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British GT Spa-Francorchamps round-up

Victories for Barwell Motorsport and Balfe Motorsport as British GT goes on tour.


GT3

Pole sitter Leo Machitski led the GT3 field as the lights went green but it all kicked off behind. Richard Neary made another lightning start from the back of the GT3 pack and went for a gap between Ian Loggie and Adam Balon. That gap was closing but such the speed of the Team Abba Racing Mercedes AMG Neary had nowhere to go. The Mercedes bounced around in the air off both cars and was left in pieces on the grid. Loggie's RAM Racing Mercedes AMG pitted for repairs and Balon's Lamborghini was able to continue. With the Neary Mercedes stranded and bits of Mercedes strewn across the track the safety car was sent out to allow the track to be cleared.


When racing resumed some 15 minutes later Machitski led Andrew Howard's Beechdean Aston Martin and Stewart Proctor in his McLaren, who had benefited from the opening melee. Behind the McLaren the two Lamborghinis of Michael Igoe and Adam Balon were doing their best to get past. Despite the rear attention, Proctor was still able to keep Howard in his sights.


Balon capitalised on Igoe's mistake at Pif Paf and made his move as they approached Eau Rouge only then later to suffer a trip through the gravel at Campus and Igoe set off after Proctor.


Beechdean pitted Howard just before the pit window opened and the time lost for that plus the success penalty and the 20s gap to Machitski left Barwell clear out front. Instead the attention was over who would finish second at the end of the 2 hours.


The Balfe McLaren of Lewis Proctor emerged just ahead of the WPI Lamborghini of Phil Keen but GT4 traffic ahead meant that Keen was able to slip stream the McLaren and made his move along the Kemmel Straight.


Lind was now 40s clear up the road and the only drama for the Barwell driver was GT4 cars all fighting for the same piece of racetrack. Despite this, Lind was able to claim his first British GT victory.


Keen finished second and doing their championship ambitions no harm while the Proctor's came home P3. Beechdean AMR despite their slight mis-calculation of the pitstop and the stop-go penalty finished P4 keeping Sandy Mitchell at bay despite the reigning champion doing everything he could to pass Ross Gunn. In throwing everything at Gunn, Mitchell picked up a 30s penalty added to his race time for track violations. RAM Racing scored a hat-full of points despite being 8 laps down to keep the duo in title contention, sterling work by the team to get the pink Mercedes back out again.

GT3 winner #63 Barwell Motorsport. Source Lisa J Photography

GT4

With the GT3 incident happening right in front of the GT4 pack, Will Burns maintained his pole position advantage. Ashley Marshall and his Balfe Motorsport McLaren dodged the GT3 chaos and scattered GT4 cars to follow Burns. Unfortunately Marshall was involved a collision at La Source which affected the throttle control and the tracking.


This had no effect on the way Marshall was hustling the McLaren around and giving Burns a hard time. He made his move as they ran side by side into Eau Rouge and took the lead as they dived into Les Combes.


By the time Marshall pitted to hand over driving duties to Jack Brown he had managed to create a 3s gap to Burns, but due to the Silver Cup pairing they had to stay stationary for an additional 26s. This allowed others into the mix. Most notably Newbridge Motorsport of Matt Topham and Darren Turner.


Topham was last due to avoiding the Team Abba Racing Mercedes but just kept out of trouble and by the time he pitted he was P7. Serving a shorter pit stop catapulted the Aston into P3 as those around them had to serve various success penalties.


Turner wasn't hanging around and was soon taking vast amounts of time out of those ahead. He soon past Katie Milner in her Team Rocket RJN McLaren and set about Brown.


Taking 2s a lap out of Brown in his wounded McLaren, he soon made his move for the lead at Pouhon and cemented it at Fagnes. Unfortunately for Turner he was the subject of track limits and a 30s time penalty was added to his race time.


This meant that victory was given to Marshall and Brown in their Balfe McLaren but Topham and Turner finished P2 as the Century Motorsport BMW of Burns and Gus Burton had to serve an extra 20s in their pitstop courtesy of their win last time out.

GT4 winner #90 Balfe Motorsport. Source Ian Cutting Photography

The next event is at Snetterton on August 7th and 8th and marks halfway through the championship.


Cover image British GT Championship.



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