As It Happened: Avon Tyres British GT Championship – Snetterton: Race 1

by James Broomhead

This blog will be automatically refreshed throughout race 1 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton.

12:56Lee Mowle and George Murrells win GT4 for Optimum Motorsports, with Zoe Wenham and Dominic Evans second despite reports of the car being on fire on the final lap. Debutants Steve Chaplin and Phil Keen finish third, with Fannin and Hughes fourth in class.

12:55Charles Bateman and Matt Bell give the United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C victory on it’s British GT debut. Michael Caine holds off Jonny Adam for second, just by 0.450 seconds.

12:53Having got onto teh rear of Michael Cain Jonny Adam just ca’t get past. On the last lap now, he has only a few more places to take the place.

12:51Hughes takes the car back into the race and immediately inherits third place in GT4.

12:50Reports from Team WFR say it’s the catalytic converter on the G50 that’s failed – they’re trying to get out again to take the points for third place, which still lies with Alex Osborne’s car, which lies off at Riches.

12:47In Trackspeed’s battle for bragging rights Joe Osborne and Richard Westbrook have both got past Tim Harvey, the former BTCC driver down to seventh place.

12:46the gap between Caine and Adam is down to just 1.2 seconds with five minute – three laps probably – remaining

12:44The three Trackspeed Porsches are running fifth, sixth and seventh. Last year their two cars took each other out at Snetterton, so nervous times in the garage me thinks.

12:43Hughes comes into the pits – they won’t be crowned GT4 champions today – they needed to win both races.

12:42ten minutes left in this hour long race. Bell, leading by 16 seconds is in control, but Jonny Adam is charging towards the back of Michale caine’s Motorbase Porsche in what should become a fight for second place.

12:40Osborne’s off should give the final GT4 podium step to Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes for Team WFR, but Hughes is limping around – his last lap 15 seconds off the pace.

12:39And as I type that Alex has gone off in the Ginetta at Riches.

12:38George Murrells has take the GT4 lead from Dominic Evans. Alex Osborne is third in class, but 47 seconds behind Evans.

12:37Griffin has setled back to fourth place after his penaly ahead of Trackspeed drivers Tim Harvey and Joe Osborne. Ollie Millry has taken over the Ecurie Ecosse BMW in seventh with Richard Westbrook in eighth place.

12:35Another fastest lap for Adam, taking 7 tenths ut of Caine in second.

12:33Bell’s lead is now 17 second with Griffin’s departure, Adam is a further six seconds back behind Caine in third place

12:32Griffin’s in for his penalty. That promotes Michael Caine to second and Jonny Adam to third as the Aston man sets the fastest lap of the race.

12:31Matt Griffin won’t be in second for much longer – the MTECH driver has been given a 1 second stop-go for a short pitstop. Frustration of the title hopefuls, especially as Richard Westbrook is down in 8th in the car started by points lead Ashburn

12:29And despite my preditions Dominic Evans had held onto Zoe Wenham’s lead in GT4. He has 11 seconds over Murrells’ Optimum car, but Evans is the slower driver in the lead car.

12:27Bell’s lead is 12 seconds and starting driver Charles Bateman reports a long brake pedal in the McLaren.

12:27OK – so after the pitstops. Matt Bell leads Matt Griffin and Michael Cain. Jonny Adam fourth in the Aston Martin, Ollie Millroy fifth for Ecurie Ecosse.

12:25The Nissan is confirmed as a retirement – a fractured power steering circuit the legacy of hitting the rear of Ashburn’s Porsche.

12:24Now after fourteen laps Wenham pits – that should hand the GT4 lead to the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta of Lee Mowle and George Murrells.

12:24Things have not gone well for early GT4 leaders Team WFR – all sorts of chaos in the stop with a near miss in pitlane. They’re now fourth in class as Zoe Wenham leads, though she’s yet to stop.

12:22End of lap 13 – Bateman pits to hand over to Matt Bell and Alex Buncombe brings the Nissan GT-R back into the pits – things look bad for the Brands Hatch winners

12:21lap 13 – and 30 minutes – complete and Bateman stays out for another lap

12:20Cameron has beaten Perfetti out of the pits. Mardenborugh’s RJN Nissan in for a longer stop – possibly some damage from a tuch with Ashburn in that battle for second.

12:19Perfetti, Cameron, Howard, McCaig, Mardenborough, Tandy, Ashburn all pit at the time by the pits – Bateman stays out.

12:17And now the pitstops begin – expect early stops as team swaps their gentlemen drivers for their pro teammates.

12:17Mardenborough crosses the line in sixth, Ashburn ninth. Perfetti has second, Cameron third and Andrew Howard fourth.

12:16Change for second. Perfetti takes second, Mardenborough and Ashburn shuffled back through the infield section.

12:13The was a slow lap by McCaig, 2:01.179 – giving  as much as four seconds to those around him.

12:12Lap nine – 20 minutes down, 40 to go and Bateman leads by nearly 15 seconds from the fight fro second of Ashburn, Mardenborough – up to third – Perfetti and Duncan Cameron. Alasdair McCaig has dropped to sixth

12:11Perfetti looks again at Riches on lap nine. He’s in danger of losing places to McCaig’s BMW and Jann Mardenborough in the RJN Nissan.

12:09Ashburn has to defend from Daniele Perfetti into Riches to start lap eight, Ashburn keeping second place, though he now lead a line of four cars.

12:08Howard spun the Aston at Montreal – that’s the hairpin at Turn 2 if you’re unfamilair with ‘new’ Snetterton

12:07We’ve lost Andrew Howard momentarily, he’s fallen down to seventh place, David Ashburn taking back second place

12:05Jordan Witt pits in the GT3 Invitation Class Chevron GR8 – there’ll be no herics from that this race.

12:05After five laps the advantage at the top is 7.6 seconds

12:04Bateman’s lead, by the way, is up to 5.848 seconds

12:03After ten minutes of race Bateman leads Howard and Ashburn. Daniele Perfetti is fourth, Alasdair McCaig fith in the repaired Ecurie Ecosse BMW. Jann Mardenborough is sixth, Duncan Cameron, Steve Tandy, Jon Minshaw and Marco Attard complete the top 10

12:01Bateman is flying – two best sectors overall for the lead car setting a fastest lap of 1:53.731 with a whopping 3.2 second lead over Andrew Howard

11:59Charles Bateman – unseen – has taken the lead from Howard to give the McLaren its first British GT laps in the lead

11:57Perfetti, post minor off is fourth and Jody Fannin leads GT4 for Team WFR

11:56Andrew Howard take the lead out of Murrays and the Beechdean Aston Martin leads at the end of lap one, Bateman second, Ashburn third

11:56Daniele Perfetti runs wide out of second place at Oggies on the infield section, David Ashburn escaping into an early lead.

11:55He gets his grid slot back and races across the line fourth to start the race

11:52Charles Bateman in the United Autosports McLaren strggles away from the line to start the green flag lap

11:44The Avon Tyres British GT field is out on their out lap to form up on the grid, and I’m glad to say the weather today at Snetterton is brighter than in the picture at the top of this live blog. So far.

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