“I have Full Confidence Going Into The Next Round” – Team HARD’s Ben Wallace Takes The Positives From British GT Championship Round Three at Rockingham (29.04.18)

Photo: @ParenRaval.

Southport-based Ben Wallace, driver of the #88 Team HARD Ginetta G55 GT4, alongside team-mate Joshua Jackson, finished tenth in the GT4 Silver class after the first two-hour race of the 2018 British GT Championship season at Rockingham Motor Speedway on Sunday April 29.

The weekend saw a supreme effort from Team HARD who worked miracles to get the #88 Ginetta out for Saturday April 28’s qualifying sessions following damage sustained to the car in practice. The hard work of the Rochester-based team was recognised by the Championship organisers when they were awarded ‘Team of the Weekend’.

“The team was fantastic,” said 18-year old Ben Wallace. “It was definitely a team success and it was great that the work of Team HARD in getting the car ready for qualifying was rewarded with a trophy for ‘Team of the Weekend’.”

Due to a mechanical failure preventing the car from setting a qualifying time, Ben Wallace started from 34th on the grid but the pace of the LIPS Reifen-backed driver in the Ginetta G55 GT4 was soon evident after Benjamin made up sixteen places in the early part of the race.

Contact with another competitor caused a steering-arm to snap and the resulting repairs cost nearly 20 minutes in the pits. Wallace handed the car over to team-mate Joshua Jackson who drove an excellent second-half of the race to bring the car home tenth in class and claim 1.5 Championship points.

Despite the delay in the pits, the pace he could show in the car excited Ben Wallace.

“I felt I could have easily finished in the top five,” said Wallace. “You could see how much quicker I was compared to the other cars and I felt really good in the car.”

“It was nice to prove that I can be as quick as anyone else in the field,” continued Wallace. “It’s a real boost and I now have full confidence going into the next rounds. We will certainly be higher up the grid for Rounds Four and Five at Snetterton, if not a top-ten team, even top five.”

The British GT Championship now moves to Snetterton, Norfolk for Rounds Four and Five on May 27.

A Race Of Two Halves – ERC Sport Win At Rockingham (Updated) (30.04.18)

Photo: @ParenRaval

In a race where the final result was decided as much in the Race Control office as it was on track, victory went to the #116 ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Lee Mowle and, taking the car to the chequered flag, Yelmer Buurman.

4.352 seconds behind, in second place, was the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage piloted by Derek Johnston and Marco Sorensen. However, post-race penalties were to add 30 seconds to the finishing time of the #17 car and moved it to seventh.

The #7 Team Parker Racing Ltd Bentley Continental GT3 with the driver line-up of Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod completed the top three finishers, 19.4 seconds behind the #17 entry.

In GT4, victory went to the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 driven by Patrick Matthiesen and Callum Pointon with second in class going to the Stephen Johansen / Jesse Anttila-piloted #54 UltraTek Racing Team RJN Nissan 370Z GT4.

Taking the final podium position in the GT4 category was the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage driven by Will Moore and, taking the second stint, Matt Nicoll-Jones.

GT3:

Jon Minshaw, at the wheel of the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3, led the field from pole position at the start, closely followed by Flick Haigh in the #75 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage. Taking most advantage of the start, however, was series newcomer Sam De Haan, taking the first stint in the sister #69 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. De Haan moved into third position, less than a quarter of a second behind Flick Haigh, after ten minutes.

The race was neutralised with the first of four safety car periods after Shaun Balfe in the #101 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3 hit the wall at Turn 12 after 13 minutes. Seven minutes would elapse before the race could resume green-flag running.

At the re-start Flick Haigh spun on oil and dropped down the field, allowing Graham Davidson in the #47 Jetstream Motorsport Aston Martin to move in to third.

Jon Minshaw, meanwhile, was looking to consolidate his lead in the #33 entry but was frustrated by a second Safety Car period when the #50 HHC Motorsport Ginetta GT4, driven by Mike Newbould, spun at T5. Recovery meant the race was neutralised for four minutes, allowing the field to again close up.

As the pit-window approached Minshaw continued to hold the lead ahead of Davidson with De Haan in third.

There was drama for reigning GT3 champion Rick Parfitt Jnr after contact with Derek Johnston in the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin resulted in a spin at Turn 9, dropping the #1 car down the order.

In what was very much a ‘game of two halves’ things got really interesting as the race moved into its second hour.

