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British GT Oulton Park round-up

The 2023 season got underway with victories for 2 Seas Motorsport Jonny Adam and James Cottingham in race 1 while Ian Loggie and Jules Gounon claimed race 2 honours. Meanwhile in GT4 Will Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones were victorious and first time winners RACE LAB Ian Gough and Tom Wrigley.

Race 1

GT3

Starting from pole Cottingham led the pack as the rain clouds dumped its contents just before the start and the right decision was to go with wets. This was vindicated as Simon Orange, who was on slicks, spun off and caused the first Safety Car as he was stuck in the gravel.


With the McLaren gone, racing resumed and Cottingham lead the chasing pack headed by Loggie and Richard Neary. As they battled amongst themselves, Cottingham started to pull away from but by the pitstops the charge was being led by Andrew Howard who through a brave move got ahead of Loggie and Neary.


At the pitstops Beechdean AMR got Ross Gunn inserted and out just ahead of Gounon who by now had taken over from Loggie.


The second Safety Car was needed for Sam Neary as he was beached in the gravel at Druids after going across the grass to avoid the squabbling GT4 pack.


At the re-start Dan Harper and Marcus Clutton got the jump on Gounon who appeared to brake just before they crossed the line to avoid the GT4 car. Harper though had overtaken Gounon before the line and incurred a drive-through.


The Oulton Park track had now dried out, but the weather had other ideas and with 10 minutes left another rain cloud dumped its content. Adam, Gunn, Clutton and Gounon used they skill and wits and luck to keeping everything on the tarmac.


Adam had Gunn all over the back of his Mercedes-AMG but couldn't prise an Aston Martin sized gap. But, as the pair entered Lodge, both were side-by-side and both ran deep but Adam managed to hang onto the lead, on his 100th appearance, and crossed the line just ahead of Gunn who in turn finished ahead of Clutton. Clutton and Gounon though had a drag race to the line which went in the way of the McLaren driver by 0.029s!

GT3 winner #4 2 Seas Mercedes AMG

GT4

As the grid formed up, Academy Motorsport had both cars held to try and make the right tyre call.


Jack Brown led the pack in his Optimum McLaren from Aston Millar DTO Motorsport McLaren Artura, Team Parker Porsche of Zac Meakin and R Racing's Josh Miller.


Quarter distance, the slick shod gamble was starting to pay off as the track was starting to dry and heat was coming to the tyres. Moore and Matt Cowley were running in tandem and making their way through the pack and by the time the pitstop window at 28 minutes opened they were leading one-two.


Academy pitted later than their rivals at the end of the window and the Safety Car meant it was a race to get Moore out and Nicoll-Jones in and out before the Safety Car came back round with the pack and would result in the pit-lane being closed. They managed to do this and in doing so, gained a lap and put the race result all but concluded.


Erik Evans was running second in the sister Mustang being chased by Josh Rowledge and Charles Clark the DTO McLaren and Optimum McLaren respectively. DTO were given a drive-through for stopping outside the pitstop window and dropped back. Clark had managed to pass Evans and into second but as the rain reappeared, he slid off and fell down the order. This meant that Michael Cress and Thomas Holland earned their first podium for Raceway Motorsport in their Ginetta.

GT4 winner #62 Academy Motorsport

Race 2

GT3

As rain was falling Gounon led the field from pole while Raffaele Marciello made a demon start from P3, was on the tail of Dan Harper's BMW and made his move by taking his Mercedes-AMG all the way round the outside of Shell. By the end of lap 1 Gounon was already 2.9s up the road.


At the one-third distance, Marciello was now on the bumper of Gounon's Mercedes-AMG with the help of traffic. In his haste to try and get the lead, he took too much curb at Island and a wild ride later he was across the grass and rejoined at Shell narrowly avoiding T-boning the GT4 cars.


During the pitstops John Ferguson emerged in the lead by 6s, but due to the pitstop being under the minimum time meant they had to serve a stop-go. But the speed of the RAM earlier in the race they still emerged in P2 ahead of the McLaren of Alex West.


After the pitstop error, Loggie had an untroubled run to the end and claimed victory by 32s. Ferguson hung onto P2 just ahead of West who only managed to finish ahead of Cottingham by 0.964s.

GT3 winner #1 2 Seas Motorsport

GT4

There was no confusion over tyres this time round as wets was now the order of the day. Clark made a great start ahead of the pack chased by Wrigley, Tom Rawlings and Seb Hopkins.


Rawlings soon started to struggle with tyre pressure and made him defend in turn lose touch with the leaders which in turn meant the top 2 could pull away and have an early advantage as the pitstop window loomed.


With less time to serve as a Pro-Am pairing Wrigley stayed out, put in some quick laps while Clark pitted. By the time Gough had jumped in and rejoined the race he was out in front of Jack Brown, who had taken over from Clark.


Gough got his head down and kept a decent gap to Brown to open his GT4 account with a win and a maiden win for the new Artura.


Brown had his mirrors full of Millar's McLaren, thanks to Josh Rowledge early stint to get the DTO McLaren into P3. Rowledge did all he could to get ahead but couldn't squeeze a gap. At the flag they were just separated by 0.1s!

GT4 winer #29 RACE LAB

The Championship next outing is at Silverstone for the Silverstone 500 May 6th / 7th.

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