Photo: British GT Championship / Jakob Ebrey Photography
Phil Keen, at the wheel of the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 he shares with teammate Adam Balon, took the first victory for the driver pairing in the 2019 British GT Championship season when he took the chequered flag nearly 14 seconds ahead of the #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Glynn Geddie and, crossing the line, Ryan Ratcliffe.
Taking the final podium position in the GT3 category was the #47 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage driven by 2018 Spa winner Graham Davidson and Aston Martin factory driver and Le Mans winner Jonny Adam.
Victory in the GT4 category went to the #29 Steller Performance Audi R8 LMS GT4 driven by Richard Williams and, taking the final stint, Sennan Fielding on the debut race for the team’s new Audi. Second in the GT4 category was the #4 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4 piloted by Josh Smith and James Dorlin.
Completing the top three in the GT4 category was the HHC Motorsports McLaren driven by Callum Pointon and Dean Macdonald.
Tom Gamble, at the wheel of the #9 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and standing in for an injured Adrian Willmott, led the field away from pole position but there was drama as the race got underway with contact that resulted in then #8 team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Richard Neary and Adam Christodoulou, the #43 Century Motorsport crewed by Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and Angus Fender and the #75 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 being unable to continue.
The #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley, driven for the opening stint by Glynn Geddie, took the lead, with Geddie pulling out a lead of over seven seconds to Gamble in the #9 Century Motorsport BMW.
The driver changes should have seen the #7 Bentley emerge in the lead, but a slow stop allowed the #9 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Jack Mitchell at the wheel to rejoin with a narrow lead over Phil Keen in the #72 Lamborghini.
With 28 minutes left to run Phil Keen, at the wheel of the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 he shares with Adam Balon, found his way past Jack Mitchell in the #9 Century Motorsport BJMW M6 GT3 when Mitchell encountered an issue which caused the #9 car to slow. After some seconds. Mitchell managed to reset the BMW and got underway but by that time the damage was done.
Having taken the lead, the Lamborghini factory driver started to pull out a lead and, after 18 laps, was over 4 seconds ahead of Ryan Ratcliff in the #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
Running in third at the time, there was drama for the #22 Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 driven by Rob Bell, when, after contact with a GT4 McLaren, the #22 car spun off and Bell was forced to park up.
As the race entered the final 15 minutes, Jonny Adam, at the wheel of the #47 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, was pushing Ratcliffe in the #7 Bentley for second. Ratcliffe’s defending meant that the #31 JRM Racing Bentley piloted by Seb Morris could get back into the mix.
As the 60-minute race entered the final five minutes, Phil keen in the #71 Lamborghini, was pulling way at the front with a gap of nearly 14 seconds but the battle for third was heating up with Seb Morris in the #31 Bentley finding way past Jonny Adam after the Le Mans winner had to take to the grass. However there was drama for Mortis when he made contact with a GT4 car after looking to rake advantage of Adam’s detour on the grass. The #31 JRM Racing Bentley finished fifth but had sustained damage in the encounter.
Phil keen was delighted at the win:
“The race went really well” said Keen. “We had a bit of a bad start but made up for lost time. We had a good pit-stop and I had a good car so it made my life easier.”
“(After the pit stops) we drove round at a sensible pace, monitored the gap and looked after the car for the next race.”
The GT battle was a straightforward run for the #29 Steller Performance Audi R8 LMS GT4 driven by Richard Williams and Senna Fielding with Williams taking the class lead shortly after the start.