After the driver-changes had cycled through, the third safety-car period of the race with 46 minutes to go allowed the field to close up and, when racing resumed, it was the #47 Jetsteam Motorsport entry, now with Maxime Martin at the wheel, that held a slim lead over Phil Keen in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. Drama, however, was about to unfold when the #47 entry was handed a stop-go penalty for track limit infringements. Phil Keen then took a short-lived lead before the #33 entry was given a stop/go penalty for a pit infringement.

With 20 minutes remaining, Yelmer Buurman, now behind the wheel of the #116 ERC Sport Mercedes took the lead. Marco Sorensen, driving the #17 TF Sport Aston pushed hard but was unable to get closer than a little over two seconds from the lead car.

Darren Turner, taking the second stint in the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin looked set to take the final podium position but was chased down by Callum Macleod in the #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 in the last 5 minutes. Turner finished fourth.

There was trouble for the #75 Optimum Motorsport entry after a fire at the driver change delayed the Jonny Adam leaving the pit, the car eventually finishing fifth.

Post-race, however, there was to be more discussion after the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin was given a 30 second penalty for involvement in the spin of Rick Parfitt Jnr in the #1 Team Parker Racing Bentley. As a result, the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage, driven by Andrew Howard and Darren Turner, moved up the order to be awarded the final podium position.

GT4:

The GT4 category saw a closely fought battle in the first hour between Charlie Fagg in the #4 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570s GT4 who led from class pole and Patrick Matthiesen in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4.

After the driver changes had cycled through it was Callum Pointon, now driving the #55 entry that held the lead with Michael O’Brien behind the wheel of the #4 Tolman Motorsport entry in second.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Jesse Antilla, driving the #54 UltraTek entry moved in to second place, a position he held to the chequered flag, with Matt Nicoll-Jones moving in to the final podium position in the final 5 minutes.

Rounds Four and Five 0f the 2018 British GT Championship takes place at Snetterton on May 26 –27.

ERC Sport Win At Rockingham. HHC Motorsport Takes Victory In GT4. (29.04.18)

Photo: @ParenRaval

In a race where the final result was decided as much in the Race Control office as it was on track, victory went to the #116 ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Lee Mowle and, taking the car to the chequered flag, Yelmer Buurman.

4.352 seconds behind, in second place, was the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage piloted by Derek Johnston and Marco Sorensen.

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Photo: @ParenRaval

The #7 Team Parker Racing Ltd Bentley Continental GT3 with the driver line-up of Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod completed the top three finishers, 19.4 seconds behind the #17 entry.

In GT4 victory went to the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 driven by Patrick Matthiesen and Callum Pointon with second in class going to the Stephen Johansen / Jess Anttila-piloted #54 UltraTek Racing Team RJN Nissan 370Z GT4.

Taking the final podium position in the GT4 category was the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage driven by Will Moore and, taking the second stint, Matt Nicoll-Jones.

Full Race Report to follow.

Barwell Motorsport / Minshaw / Keen On Pole For British GT Round 3 At Rockingham. Tolman Motorsport Ltd Dominate GT4. (28.04.18)

Photo: @ParenRaval

Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen put the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 on pole for Sunday April 29’s Round Three of the 2018 British GT Championship at Rockingham Motor Speedway after Minshaw and Keen lapped the Corby circuit in an aggregate time of 3:03.063.

Second on the grid will be the #75 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage driven by Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam with an aggregate time of 3:03.755. Aston Martin took two of three top positions in qualifying after Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim went third quickest with an aggregate time of 3:05.755 in the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

Qualifying got underway in wet but drying conditions and it was Flick Haigh in the #75 Optimum Motorsport who set the early pace with a 1:32.844 set in the closing seconds of the ten-minute session, nearly a full second quicker than Jon Minshaw in the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. The session saw Lee Mowle in the #116 ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG GT3, spin and make contact early in the ten-minute period and unable to set a time. Yelmer Buurman got the#116 entry out in the GT3 Pro session but the #116 will start from the back of the class grid as a result of not setting a time in the Am session.

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Photo: @ParenRaval

With Jonny Adam taking over the #75 entry for the GT3 Pro session, it seemed inevitable that the Wakefield-based team would be enjoying its third pole position of the season. Phil Keen, now behind the wheel of the #33 Barwell entry, had other ideas and put in a 1:29.235, nearly 1.7 seconds quicker than Adam’s best of 1:30.911.

Jon Minshaw made the best use of limited running to put in a quick lap in the Am session.

“I managed one clear flying lap but that was all I needed,” said Minshaw. “But Flick (Haigh) did a great job. I though I’d done it till that last lap. I got baulked coming in to Tarzan and that lap was over.”

Jon Minshaw, however, sees the two-hour race on April 29 as a chance to get some good points but is not hopeful of a victory given the success penalty from Round Two.

