With conditions better suited for ducks, the Intelligent Money British GT Championship rolled into their penultimate round of the series. Taking place at Snetterton circuit in Norfolk, the championship battle was really hotting up after Sam De Haan and Patrick Kujala fired their way back into contention following their stunning Donington win.
With conditions worse than expected, there was no choice except to start the race behind the safety car.
It was a convincing victory for the 2 Seas McLaren of Jordan Witt and Jack Mitchell to make it 7 different winners from 7 races. Nailing the safety car restart and robust move on leader De Haan saw the McLaren in the lead and never headed afterwards.
Lewis Proctor did his best to stick with the fellow McLaren but ultimately couldn’t live with the pace of Witt who perfected his opening stint.
Meanwhile further back, Pro-Am Championship leader Adam Balon went for a spin on the exit of Palmer, narrowly rejoining in front of the charging GT4 pack. But Phil Keen showed not to write them off for race two by setting the fastest lap of the race.
After the pitstops, the battle for 4th really intensified with Kujala holding up Yelmer Buurman and reigning Blancpain Endurance Champion, Andrea Caldarelli. Buurman slipped off the road entering the Bentley Straight but such was his pace that he soon caught and passed his teammate to come home in 4th position.
Kujala put in the drive of his life to fend off all that Caldarelli could throw at him to come home in 5th and keep his championship hopes firmly alight.
Especially after main rival, Sandy Mitchell claimed 2nd place after passing Ollie Wilkinson’s McLaren on the line to finish just 0.081 seconds ahead.
Race 2 saw an absolute masterclass from none other than Phil Keen. Having shown his pace all weekend long, he opened up a 7.3 second advantage over teammate Sandy Mitchell by the time that the pit window opened.
Adam Balon was then able to maintain this lead and the duo became the first repeat winners of the season in GT3.
Michael Igoe ran a very solid race after he took over from Caldarelli who is only the first repeat Pro driver in the WPI Lamborghini. The duo scoring their best result since their win at the first Donington meeting earlier in the year.
Yelmer Buurman continued his strong pace by maintaining a lonely 3rd position before handing over to Ian Loggie. Bringing the car home in another 4th position, this put some solid points on the board for the Pro-Am championship and just 1 point behind Balon and Keen in the Pro-Am standings.
It was De Haan and Kujala who took the final rostrum position and in the process, maintained their championship lead over Collard and Mitchell who could only manage 5th position despite starting on pole.
With the top four teams separated by just 2.5 points heading into the weekend, all was to play for in the tricky conditions thrown up.
Things got off to a great start for the TF Sport pairing of Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughan who took their first victory of the season and made it 6 different winners from 7 races in GT4. Donington winners, Jordan Collard and Patrick Matthiesen came home in 2nd and firmly kept themselves in the title hunt, now having to serve fewer success penalties than the TF Aston in Race 2.
It was an eventful race further back with Will Moore power sliding the Mustang through Riches before Matt Cowley headed towards the A11 after an off at the Wilson hairpin after a botched overtake on the Balfe McLaren.
Chris Wesemael also had a couple of off-track excursions after losing 3rd place to the Patrick Kibble Aston Martin and lost any chance to reclaim lost ground with only 5 minutes remaining.
Race 2 saw the Academy Motorsport Mustang start from pole position however it was short-lived after Caroline got a mega jump at the start and bolted straight into the lead. He was then able to maintain this lead until the mandatory pitstops.
It was Collard / Matthiesen who got the jump after the leading Aston Martin had to serve the maximum success penalty after winning the earlier race. It was then plain sailing to the line for the GT4 McLaren and they cruised to a 9-second win over Caroline and Vaughan.
The sister TF Sport car of Connor O’Brien and Patrick Kibble rounded out the top 3 in what was a good weekend for the soul Aston Martin squad in this year’s campaign.
It wasn’t a good race for the Academy Mustang, coming home in 6th place in GT4 after struggling for race pace all weekend long.
The series heads to the Silverstone circuit in 4 weeks’ time for the season finale.
GT3 remains a contest between De Haan / Kujala and Collard / Mitchell with just 6 points separating them. Adam Balon and Phil Keen are only 5.5 points further back and are still mathematically in contention for the title providing the continue their strong form.
GT4 is an even closer affair with just 2.5 points separating leaders Caroline / Vaughan and Collard / Matthiesen. O’Brien and Kibble are 10 points further back in 3rd and also maintain a mathematical chance of taking the victory providing they can find their strong form from earlier in the season.