FERGUSON RESISTS BALON FOR MAIDEN WIN AS BURNS AND BROWN TAKE FIRST GT4 VICTORY OF 2022
De Pauw helps RAM double up at Snetterton
Century take GT4 spoils after hunting down Newbridge
RAM Racing’s Ulysse de Pauw and John Ferguson have scored their maiden Intelligent Money British GT Championship victories at Snetterton after the latter withstood intense late pressure from Adam Balon in Race 2. Further back, Jack Brown hunted down Matt Topham to clinch his, Will Burns’ and Century Motorsport’s first GT4 wins of the campaign.
Barwell’s Lamborghini, which had earlier moved up from fifth to second in Sandy Mitchell's hands, finished right behind the winning Mercedes-AMG, while 2 Seas Motorsport’s Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam made some amends for losing Race 1 victory by completing the overall podium.
The same is true of Academy Motorsport’s Marco Signoretti and Matt Cowley who finished runners-up in GT4 after the latter passed Matt Topham on the penultimate lap. But Newbridge Motorsport can still be pleased with their weekend’s work, which featured two podiums for Pro-Am duo Darren Turner and Topham who now lead the overall standings following Steller Motorsport’s post-race penalty.
Meanwhile, RAM’s Ian Loggie extended his GT3 championship advantage after backing up victory in Race 1 with sixth in the second.
GT3: FERGUSON AND DE PAUW COMPLETE RAM’S PERFECT WEEKEND
Two poles, two wins and a new lap record: RAM Racing completed their clean sweep at Snetterton, but only after John Ferguson soaked up late race pressure from Adam Balon in an enthralling second 60-minute sprint.
De Pauw converted his pole position into an early advantage over team-mate Callum Macleod who moved up to second early on when 2 Seas’ Lewis Williamson pitted with a suspected puncture.
The team’s other entry driven by Jonny Adam also endured a troubled opening lap when it was caught in a pincer movement at Turn 1 between the fast-starting Sandy Mitchell and Marcus Clutton. The latter fell down the order after taking a trip across the grass, while Mitchell moved up to fourth and then third when Williamson hit trouble.
That became second soon after thanks to an opportunist move around the outside of Macleod on the exit of Wilson. De Pauw was already five seconds up the road at that stage, but the 2020 champion was on a charge and shaved two seconds from his deficit before both drivers pitted together at the end of the GT3 window.
They emerged as they had entered, albeit with Ferguson now aboard RAM’s Mercedes-AMG and Balon in Barwell’s Lamborghini. The gap initially remained stable before Balon began steadily whittling away at the Northern Irishman’s lead. Less than 10 minutes remained by the time he was in striking distance but Ferguson maintained his composure throughout to take the chequered flag just 0.3s ahead.
They were joined on the podium by Haigh and Adam who enjoyed a trouble-free run to third. The latter ran fifth for much of the opening stint while nursing damage caused on lap one and had a grandstand view of Macleod holding off Euan Hankey who relentlessly hassled the Mercedes-AMG before the pitstops where RAM’s 10-second Success Penalty dropped
Loggie down the order.
Instead, Flewitt emerged ahead of Haigh who then homed in and passed 7TSIX’s McLaren. However, her near-30-second deficit to the top-two proved insurmountable.
7TSIX were still well placed to finish in the top-six before minor contact between Flewitt and Morgan Tillbrook sent the McLaren spinning. And that opened the door for Redline Racing whose early pitstop helped James Dorlin and Alex Malykhin make the most of a clear track. They finished fourth, one place ahead of Enduro’s 720S which had been stone last at the end of lap one.
Loggie and Macleod’s Success Penalty dropped them to sixth, while 2 Seas’ Williamson and James Cottingham were left to rue what might have been after recovering to finish seventh.
Fox, Team Parker and Assetto rounded out the top-10 ahead of Team Abba’s Mercedes-AMG, which span out of seventh in the second stint.
Loggie’s championship cause was aided by his nearest challengers Michael Igoe and Phil Keen finishing 14th after two separate pitstop-related penalties.
GT4: CENTURY RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS
Will Burns and Jack Brown scorched to Century Motorsport’s first GT4 victory of the campaign in Race 2 at Snetterton, while a post-chequered flag penalty had dramatic repercussions for the title-chasing Steller Motorsport team.
With reigning British GT4 champion Burns starting third on the grid and each of the cars ahead due to serve a Success Penalty, Century was already well-placed to challenge. And it made no mistake thanks to superb displays from both drivers.
Sennan Fielding initially wasted no time slipping past poleman Jamie Day to move Steller’s championship-leading Audi to the head of the pack. But Burns soon followed him through and tracked the R8, safe in the knowledge that extra seconds in the pits would drop it down the order after the stops.
Behind the top two, Matthew Graham (Valluga Porsche), Darren Turner (Newbridge Aston Martin) and Marco Signoretti (Academy Ford) also overtook Day’s R Racing Aston Martin before the pit window opened after 28 minutes.
As a Pro-Am pairing, Turner and Matt Topham benefited from a shorter mandatory stop than their Silver-graded rivals, and Topham therefore emerged out front when he re-joined, albeit with only a few seconds’ cushion over the charging BMW.
The recently installed Brown soon hunted down Topham and attempted a lunge for the lead around the outside of Palmer, before pulling off a fine run around the outside of Agostini to finally wrest top spot away from Newbridge with seven minutes remaining.
That was the win done and dusted, but the battle for the remaining podium places was anything but settled.
If there was any upside to Academy’s Race 1 trauma it was that their Mustang went into the weekend’s finale with no Success Penalty to serve. Signoretti kept the car firmly within the top five before handing across to Cowley, who immediately lit up the timesheets when he re-joined. He was within the top three with just a handful of laps to run, and then zapped past Topham on the penultimate tour to snatch a hard-earned second.
Topham and Turner took third – and the Pro-Am win – to initially move them level on points with Steller in GT4’s overall drivers’ standings. However, there would be drama after the race when Fielding and Richard Williams collected a time penalty speeding in the pits, which dropped them from sixth to 11th in the amended result and eight points behind Newbridge’s duo.
Tom Edgar and Jordan Collard were fourth in the Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra with Ashley Marshall and Moh Ritson’s Paddock Motorsport McLaren fifth. Ross Wylie and Graham finished seventh at the flag but picked up a spot after Steller’s penalty, while the final top-eight also featured Team Parker’s Porsche and Race 1 winners R Racing after Day and Josh Miller served the maximum Success Penalty.
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship now heads to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for its customary away days and two-hour race on July 23/24.