Sam Neary and the Team Abba Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 retired from the lead on the penultimate lap of the race, allowing Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton to inherit the lead from second position. It’s now a four-way fight for the championship as we head to the final round at Donington in October. Ian Loggie remains favourite, but the #4 2 Seas Motorsport of Lewis Williamson and James Cottingham, the #77 Enduro Motorsport McLaren and the #72 Barwell Lamborghini of Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon are all still in contention.
Matt Topham and Darren Turner extended their GT4 championship lead after winning this afternoon with Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding finishing a close second in the Steller Motorsport Audi R8.
Richard and Sam Neary were well on course to secure their second Intelligent Money British GT Championship victory at Brands Hatch before the fuel pump failed on the second to last lap. As a result, the Enduro Motorsport McLaren of Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton took the lead with 90 seconds to run and now move on to the Donnington Decider with an outside chance of the championship.
The first stint of the race was heavily interrupted by Safety Cars which stopped the #4 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes from building a gap to minimise the impact of the 15-second Success Penalty they would have to serve in the pits. With 3 separate Safety Car periods, the 2 Seas car ended up pitting just in front of the Enduro Motorsport McLaren and the Team Abba Mercedes. Team Abba took the lead on exiting the pits and with Sam Neary now at the wheel, all he had to do was hold on until the end of the race.
Team Abba and Enduro Motorsport ran nose to tail for the final 50 minutes of the race, Clutton tried on numerous attempts to make a move stick, but Sam Neary handled the pressure extremely well and maintained a good pace to hold off the McLaren. Unfortunately for Neary, the fuel pump failed as he rounded out of Clearways on to the Start/Finish straight for the penultimate lap. With Ian Loggie down in seventh place, Clutton and Tillbrook needed the win to keep the championship alive. Clutton completed the final two laps with one eye on the charging Sandy Mitchell who was unable to close the gap enough to challenge by the end.
“It was a lucky win today, but it’s motorsport and that’s how it goes. It’s a cruel game! Morgan did a sterling job and had we not had all of the Safety Cars we would never have been jumped in the stops. Sam Neary did a mega job, I didn’t have an answer to him. Enduro were seamless all weekend and we are now back in the title fight, albeit a little further back, but its British GT, anything can happen…” – Marcus Clutton, Enduro Motorsport
Barwell looked to be out of contention early on as Adam Balon and Ian Loggie collided at Surtees, spinning the Lamborghini around and causing some damage to the Ram Racing Mercedes splitter and steering system. Both continued however, but Nick Halstead ended up beached in the gravel whilst trying to avoid the collision, this caused the second safety car period.
Loggie rejoined the race in sixth whilst Balon dropped to ninth. However, Balon managed to get back into the top six by the stops. Success Penalties for Ram Racing and 2 Seas, a long side the five second penalty for Century for changing both drivers meant Mitchell joined the race in third place but was unable to advance further until Team Abba suffered their mechanical failure at the end of the race. Century Motorsport also benefited from Team Abba’s misfortune, they claimed their maiden British GT podium in the M4 GT3 in the hands of championship rooking Henry Dawes and previous championship regular Alexander Sims. With all the safety cars and their previous race Success Penalty, 2 Seas could only manage fourth overall.
7TSix McLaren had a relatively uneventful race on their way to fifth place overall, apart from Mia Flewitt’s battle with Adam Balon before the pit window opened. Euan Hankey passed Callum Macleod just after the pit window closed and settled down into the stint.
Loggie now heads to Donington with a 24.5-point lead over Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell, James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson are 8.5 points behind whilst Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton remain the outsiders, with a mathematical chance, they’re 34 points off the lead with 37.5 available for the winning at Donington.
Newbridge Motorsport scored their second win of the championship, a result which could be decisive in this year’s championship battle. The top 3 teams went into the weekend with a 2-point split and with three Safety Cars before the pit window, the race remained tight and closely packed during the first stint, and with the Pro-Am crews spending less time in the pits than the Silver Cup entrants, the results were looking stacked in their favour.
Steller Motorsport got a strong start from pole position and had built a significant gap by the first safety car which was thrown to recover Ed McDermott’s stricken Mercedes AMG GT4 which the team had spent all night rebuilding after the Free Practice 1 incident. When the race restarted, Williams got a good start but had Jamie Orton in the Team Parker Porsche, hot on his heals with Moh Ritson in the Paddock McLaren, Tom Edgar in the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK GR Supra, Marco Signoretti in the Academy Motorsport Mustang and Jamie Day in the R Racing Aston Martin
With the second Safety Car period to recover the Fox McLaren, a couple of GT4 cars fell out the fight at the restart. Signoretti suffered a puncture and had to pit whilst Moh Ritson was forced wide at Sheen Curve by Tom Edgar and suffered a puncture which forced the McLaren to pull off to drivers right and abandon the car. This resulting puncture resulted in the third Safety Car of the race.
With the final Safety Car out the way, Williams held the lead from Jamie Orton. However, with the pit window fast approaching, all of the Silver entries were at risk of being over taken by the Pro Am entries, who were due to serve shorter stop times with no Success Penalties. As a result, Darren Turner held the lead as he took over from Matt Topham in the New Bridge Motorsport Aston Martin. The second Pro-Am entry of Team Brit held seventh place in the hands of Aaron Morgan before the stop, but Bobby Trundley joined the race in second place after the pit window. Sennan Fielding joined the race in the Steller Motorsport Audi right behind the Team Brit McLaren and found a way past shortly into the stint. Fielding managed to close the 20 second gap to Turner down to seven seconds at the flag.
The Silver crews who had lost out at the pit window slowly fought back through the second stint, Jamie Orton also managed to find a way past the Team Brit Pro Am entry, moving down the inside of the McLaren on the run into Paddock Hill, Josh Miller followed him through, launching the R Racing Aston Martin down the inside on the brakes into Druids Hairpin to secure fourth place. Team Brit held on to fifth overall and second in the Pro-Am class.
With one race remaining, the 2022 Drivers Championship could go one of three ways with Topham and Turner, Williams and Fielding and Day and Miller all in contention. The Newbridge Aston Martin holds a 12.5-point lead over the Steller Motorsport Audi, both of which will take pit stop Success Penalties whilst the R Racing Aston Martin goes into the race, 20.5 points off the lead but with no Success Penalty to serve.