Graham Davidson and Maxime Martin claimed their first British GT wins after a controlled drive saw the Jetstream Motorsport Aston Martin take the chequered flag ahead of a close battle for second.
Starting second, Davidson kept a cool head in his opening stint and despite dropping back to fifth at one point, benefitted from a clash between the Nissan of Jordan Witt and the Bentley of Ian Loggie. He then took the lead when pole-sitter Flick Haigh spun at turn five, and the Ram Racing Mercedes served a stop/go penalty.
As the green flag dropped, the race got off to an action-packed start when Mark Farmer’s TF Sport Aston Martin was forced on to the grass on the run down to Eau Rouge. The subsequent damage caused the Aston Martin to catch fire and drop oil on the circuit, while the chain reaction saw Andrew Howard’s Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage collect significant radiator damage before the Safety Car was deployed.
Remon Vos was adjudged to have caused the incident and was forced to serve a 60-second stop/go penalty, which dropped the #30 car from second to the back of GT3.
After racing resumed, Witt was awarded a 20-second stop/go penalty for his part in the clash with Loggie at the final chicane, and that moved the Team Parker Racing Bentley of Rick Parfitt Jnr up to second behind Davidson. Loggie would also suffer a drive-through penalty for track limit violations.
Further back, the Barwell Motorsport duo of Sam De Haan in the #69 Lamborghini and Jon Minshaw in the #33 Huracan clashed at the hairpin, with De Haan adjudged to have been at fault and given a 10-second stop/go penalty. Minshaw recovered to seventh before the pit window opening.
Ahead of the Barwell Lamborghini came Johnston in the #17 Aston Martin and the Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG of Richard Neary, who had stormed through the field from 14th to fifth. Fourth belonged to the ERC Sport machine of Lee Mowle, who had also made up places from 10th on the grid.
The action-packed first half of the race continued when the pros climbed aboard, starting with Adam Christodoulou’s ABBA Mercedes-AMG catching fire. The Safety Car was once again deployed for a lengthy stint but, once the order was settled, Maxime Martin continued to lead in the Jetstream Aston Martin from Ryan Ratcliffe’s #1 Bentley and Yelmer Buurman’s ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG.
Derek Johnston handed over to Marco Sørensen in fourth, ahead of Jonny Adam’s Aston Martin and Phil Keen’s Lamborghini.
Martin duly took the chequered flag 8s clear of Ratcliffe who held on to second in the face of significant pressure from Sørensen, Adam and Buurman, who was shuffled down to fifth while attempting to pass the Bentley. That subsequently became fourth post-race when TF Sport’s #17 Aston Martin was handed a 30s penalty for making avoidable contact earlier in the race.
“We didn’t come into this weekend expecting anything like that. We’ve been close to wins a couple of times this year, but a few mistakes and silly things have tripped us up along the way, which is really frustrating”, said Davidson.
“I was terrified something was going to happen, and at one point Maxime thought he had a puncture, but we think it was just pick-up on the wheel. Ryan drove an amazing race to keep those other guys behind him, but it took the pressure off Maxime and for him. Hopefully, it was an enjoyable second half of the race.”
Fifth went to Minshaw and Keen who finished ahead of Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod’s Team Parker Bentley, which also served an early drive-through penalty, as well as TF Sport’s demoted Aston Martin.
Vos and his Sunoco Fastest Lap Award-winning co-driver Tom Onslow-Cole completed the top-eight ahead of Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker’s Barwell Lamborghini and Jordan Witt and Struan Moore’s RJN Nissan.
Having been fastest in the Am qualifying session on Saturday and taking his first podium of the year in Sunday’s race, the Blancpain Driver of the Weekend award was won by Rick Parfitt Jnr.