“If it’s wet, we may have a chance (of the win). I think, if it’s dry, we will be lucky to be in the top six,” said Minshaw.

Phil Keen was equally happy with pole position

“The track improved for us,” said Phil Keen. “I think it was getting dryer and dryer. Barwell and Jon did a great job with the car.”

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Photo: @ParenRaval

The GT4 class was dominated by the Tolman Motorsport Ltd entries with the #4 and #5 McLaren 570S GT4s topping the time-sheets in the Am session with a 1:35.584 set by Charlie Fagg in the #4 car and a 1:36.98 put in by Lewis Proctor in the #5 entry. Third quickest in the first GT4 qualifying session was the #42 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 piloted by Ben Green.

Michael O’Brien in the #4 entry and Jordan Albert in the #5 car locked out the front row of the class grid with a 1:35.645 and 1:35.815 respectively to put the #4 entry on class pole with a 3:10.645.

The session did not go all the way of Tolman Motorsport Ltd, however, after David Pattison, behind the wheel of the #56 entry, spun on the entry to Gracelands, briefly causing the Am session to be red-flagged with 07:34 to go.

Charlie Fagg was delighted to get pole for Sunday’s two-hour race.

“I thought ‘we’re on new tyres now. We’ve got to utilise everything we’ve got!’ The car was amazing, straight out of the box, “ said Fagg. “I didn’t have to push too hard or do anything stupid. The track was certainly better than I thought it was going to be.”

The lights go out for Round Three of the 2018 British GT Championship at 13:10 on Sunday April 29.

Notes From The Paddock – British GT Championship Round 3 – Rockingham (28.04.18)

Photo: @ParenRaval

After a difficult first practice session for the #1 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3, 2017 Drivers Champion Rick Parftt Jnr took time to explain the challenges of driving the Bentley in damp conditions.

“We always knew that the Bentley is not the greatest car in the wet. It’s because of the weight distribution.,” said Parfitt Jnr. “It’s 70 – 30 so we have virtually no weight over the rear wheels. In the dry we can get away with it but it’s still highlighted at circuits where it’s stop-start like Snetterton and Donington but here, at Rockingham, it’s OK-ish in the dry but in the wet our time is a long way off.”

“Ryan (Ratcliffe) is still learning the car and I’ve refused to go out because at the moment we’re just not competitive. It’s a real shame but the Bentley is just not the car to have in the wet.”

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Photo: @ParenRaval

After taking victory in Race One at Oulton Park over the Easter Weekend, Race Two did not go according to plan for the #75 Optiumum Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage, driven by Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam, after Adam incurred damage in the extremely wet conditions at the start.

“It had damage to the rear upright so that had to be replaced so we were probably in for a good fifteen minutes,” explained Flick Haigh

“I was really pleased with the result (in race one),” continued Haigh. “We got lucky as Phil Keen in the #33 Lambo was gaining but they ended up with a puncture which gave Jonny a free run to the end. It was just a shame about race two.”

Mark Farmer, partnered with Nicki Thiim in the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage, is impressed with his new team-mate but explained that the break with Jon Barnes was not easy.

“Considering his lack of circuit knowledge, he’s pretty impressive,” said Farmer as Thiim continued to improve his lap-times at the Corby circuit.

“I love Jon Barnes to bits. We had a really lengthy and solid partnership and a long time together. Breaking with him was like breaking with a girl-friend – it was really, really tough. But Nicki’s great. He’s world-class and I’m learning quite a bit from him. You just want to get everything around you the best you possibly can and then you know it’s all down to you and that’s where I am at the moment.”

ERC Sport / Buurman / Mowle Go Quickest In British GT FP1 (28.04.18)

Photo: BritishGT.com / Jakob Ebrey Photography

In a wet and cold first practice session of the weekend for the British GT Championship grid at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Yelmer Buurman, driving the #116 ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shares with Lee Mowle, set the quickest time of the 60-minute session with a 1:32.478. Second quickest in the GT3 category was the #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in which Phil Keen set a 1:32.666

Third quickest in the senior category was the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage with a 1:33.175 set by Nicki Thiim in the car he shares with Mark Farmer.

Tolman Motorsport Ltd showed its strenth in the GT4 category by setting the top three quickest times. The #4 Tolman Motorsport Ltd McLaren 570S GT4 driven by Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg was quickest with a 1:37.250 while the #5 entry, driven by Lewis Proctor and Jordan Albert was less than .4 of a second slower with a 1:37.642.

The #56 Tolman McLaren was third quickest in class with a 1:37.728.

FP2, a further 60-minutes session, begins at 11:45 with qualifying starting at 15:25