British GT

Porsche Pairing Brave Rain For Oulton Win

4 Mins read
Richard Westbrook leads in the early - and wet - laps (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)

Richard Westbrook leads in the early - and wet - laps (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)

After narrowly missing out a podium in the day's first race David Ashburn and Richard Westbrook made the most of pole position by winning the second 60-minute race of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship day at Oulton Park.

In the worst of the day's wet weather Westbrook began to grow his advantage even before the field had taken the rolling start, taking the green flag a car length clear of Jonny Adam starting the Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 from second place. Adam's slow start – at least compared to those around him – dropped him to fourth place at the end of the opening lap after Matt Griffin and Allan Simonsen had taken their respective Ferrari 458s past to start chasing down Westbrook.

Despite the rain few drivers were caught out by conditions. Godfrey Jones was the most high profile man to fall foul taking to the Old Hall grass on two consecutive laps falling to a lowly seventeenth. Another car to lose time early on – though not because of the conditions – was the RJN Motorsport Nissan. Starting driver Alex Buncombe pitted when a tyre lot its tread, the stop losing the GT-R a lap to the leaders.

In contrast making forward progress through the field were the trio of cars that started at the rear of the pack after troubled qualifying sessions. Nick Tandy and Adam Wilcox played no part in Saturday's session while Matt Bell was stripped of his time after passing under yellows during the session.

Tandy's Motorbase Porsche led the charge moving further and further clear of Bell and Wilcox as the pair started to battle for position. Wilcox eventually overcame the Audi driver, though not before Tandy had driven clear towards the bottom of the top ten.

Aided by the inter-Ferrari battle behind Richard Westbrook pulled clear in the lead, the margin only starting to contract again when Simonsen passed Griffin shortly before the pit window opened.

Bell – one of the last to take over a car for the opening race's second stint – was one of the first to surrender control in the second race, pitting at the end of lap 14 for Charles Bateman to take over.

With the 'gentlemen' drivers due to drive the second stint in the race most of the front runners waiting until late in the ten minute window to pit – Westbrook, Simonsen, Griffin and fourth place man Tim Harvey all pitting on the same lap before departing the pits in the same order despite the longer pitstop levied on Simonsen's car after their race one podium.

Thanks to Simonsen's late efforts Westbrook had pitted with only a three second lead but a slow out lap from Hector Lester – shipping over twenty seconds to the Trackspeed car – while falling back towards Duncan Cameron in the MTECH machine with both backing up towards Jon Minshaw in the no.33 Trackspeed Porsche.

MTECH Ferrari 458 (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)

Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron scored a second podium of the day (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)

With Minshaw content to play the waiting game behind the more British GT experienced pair it was up to Cameron to make a move on Lester for second place, which he did at Old Hall with just two minutes remaining. The MTECH driver lunged down the inside but made contact with Lester around the right hander, propelling him into a series of spins towards the tyre barrier.

Though able to continue he fell out of the points in twelfth moving Minshaw and Harvey onto the final step of the podium.

Motorbase's two Porsches sandwiched the United Autosports Audi, Bateman's speed in comparison to the drivers he was up against helping him salvage points from an otherwise dismal weekend for the team.

Bateman's final act on his second half clamber up the order to pass Steve Parish in the car Nick Tandy had started from the back of the grid.

Hetherington brothers Benji and Freddie finished seventh ahead of the third Trackspeed car – that of Steve Tandy and Joe Osborne – the PreciSpark Mercedes and race one winners Ecurie Ecosse.

The third car to make early progress from the rear fell back in the second stint after Phil Burton spun, finishing thirteenth behind Simonsen and Lester's Rosso Verde car and the RJN Nissan after Jann Mardenborough had shone in the second half of the race, running on the leader's pace, eventually unlapping himself on Ashburn.

Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes clinched a second GT4 win of the day, though this race they had to come from behind after Phil Glew turned his class pole into an early lead ahead of Hughes. However, after both pitted on the same lap Fannin made short work of Indian Sailesh Bilosetti in the Lotus to take the class lead.

Century Motorsports Ginetta G50 (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)

Mike Simpson and Zoe Wenham claimed third in GT4, despite Wenham completing her stint without a wiper (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)

Stand-in co-driver Mike Simpson and Zoe Wenham completed the class podium, taking the position when Marco Attard in the second Lotus Evora was called in to serve a six second stop-go penalty after not observing the minimum pitstop time. Wenham, driving the second stint in her British GT debut completed the race without a windscreen wiper to be greeted by cheers from her Century Motorsport team on the podium.

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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