Oulton Race 1: Tse/Onslow-Cole victorious for RAM; Topham/Turner convert pole into GT4 win
Guest Mercedes-AMG beats Team Abba and Barwell
Newbridge overcome Century and Steller for second GT4 success
Burns and Burton all-but assured of GT4 title
RAM Racing's guesting Mercedes-AMG shared by Kevin Tse and Tom Onslow-Cole claimed victory in Sunday's first Intelligent Money British GT Championship race at Oulton Park, while Team Abba Racing held off Barwell Motorsport's title-leaders to score maximum points in second overall.
Further back, Matt Topham and Darren Turner converted their class pole position into a second GT4 win of the season despite the best efforts of Century's Will Burns and Gus Burton who are now all-but assured of the Drivers' title after their team-mates failed to score. Steller Motorsport's Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding completed the podium.
GT3: TSE AND ONSLOW-COLE ON TARGET
RAM's race-by-race Mercedes-AMG might have missed out on pole by 0.3s but there was no stopping Tom Onslow-Cole or Kevin Tse in race trim after the Macanese was in the right place at the right time to pass Kelvin Fletcher in the opening stint.
The Paddock Motorsport Bentley initially built a small advantage over the chasing pack, which initially featured Tse, Morgan Tillbrook and Michael Igoe. Fully up to speed, Tse was then able to close down Fletcher while WPI's Lamborghini lost time and slipped to fifth after taking avoiding action when Enduro's McLaren spun out at Cascades.
It wasn't long before Fletcher was under real pressure, but it was ultimately clashing GT4 cars ahead that forced the Bentley onto Old Hall's grass and allowed Tse to breeze past. Richard Neary, who'd already benefitted from Igoe and Tillbrook's travails, then seized second just as GT3's pit window opened.
RAM and Team Abba's Pro drivers emerged from their stops together, but – after initially rebuffing Sam Neary – Onslow-Cole was able to build a small but comfortable gap that would ultimately help RAM's Mercedes-AMG claim victory by five seconds.
That was partly due to Neary's mirrors becoming increasingly full of Dennis Lind's Lamborghini, which had taken advantage of Success Penalties during the pit window to move into fourth. That became third with a neat move on Martin Plowman after the Bentley overshot at Hislop's and fell into the Barwell Huracan's clutches.
However, there was no dislodging Neary who held firm to take second place by seven tenths.
Paddock's race, which began with so much promise, then went from average to worse when multiple track limits offences added up to a 30s post-race penalty in lieu of a drive-through. Plowman thus dropped to 10th in the corrected result.
Instead, Team Parker Racing's Porsche shared by Nick Jones and Scott Malvern came through to finish fourth on the road but scored points for third as a result of RAM's race-by-race status.
WPI Motorsport's Huracan, driven in the second stint by Phil Keen, rebounded from its earlier off and Success Penalty to complete the top-five ahead of Barwell's other championship-chasing Lamborghini of Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell, while Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie – who enjoyed an opening stint-long battle with Lind's co-driver Leo Machitski – slipped to seventh after serving the maximum 10s handicap.
GT4: DOUBLE TOP(HAM) FOR MATT AND TURNER!
Matt Topham and Darren Turner scored theirs and Newbridge Motorsport’s second win of the season in the first outing of the weekend at Oulton Park, while Will Burns and Gus Burton moved to within touching distance of this year’s championship crown by coming home in second place.
It was a tactical drive from Aston Martin’s Pro-Am crew who overcame the early challenge of Century’s champions elect.
When the lights went out it was Burns’ BMW that made the better launch, running around the outside of pole-sitter Topham to steal the lead into Cascades. From that moment Topham opted to simply follow the M4 rather than risk a move on Oulton’s tight sweeps, knowing full well it would have to serve a longer pitstop due to its Silver Cup status.
Indeed, Topham stayed within touching distance of Burns until the pit window opened, and then ran a few laps longer into the stint before handing across to Turner who re-joined with a comfortable 10s advantage. Game over.
Burns’ fine work also meant Burton re-joined in a secure second, and the pair now have one hand on the championship title after trouble befell Century’s second BMW of Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke.
