After a lengthy red flag to repair barrier, Race Two of the opening round of the 2022 Intelligent Money British GT Champion ship was won, after the finishing positions were time-adjusted, by the #11 Paddock Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 driven by team owners Martin Plowman and, taking the chequered flag, Kelvin Fletcher. Second, on adjusted times, was the #8 Team Abba Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Sam Neary and Richard Neary.
Completing the overall podiums was the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Mercedes of Kevin Tse and Chris Froggat.
Honours in the GT4 class went to the #27 Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 pairing of Matt Topham and Darren Turner with the Silver Cup #90 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Jack Brown and Will Burns finishing just over 15 seconds behind. Richard Williams and Senna Fielding in the #42 Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS completed the podium positions.
Jules Gounon started from pole in the #6 RAM Racing Mercedes after finishing second in Race One. Winner Adam Carroll started alongside the Frenchman on the front row but Gounon got a good start and had pulled out a gap of over 1.7 seconds after the first lap.
Euan Hankey in the #76 7TSIX McLaren 720S GT3 he shared with Mia Flewitt was third on the road, just over a quarter of second behind Carroll.
The RAM Racing driver continued to set the pace and the gap back to Carroll had extended to over four seconds after three laps.
There was drama on lap four after the #56 Assetto Motorsport with Freddie Tomlinson on board went off after contact with the #76 Paddock Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4 driven by Moh Ritson, requiring the safety car to make its first British GT appearance of 2022.
The Safety car bunched the field back up, negating the advantage that the RAM Racing Mercedes had built up. Green flag racing resumed with 37 minutes remaining and less than two minutes to the driver changes.
Gounon got the jump on the restart and had stretched out a 2.724 second advantage over the #22 Audi by lap 12.
Rain started to fall as the pit window opened, forcing teams to choose whether to switch to a more suitable tyre at the driver change. Carroll was the first of the front runners to pit as the #15 RAM Racing Mercedes with Jamie Caroline at the wheel went off on the approach to Water Tower, causing the second safety car of the contest which was quickly followed by a red flag.
After a lengthy stoppage, the grid gathered to resume racing with 25 minutes remaining.
With the decision from Race Control that times would be adjusted for minimum pit stop times at the end of the race, positions on the road were less important than the order after times had been adjusted.
Ian Loggie led the field out of the pit lane behind the safety pit lane with Shaun Balfe in second place and Mia Flewitt in the #76 7TSIX McLaren 720S GT3 in third. Green flag racing finally resumed with 20 minutes to go with Ian Loggie leading.
Mia Flewitt drove a controlled stint to hold on to third place with Morgan Tillbrook in the #77 Enduro Motorsport McLaren and Adam Balon in the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini pushing hard to claim the final podium position.
Tillbrook went off at Hislops promoting Kelvin Fletcher to fourth position and competing for the final podium position, and possibly the race win, after starting 14th. Fletcher passed Flewitt on lap 23 and started to chase down the leading pair with the objective of closing to within seven seconds of Loggie’s Mercedes. The Paddock Motorsport pilot drove with both control and aggression as he narrowed the gap to the leader to just below seven seconds which he held to the chequered flag to take the first win for the one-year-old team.
Kelvin Fletcher was not entirely certain that he had won when the chequered flag came out.
“My radio had been playing up all weekend so when the team came on the radio I was like, ‘What are you on about?’ so I assumed there had been some sort of penalty.” said Fletcher. “It felt pretty good. The conditions were tricky initially but the car felt mega!”
Co-owner Martin Plowman was delighted at how his teammate had driven.
“What a way to end the weekend!” he said. “We didn’t have the best of starts, starting in 14th place but I woke up with a fire in my belly today and I had to send it. I handed the car over in P7 but what a drive (from Kelvin Fletcher)! That was the best I’ve ever seen him drive and he was the complete package!”
Topham and Turner’s GT4 win came after a close battle with the Stellar Motorsport Audi of Fielding and Williams.
The Aston Martin factory driver started on pole but with a ten-second success penalty, Fielding knew he had to establish a gap back to the Aston Martin to win. Fielding and Turner pulled away from the GT4 field until the first safety car reduced the advantage.
After the red flag, and with the on-track results to be adjusted for the lack of pit stops, Richard Williams had to clear the Newbridge Aston Martin by 24 seconds to ensure the class victory. Matt Topham made sure the gap was kept close to take the class win.
The 2022 Intelligent Money British GT Championship now moves to its blue riband event – the Silverstone 500 on May 7 – 8.