Minshaw and Keen Extend Title Lead with Dominant Race One Victory

Minshaw and Keen cruised to race one victory. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen extended their advantage atop the British GT standings with an emphatic race one victory, whilst an inspired performance from last to first saw Ebor GT‘s Charlie Fagg and Matthew Graham claim the win in GT4.

A success penalty hampered the #31 Bentley‘s progress, with much of the race’s opening half masked by two Century Motorsport-induced safety cars.

A crowded start saw Rick Parfitt Jnr and Jack Mitchell‘s #24 Macmillan AMR Aston Martin tussle for the lead into La Source, but an inspired double overtake from Piti Bhirombhakdi saw the Kessel Racing debutant muscle into an early lead through Les Combes.

An early race spin for Derek Johnston in race one at Silverstone comprised the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin‘s race challenge, and another spin for the Am driver through piff-paff saw the current GT3 alongside champion alongside Jonny Adam shuffled to the back of the field.

However, the race was brought to an early stand still through a safety car when Steve Fresle slammed the #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 into the barriers at the top of Raidillon on lap two.

A high-speed smash for Steve Fresle brought out the first safety car. (Credit: Connor Jackson/TCF)

Seconds before the yellow flags waved, Parfitt Jnr reclaimed top spot in GT3, whilst Ciaran Haggerty battled ahead of GT4 pole-sitter Will Tregurtha‘s #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta for the class lead.

Century Motorsports’ woes were doubled on the restart, with Nick Jones#66 Team Parker Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR clambering onto the roof of Anna Walewska‘s #111 Ginetta at La Source, sparking a quick return for the safety car.

Walewska and Jones’ crash on the restart caused drama. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

The return to racing saw most of the field peel into the pitlane for the obligatory driver change at the halfway mark of a stop-start race.

A bunched field under safety car conditions hampered the leader significantly, with 10 agonising extra success penalty seconds for the leading #31 Bentley following on from Silverstone 500 victory saw Seb Morris emerge from the pitlane in sixth place.

Success seconds for second-placed James Littlejohn‘s Macmillan Aston Martin saw Keen inherit the race lead in the #33 Lamborghini despite entering the pits in fourth.

Keen quickly bolted away at the front, opening up a 7 second gap from the #17 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Stuart Leonard, whilst a sensational pitstop period for Tolman Motorsport‘s Joe Osborne saw the race 2 pole-sitter dueling with Haggerty for the race win in GT4 despite starting in the midfield.

Stuart Middleton gradually fell into the clutches of David Pittard in a battle between the two GT4 championship rivals for the final podium spot. A swift manoeuvre from the #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta G55 abruptly bumped Middleton from the top three, with both looking to capitalise on the retirement of fellow title challenger Adam Mackay.

New driver pairing Adam Hatfield and Benjamin Wallace suffered a drive-through penalty for a pit-lane infringement, with the #70 Kornely Racing Mercedes receiving an identical reprimand in the waning moments of the race.

An incredible scrap saw second to eight in GT3 separated by only five seconds in the closing stages of the race, with Carlo van Dam‘s Ferrari and Patrick Kujala clashing for third late on until the latter received a drive-through penalty – seeing Callum Macleod inherit fourth in GT3 for Bentley.

A pulsating GT4 battle was struck by drama late on, with race leader Osborne’s McLaren 570S crawling into the pitlane heading onto the final lap with a front left puncture.

Haggerty inherited a late lead, before being sensationally denied the win by a late-surging #60 Ebor GT Maserati GT MC of Graham – the latter rising dramatically through the field from the back of the grid to claim a stunning victory.

Haggerty suffered further problems and was bundled off the podium by Pittard and Middleton before the chequered flag, as Keen stormed to a dominant race one victory and extended the #33 Lamborghini’s championship lead over the #31 Bentley to 21 points.

A stunning surge saw Ebor GT win from the back of the grid. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)