The latter was attempting to work his way up the order when he tried a move on Jack Brown’s Balfe McLaren at Lodge. The two cars made contact, putting both out of the running, and leaving Burns and Burton almost certain to clinch the championship in today’s second race.
Behind the runaway top two, Sennan Fielding built on strong early work from Richard Williams to take third in the Steller Motorsport Audi, ahead of Jordan Collard and James Kell’s Team Rocket RJN McLaren. Mark Sansom/Charlie Robertson’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56 took fifth, but only after a tight battle with another Team Rocket RJN McLaren shared by Michael Benyahia and Alain Valente. Robertson eventually got the job done with a fine move around the outside at Island Bend.
Nick Halstead/Jamie Stanley were seventh in Fox Motorsport’s McLaren, ahead of the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra of John Ferguson and Jamie Caroline. That crew had a nightmare race with Ferguson earning a stop-go for a clash with Dave Whitmore’s Ciceley Mercedes-AMG and Caroline then copping a drive-through for straying beyond track limits too many times.
Oulton Race 2: Victory hands Burton and Burns GT4 title; Igoe and Keen prevail on soggy Sunday afternoon
Century and BMW also wrap up GT4 Teams' Championship; Barwell seal GT3 Teams'
Proctors crowned GT3 Silver-Am champions
WPI score second GT3 win of the season
Five-way GT3 title battle rolls on to #DoningtonDecider
Will Burns and Gus Burton are the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT4 Drivers' champions after scoring their third win of the campaign in a rain-soaked second race at Oulton Park this afternoon, a performance that also assured Century Motorsport and BMW of the Teams' title.
But the destination of this year's GT3 Drivers' crown won't be known until October's #DoningtonDecider after Michael Igoe and Phil Keen denied Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind the chance to become champions with a race to spare. Barwell's other Lamborghini shared by Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell as well as fellow title contenders Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman (RAM Racing, Mercedes-AMG) joined WPI Motorsport's Huracan on the podium.
Behind, Century's all conquering M4 scythed through the GT4 field to beat Team Rocket RJN's McLaren of James Kell and Jordan Collard, and Academy's Ford Mustang crewed by Matt Cowley and Will Moore.
Elsewhere, Barwell retained their GT3 Teams' crown while Balfe's Stewart and Lewis Proctor wrapped up the GT3 Silver-Am title.
GT3: WPI RAIN SUPREME AT WET OULTON
Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind had to win and hope other results went their way in order to win the title with a race to spare, a scenario complicated further by their seven-second Success Penalty. Instead, all five of the crews that arrived at Oulton with a realistic title chance now travel to Donington with their mathematical shot still intact.
Barwell's #63 crew remain in the box seat both in terms of points already accrued and Success Penalties elsewhere after three of their challengers - Michael Igoe and Phil Keen, Adam Balon and Sandy Mitchell, and Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman - locked out Race 2's podium this afternoon.
Scott Malvern initially converted Porsche's first British GT3 pole since 2013 into a lead he would maintain throughout the opening stint after seeing off Mitchell and Lind. Barwell's Lamborghinis had swapped places just before Tom Onslow-Cole's beached Mercedes-AMG hastened a Safety Car period, which coincided with the pit window opening.
Just five seconds covered a top-six also featuring Marcus Clutton, Buurman and Keen before the caution, but that gap was even smaller when all of the front runners stopped together under Safety Car conditions. Team Parker and Barwell's Success Penalties should have handed Mitchell's co-driver, Balon, the advantage but a slow getaway helped RAM's Mercedes-AMG emerge ahead of Igoe and Nick Jones.
With Machitski only fifth, things were now looking up for RAM. But a drive-through penalty for a pit exit infringement dropped Loggie behind his championship rival while also handing Igoe a lead he never really looked like losing.
By then Balon had made his way up to second after passing Jones at the restart, which came with the added bonus of crucial extra points in the title race. A late spin ultimately mattered little given his advantage over the chasing pack.
