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British GT Donington Park round-up

Updated: May 28

Text & Images: Ian Cutting


GT3 victory for Alex Martin and Sandy Mitchell in their #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini while the #90 Optimum Motorsport McLaren of Jack Brown and Zac Meakin claimed GT4 honours at an eventful Donington Park.



GT3

As the field lined up for the start the clouds were gathering and as the formation lap began, so did the rain. So heavy was the rain that race control aborted the start and could mean that the teams could swap the slicks already fitted to wets.


The race then began behind the safety car for only a couple of laps before Martin could try and make a gap behind. RAM Racing pitted their BMW after the first lap so Raffaele Marciello could maximise the driving time against the AM drivers.


Slicks were needed after 20 minutes and the field all piled into the pits led by Rob Collard, Shaun Balfe and Kevin Tse who by now had all past Martin's Lamborghini. The rain made another appearance and Adam Smalley (who had taken over from Balfe) took his chance with a move going into Starkeys. Ricky Collard soon found himself down in P3 when Mitchell passed him.


This light rain soon turned into a heavy downpour and another busy pit lane as teams choose this time to make their second stop. The teams and cars that gambled on it being a passing shower didn't stop and soon arrived at Redgate to find that they couldn't turn or stop with several ending in the gravel or the tyre barrier. The red flag was needed and lengthy 45 minute delay before racing resumed. This allowed those that were pulled free to resume racing.


Mark Radcliffe appeared to be the biggest winner from the red flag as his team mate pitted just as the race was paused. However Race Control corrected by telling Radcliffe to concede when racing finally resumed after the lengthy delay.


When racing got back underway, Collard led Ian Loggie, Simon Orange, Balfe and Martin despite more FCY and Safety Car periods over the next 55 minutes.


A collision between Tse and Orange at Starkeys meant another caution period and was the cue for the teams to make their final stop. 2 Seas were able jump the Collard's Lamborghini and take the lead of the race for the final part of the race. Another FCY and Safety Car period meant that the leading drivers couldn't settle into their stints.


Phil Keen withstood 20 minutes pressure as Mitchell and Tom Gamble tried to force a mistake from the 2 Seas driver. As Keen was caught in traffic twice and they made their moves and passed the Mercedes-AMG driver.


Mitchell was able to hold onto the lead despite the pace of Gamble closing him down. Keen

managed to claim that final podium spot by a mere 0.3s from Morgan Tilbrook and Marcus Clutton who were flying and already past Dan Harper and Collard in their pursuit of that final step.


GT3 winner #78 Barwell Motorsport

GT4

With the aborted start and change to wets instead of the slicks, Stuart Middleton led the field in his DTO Ginetta. Following the Ginetta was Meakin, Charles Dawson (Mercedes-AMG), Jamie Day (Aston Martin) and Alex Walker (McLaren).


Middleton soon found himself back down in P4 after Day had taken the lead and soon got worse as brake disc failure put paid to a challenge for the win.


The rain then came in suddenly and Seb Morris, who had taken over from Dawson, was one of

those who got caught out and slide off into the Redgate gravel trap. Day and Mikey Porter chances of a win were dealt a blow with a 64s stop-go penalty.


When racing resumed and it was Meakin leading from Walker, Marc Warren and Kavi Jundu.

although Meakin had yet to serve their Compensation Time in their pit stop.


Walker was the first to stop and hand over to Blake Angliss just before last caution was called. Optimum, Forsetti and TGR UK all made their changes during the FCY and cost the Paddock Motorsport team a lap.


With Optimum having to serve their extra 20s plus the Pro-Am having shorter times it was the Forsetti Aston and Toyota who now enjoyed the lead fight. The Toyota was soon out of contention as they had to serve a stop-go as their lsat stop was 1s too short. This meant that it was between Will Orton and Brown for the win.


Brown was fast catching Orton and made his move into the Melbourne Hairpin and duly went on to take the win. Orton and Warren hung on to second while the final step of the podium went the way of Jundu and Dan Vaughan.


GT4 winner #90 Optimum Motorsport

The next round is away in Spa Francorchamps 22 / 23 June.

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