Barwell Grab Back to Back Victories at Snetterton

by Nick Smith

The final race of the weekend for the 2019 British GT Championship meeting at Snetterton has been claimed spectacularly by Barwell Motorsport and the #72 Lamborghini Huracan. The crew pulled off a rare feat, taking two victories in the same weekend, with success seconds in both races based on previous results.

Phil Keen set the ground work, holding a very quick Nikki Thiim at close range until the pit stops, before handing over to Adam Balon who caught and passed the #2 Aston Martin in short order. The biggest challenge for Balon was his team mate Sam de Haan who scythed his way though traffic on the way to second place and finished the race just 0.538 seconds off the pace.

Lemmer Praises Gifted Am’s.

Both drivers are relatively new to GT3, de Haan holding a year in class while Balon graduated from GT4 this season. Team boss Mark Lemmer had nothing but praise for the pair who drove exceptionally to seal a 1-2 for the team.

“They’ve both got a really good attitude to their racing,” he told us. “Both are very different but they are both working very hard to improve their technique and their race-craft. There is one thing you cant teach, that’s handling the pressure and today they handled the pressure very well.

The final podium spot for GT3 was taken by Shaun Balfe who secured the strong start handed him by co-driver Rob Bell and capitolised, passing Mark Farmer and building a 9.794 second advantage in the dying 20 minutes of the race. The podium visit is reward for the Balfe Motorsport team who missed both races at Oulton Park due to an electrical issue and retired from race 1 with a puncture causing damage to the McLaren 720S GT3.

For Farmer it wasn’t his greatest race, he took over the car with a 10 second advantage due to success seconds in the pit for the Keen/Balon Lamborghini. Within 7 laps the #72 machine had eroded that advantage and completed the move at Williams. Two laps later de Haan repeated the move and a lap later Balfe did too. His only saving grace was the #47 TF Sport Aston Martin at the hands of Graham Davidson who passed Richard Neary for fifth place, otherwise it is likely the Aston Martin would have fallen further down the order.

Credit: BritishGT.com/Jakob Ebrey Photography

GT4: Despair for Team Parker Racing Gifts Win to Tolman Motorsport.

In GT4 the result of the race doesn’t tell the story at all. From the drop of the green it was a demonstration from Scott Malvern and Nick Jones. The Team Parker Racing duo built a margin of over 35 seconds through the first 55 minutes of the race, setting the standard which none of their class rivals could match.

A tyre failure in the dying minutes of the race for Nick Jones dropped the car 18 places as Jones limped the car back to the pits and unfortunately took the chequered flag in the pit lane so finished a lap down on the class winner. Scott Malvern can offer himself a little consolation with the fact that he is now the holder of both the qualifying and race lap records after his 1:58.125 broke the existing record for the class at Snetterton.

That left Tolman Motorsport to take a 3.313 second win over the #97 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 of  Tom Canning and Ashley Hand. A result which looks fairly convincing without the 35 second deficit to the lead in class with which the Lewis Proctor and Jordan Collard driven machine started its penultimate lap.

HHC Motorsport took third with Callum Pointon and Dean MacDonald despite a 10 second stop and go penalty for a short pit stop in the final ten minutes of the race.

Credit: BritishGT.com/Jakob Ebrey Photography

Cleaner Than Before, but Still Not Clean.

Again, the story of the race really was driving standards. With a first race which saw nearly every car on the 36 car entry carrying damage at the flag, its easy no ignore that race 2 was still a messy affair in places.

We’ve already covered the stop and go for the #57 for a short stop, it was one of many across the two classes. Mainly though there were spins and retirements throughout along with some very sub-par overtakes.

The move from Tom Gamble in the #9 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 on Andrew Howard is a case in point. A dive from far to far back at Nelson saw the BMW leap over the sausage curb and cannon the #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 of Beechdean AMR out of the way. This move wasn’t punished.

Neither was Dominic Paul who pretty much shoved the #66 off at Corum while in a battle with Oliver Wilkinson‘s Optimum Motorsport run GT3 Aston. The #3 BMW M6 was a constant bumper and spinner in round 3.

Rick Parfitt Jr stuck his JRM run Bentley Continental GT3 into the tyres at Murray’s, causing damage which would have forced retirement if the race had been just five minutes longer. The former champion limped the #31 machine to the line and promptly broke down as soon as he passed the chequered flag.

Mechanical retirements came from Track Focused who had a suspension failure on their KTM X-Bow and parked after just 9 laps. The failure could have been related to the #43 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 which retired with front and rear damage out on the track.

Finally, #35 Optimum Aston Martin fell victim to #19 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang as Ben Devlin nurfed Jack Butel onto the grass at Brundle. The Aston Martin would recover to 30th place while the #19 would finish in 26th.

The championship now heads to Silverstone, for the series’ flagship event, the Silverstone 500. With just 3 weeks to prepare, or lick their wounds, the longest race of the year comes very quickly.

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