That was now headed by a charging Loggie who emerged from his penalty in fifth place. But the Mercedes-AMG looked superior to its rivals in the wet conditions given the Scot's successful pursuit first of Machitski and then Jones.
The Lamborghini also hauled in Team Parker's Porsche late on to leave Machitski and Lind 13.5 points ahead of Loggie and Buurman with a round remaining. What's more, and unlike its three closest rivals, Barwell's #63 entry will race Success Penalty-free at Donington.
Morgan Tillbrook brought Enduro's McLaren home sixth after co-driver Clutton set the race's fastest lap. However, the dry conditions earlier in the day ensured that Lind sealed his fifth Sunoco Fastest Lap Award from six events.
Abba's Mercedes-AMG might have featured on the podium without Richard Neary's spin at Shell but recovered to finish seventh ahead of new Silver-Am champions Stewart and Lewis Proctor.
However, Beechdean AMR face an uphill battle at Donington where Andrew Howard retains an outside GT3 title shot. The team only finished rebuilding their crashed Aston Martin at 03:00 but with little time to refine it both Howard and Jonny Adam could only manage ninth.
GT4: BURNS AND BURTON CLINCH TITLE IN STYLE
Will Burns and Gus Burton produced the drive of champions in tricky conditions to secure both victory and this year’s GT4 Drivers' title in Race 2 at Oulton.
In doing so they became the first crew to seal a British GT title with a full round to spare since 2015, and put the perfect stamp on a dominant campaign with a third victory of the season in soaking wet conditions. Incredibly, it was also the pair's eighth points scoring result from as many races and sixth podium in all.
Burton started fourth but could do nothing about returning GT4 champion Jamie Caroline who put on a superb wet-weather display aboard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK's Supra.
He looked peerless after passing Darren Turner’s pole-sitting Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin around the outside at Old Hall and quickly pulled a comfortable margin over the field. Pretty much the only man to keep the runaway leader honest was Sennan Fielding whose Steller Audi thrived in the conditions to surge up to second, just before the race was interrupted by a Safety Car to clear RAM's stranded Mercedes-AMG.
That turned the race on its head as the caution period coincided with GT4's pit window opening. Everyone other than Caroline and Turner dived in at the first opportunity, but it was the various Success Penalties and additional Silver class minimum pitstop time that really jumbled the order.
The net result saw Mark Sansom’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta emerge in the lead just ahead of John Ferguson, who had taken the Supra over from Caroline. But the pair had a queue of Silver-graded drivers behind them.
In the tricky conditions and with their pitstop advantage neutralised neither Am driver stood much chance against the likes of Team Rocket RJN's McLarens driven by James Kell and Michael Benyahia who soon took first and second, respectively. Burns, who had taken over from Burton, then followed suit.
Benyahia wasn’t satisfied with second and crawled all over Kell for the lead before launching an attack at Knickerbrook. The two McLarens made contact and Benyahia got off the throttle to prevent tipping his team-mate round, which opened the door for Burns to slip into second.
From there Burns wouldn’t be denied, first drafting on to Kell’s tail and then past into Old Hall on lap 26.
“I couldn’t see a thing for much of my stint as the heated windscreen stopped working, but I saw contact between the two cars ahead and just went for whatever gap appeared,” said an elated Burns. “To be GT4 champions is just incredible. What a weekend!”
Burton added: “Century have done such a superb job with the car. It felt great, even in conditions like those. And the strategy has been spot-on all season. I’m just delighted.”
Kell and co-driver Jordan Collard held on to second ahead of Will Moore and Matt Cowley's Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang, which snatched the final place on the podium with a great move around the outside of Benyahia at Lodge.
Harry Hayek/Katie Milner’s Team Rocket RJN McLaren was sixth, ahead of Richard Williams/Sennan Fielding’s Audi. Sansom survived a big moment at Cascades to bring the Assetto Ginetta he shares with Charlie Robertson home eighth overall and first in Pro-Am, while Century's other BMW of Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke - which played a huge part in the Teams' title success - came home ninth.
And so on to the #DoningtonDecider where British GT3's 2021 Drivers' Champions will be crowned on October 16-17.