino were a further lap behind in third and three laps back were White and Lockie in the BMW and the Second Marcos of O'Neil and Harrison in fourth and fifth respectively.
With all endurance racing, reliability is Key and cars were starting to drop out with all manner of problems, however the three production class cars were still going strong. Notable retirements included the Azteca Porsche involved in the collision with Jim and Glynn Geddie, who retired after 129 laps, the Ginetta G50 GT4 of Ron and Piers Johnson retiring after 118 laps and the fantastic looking GTF Racing TVR Sagaris driven by Tim Hood, Fred Tonge and Darren Dowling, who stopped after 100 laps.
As the four hour mark approached, Wit Gamski driving the final leg had enough of a margin to ease off the pace to conserve the car, and after four hours 52 seconds and 177 laps, the chequered flag dropped as the Ferrari crossed the line to win its fifth race from five starts. By now, only ten cars remained from the 32 starters as the gruelling event had taken its toll.
Two laps behind the Gamski/Robinson Ferrari, the Porsche 997 of the Jones' crossed the line to take second place one lap ahead of the first Topcat Marcos to finish of Huggins and Fiorentino in third. The second Marcos took the fourth spot, followed by the only other Ferrari to finish, a 430 challenge of Paul Bailey and Andy Schultz. Sixth was the first of the production class cars, that of Paul White and Calum Lockie BMW and Seventh was the final GT car, the Orbital Sound Ltd Lotus Elise of Chris Headlam and Jamie Stanley.
The final three finishers were the remaining production class runnerrs who stayed on for the full four hours. These were headed by the plucky Mazda MX5 of Mildenhall and Ticehurst taking seventh overall followed by the Seat Supercopa of Thomas, Woodman and Noble and the Brunswick BMW 130i rounding out the ten finishers.
So as they head to Rockingham for the next round on August 28th Wit Gamski and Keith Robinson still head the GT Championship with Neil Huggins and Raphael Fiorentino still close behind whilst Gino Ussi now takes the Production Championship lead.