British GT

Keen/Balon Take Race 2 Oulton Park British GT Honours After Safety Car Finish

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Credit: JEP

Phil Keen and Adam Balon took victory in the second race of the opening round of the Intelligent Money British GT Series in a race that finished under safety car.

Keen, who had taken his third Pro pole position at Oulton within three years, lead the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan from the start and handed over a comfortable 7.5 second margin for Am driver Balon to hold until the race was neutralised.

Barwell also celebrated a 1-2 result as the Silver Cup entry of Sandy Mitchell/Rob Collard finished second as the last 20 minutes of the race was run under safety car after the marshalls were unable to clear a three car accident in time to resume racing.

Compared to Race 1 where all the Silver Cup entries dominated, Race 2 saw a mixed up grid with Pro/Am and Silver Cup entries running together.

Barwell Lamborghini locked out the front row with the Keen/ Ballon #72 Huracan leading Mitchell/Collard #78 Huracan from the start.

Local driver and former Oulton Park instructor Marcus Clutton in the JMH Auto Lamborghini got a dream start to vault the two RAM Racing Mercedes to grab third behind the two Barwell cars.

Race one winner Michael O’Brien had a terrible start to the race in the Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren being forced out wide on the run to the hairpin and dropping to the back of the GT3 field. They managed to recover to finish seventh.

Clutton was unable to challenge the Barwell pair as he was busy fending off Yelmer Buurman in the RAM Racing Mercedes, but by the time Buurman was passed the Barwell cars were 15 seconds clear.

With the Barwell cars in a race of their own Keen stayed out as late as possible and was able to provide Balon with a 7.5 second gap over Collard.

Shortly after Balon emerged from the pits the safety car was scrambled after the Team Parker Bentley of Nick Jones clipped Connor O’Brien‘s GT4 Aston Martin into Cascades, forcing the Aston into the gravel and the Bentley to cross the circuit and pull up at Knickerbrook.

The accident also saw the retirement of Angus Fender’s 2 Seas Motorsport McLaren after a stray wheel from the Aston hit the rear of the McLaren causing it to spin out at the hairpin.

With three cars littering the circuit and few vehicles available to tow then away, the marshalls were unable to clear the track in time and the race finished anti-climatically under the safety car.

It was a disappointment for Collard as the ex BTCC racer was unable to mark his British GT debut with a victory as he would fancy his chances against the Bronze rated Balon.

Yet a second place and a fourth place in race 1 is a very good return for his British GT debut weekend.

Ian Loggie had taken over from Buurman and emerged from the pits in third place but was then hit by a stop go 2 second penalty for a pit shop infringement.

As they were unable to take this penalty, they received a time penalty dropping the team to ninth, allowing team-mates Sam De Haan/Patrick Kujala to take third.

The Silver Cup McLarens who had dominated race 1 were mired in the pack and the long safety car period curtailed their opportunity for their Silver drivers to make up places, with Jordan Witt/Jack Mitchell 2 Seas Motorsport Entry being the highest placed finishing fourth.

In GT4 Euan Hankey/Mia Flewitt’s Balfe Motorsport McLaren took victory after a race long duel with pole sitter Jamie Caroline/Daniel Vaughan in the #97 TF Sport Aston Martin.

Euan Hankey and Mia Flewitt took GT4 honours. Credit: JEP

Hankey had taken the lead from Caroline at the start but by lap three the positions had reversed.

The pitstops saw Flewitt and Vaughan again swap places but Flewitt had a healthy margin over her pursuers but that was eradicated by the safety car.

Yet due to the continuing safety car period Flewitt was able to cross the line to take victory and became the first female British GT winner since Flick Haigh in 2018.

There was a double podium for the Collard family as his son Jordan and Patrik Matthiesen in the HHC Motorsport McLaren secured third place, their second podium finish of the weekend, after coming second in race one.

The Speedworks Toyota Supra endured another difficult race serving a 10 second stop go penalty for contact with the Matt Griffin/Duncan Cameron Ferrari which resulted in their retirement.

The car then pulled off into retirement at the half hour mark.

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