Witt Gamski and Keith Robinson's amazing win streak in the Britcar Championships continues as they took their sixth win from as many races at Rockingham on Saturday.
25 cars turned up to do battle at the Corby circuit in the two and a half hour joint GT and Production race but unfortunately 24 cars took to the grid for the afternoons main event. This was thanks to the Lotus Elise of Jamie Stanley suffering engine failure after jus for laps of qualifying having set a very respectable time. It was better fortunes for Aaron Scott and Arwyn Williams in the JMH Racing Ferrari 430 GT3 as they took pole position in the mornings qualifying session ahead of Championship leaders Gamski and Robinson who would line up alongside them in second position. Third place would be filled by the Topcat Racing Marcos Mantis of Neil Huggins and Raphael Fiorentino alongside the Jones's of Morgan, Philip and Gareth in the Porsche 997. Highest of the production class runners was Kevin Clarke and Wayne Gibson in their Intesport Racing BMW M3.
The Rolling start took place in dry and breezy conditions with some speculation that rain was due later in the race. Aaron Scott converted his pole into the race lead after the hairpin but Witt Gamski was crowded out and lost places in the middle section of the lap and crossed the line for the first time in sixth place. An off for Wayne Gibson in the production BMW had dropped him down to 21st place whilst the Ford Mustang driven by Mike Jordan was to retire on the first lap with gearbox failure.
By lap five Scott had opened a lead of almost six seconds over second placed Michael Millard in his Prosport and it was Gino Ussi, Production class championship leader heading the class. Gibson had by now moved up to 13th and was flying after his early off.
Another retirement came from the TVR Sagaris driven by Steve Glynn. Having lost 15 laps after coming in on the third lap, he was then to retire at the mid-point of the race.
Calum Lockie in his BMW GTR had taken second place from Millard which was starting to slip back into the chasing pack whilst Gibson's recovery was continuing. He had made it into the GT pack and was pushing the Marcos Mantis of Owen O'Neill. On lap 12 the safety car was out as Gino Ussi hit the barriers at Tarzan thanks to a brake problem. Having recovered, there was a big task to get the BMW back out on track, but when they finally did, they managed to meet the race distance criteria of 40% to claim points.
With just over half an hour gone Mark Cunningham had made his first stop in the Seat Leon which had given the production class lead to another Seat with Simon Blanckley who was holding of Gibson who was still running well. Soon a rattling engine block meant retirement for Millard in the Prosport who decided it was best to stop before the engine blew up.
With an hour and three quarters to go, the Mantis of Huggins came in to swap with Fiorentino and soon after, Blanckley stopped to swap with Gary Robertshaw. However a refuelling infringement led to a drive through penalty for the pair.
The suggestion of rain appearing was correct as drizzle was starting to dampen the track and was beginning to catch people out. O'Neill's Mantis had taken a trip off track and suffered damage which the Topcat team had to repair before team boss Warren Gilbert could take over driving duties as usual driver Henry Fletcher was injured.
The safety car had reappeared to recover the Ginetta G50 of Piers and Ron Johnson which was stranded out on the circuit, and this gave a lot of drivers a good opportunity to make stops. After four laps the safety car was in and racing was under way again. So at the halfway point the Ferrari of Scott and Williams was a full lap ahead of the Azteca Porsche 996 of the Spanish pair of Javier Morcillo and Manuel Cintrano in second just ahead of the White and Lockie BMW. Gamski and Robinson were three laps down in sixth. Clarke and Gibson were now leading the production class and were in fourth place overall and 2 laps ahead of their nearest rivals, the Cunningham's in their Seat Leon Supercopa.
Whilst the track started to dry Morcillo and Lockie were battling it out for second place but behind, Robinson had started to make a move. He had passed the Jones' Porsche to take fifth and had set the fastest lap of the race, a 1 minute 22.927s.
An hour to go and Lockie was in for new front rubber and Gibson had bought in the BMW to change with Kevin Clarke. Unfortunately Clarke was soon back in the pits as he was caught speeding whilst heading out on track and was given a drive through penalty. With 50 minutes to go, Morcillo was in to hand over the Porsche to Cintrano to finish off the race.
Pit stops and the pace of Robinson had bought him up to second place now but was still two laps behind the JMH 430 who was refuelling in the pitlane. Arwyn Williams had taken the wheel for the final stint and was back out in the lead. But it was short l wheel nut had come loose and as a result, Williams had to bring the three wheeled Ferrari to a stop on the inside of turn 1. This had gifted the lead to Gamski and Robinson and the Jones' Porsche was now up to second.
After a brief safety car period to recover the stricken Ferrari, the field were unleashed with 30 minutes to go. But soon after, heavy rain saw almost all of the remaining runners dash to the pits. Not Lockie though who seemed to be running well on intermediate tyres and had taken a 22 second lead. Philip Jones was too keen exiting the pit lane and spun leaving the Porsche stranded on track at the exit of turn one. Lockie's lead was diminished with the appearance of the safety car again and now had the rejoined Ferrari of Arwyn Williams and Keith Robinson both right behind him. There were a bunch of Production class cars in front including the BMW 130i, probably the least powerful car in the race, driven by Martin Parsons.
With the Safety car heading in it was going to be an interesting restart as everyone was pilling up trying not to pass until the start line. It was a clean getaway from everyone as the GT cars roared past Parsons. Robinson made the most of his chances and had taken the lead at Yentwood.
With just ten minutes remaining, the Ford Escort Turbo of the Cox family had aquaplaned in the heavy rain and broke a wishbone. Officials had by now seen enough and bought out the chequered flag early to give the MJC Ferrari team its sixth win and ensured their 100 percent win record remained intact.
Calum Lockie had bought the BMW home in second with a great drive, and in third place it was the leading production class car, Clarke and Gibson's BMW E46. The Spanish pair of Morcillo and Cintrano came home fourth, but third in the GT Class ahead of the Marcos Mantis of Huggins and Fiorentino. The second Topcat Mantis had a torrid time as O'Neill and Gilbert finished 18th.
Afterwards Witt Gamski said 'This is not my favourite track, it doesn't suit our car, but this was really Keith's race – he made it for us today'
1- GT1 GAMSKI/ROBINSON Ferrari F430 GTC
2- GT2 WHITE/LOCKIE BMW M3 E46
3- P1 CLARKE/GIBSON BMW M3
4- GT3 MORCILLO/CINTRANO Porsche 996 GT3
5- GT2 HUGGINS/FIORENTINO Marcos Mantis GT3
6- P2 FAGG/BYFORD Honda Accord
7- P1 CUNNINGHAM/CUNNINGHAM Seat Leon Supercopa
8- P1 HOGARTH/HOGARTH/TAYLOR SuperCopa
9- P2 LAWSON/WILDS BMW 320i E46
10- GT2 JONES/JONES/JONES Porsche 997
11- P2 DAY/PHIPPS BMW M3 E36
12- P1 ROBERTSHAW/BLANCKLEY Seat Leon Sport
13- GT2 SCOTT/WILLIAMS Ferrari 430 GT3
14- P2 GREEN/ADAMS Seat Cupra 2008
15- P2 PARSONS/MALONE BMW 130i
16- P1 THOMAS/WOODMAN Seat SupaCopa
17- P2 COX/COX Ford Escort Turbo
18- GT3 O’NEILL/GILBERT/FLETCHER Marcos Mantis GT3
19- GT1 HOOD/TONGE/DOWLING TVR Sagaris