Michael Symons held off Adam Hayes to win the 90 minute race for the Britcar Production Cup on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, becoming the fourth different winner in the first four rounds of what is proving to be a competitive category in its first year.
Driving single handed in the no.11 BMW Symons had to wait until the sequence of mandatory pitstops had been completed to take the lead. Early in the race Symons had had to follow the SEAT of polesitter David Nye and the Class Two leading Ginetta G40, piloted by Ginetta GT Supercup driver Carl Breeze.
The early laps had Symons passed Peter Cunningham for third position, but once the mandatory pitstops began – Symons taking the opportunity to pit under the first of two safety car periods, brought out just before the half hour mark for a car stuck in the gravel. A trouble-free visit to the pits meant Symons led those who had pitted from Adam Hayes, having taken over from co-driver Mark Radcliffe in the lone Intersport BMW in the race.
Symons' standing as best of the stoppers, down at the foot of the top ten overall, owed much to the problems suffered by the father and son Nye pairing. David had given up the lead and handed the car off to son Rex after just 27 minutes of racing, but any chance of victory soon evaporated with a second pitstop compounded by a whopping 70 second penalty for not meeting the required minimum time during their second pit visit.
With Peter Cunningham and Breeze the last of the front runners to pit Symons assumed the lead with Rory Byrant the unlikely driver in second overall, running a long stint for Class Three outfit Piranha Motorsport in their Ginetta G40.
After the race went back to green after the second safety car period the faster Class One and Two cars proved too much for Bryant as he fell down the order before eventually pitting to pass the car to Simon Mason. The stop gave Class Three lead to the brothers – Edward and Harry – Cockill in their Honda Civic. After starting more than 15 seconds behind Harry Cockill, driving the second stint in the HE Racing car, Mason sliced the class lead to just over two seconds at the fall of the checkered flag as the top two in class finished eighth and tenth overall, the delayed Nye SEAT finding space between them to finish ninth.
With the Nye's victory challenge over the honour of best SEAT fell to Cunninghams Peter and Mark. The Snetterton winners were on course for at least another podium result in their SG Racing Supercopa, passing Michael Cox for third in a battle between two of the other father and son teams on the grid.
However, in the closing minutes Mark Cunningham – the younger of that pairing – was forced to slow with a mechanical problem with the car, letting Cox through into third place. Cunningham also fell behind Tom Howard in the Ginetta started by Breeze as the duo comfortably won Class Two over Nigel Ainge and Andrew Jordan, the BTCC front runner stepping in for father Mike, driving in the Blancpain Endurance Championship at Silverstone the same weekend.
Though they stood next to the leader on the podium the Coxs finished more than a lap down on Symons and the Intersport pair. Hayes appeared to have the measure of Symons as the pair raced around slower traffic, the lead expanding and contracting according as each man caught a back-marker at an inopportune moment, but Hayes was never so distant that a Symons mistake would not go unpunished.
That Hayes had the pace to beat Symons was proven but, fortunately for the leader, only once he had dropped 11 seconds back after an error on track. Hayes pulled the gap back to just under seven seconds but the checkered flag had already fallen to Symons, completing the neat total of 100 laps.