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British GT4 at Spa - All to play for

British GT4 at Spa - All to play for

15.07.2019: Another incredible GT4 entry makes its way to Spa this weekend when the championship’s top-three crews must all serve Pitstop Success Penalties. First, the new faces.

Another incredible GT4 entry makes its way to Spa this weekend when the championship’s top-three crews must all serve Pitstop Success Penalties.



First, the new faces.



Swedish squad Alfab Racing has entered a McLaren 570S for Erik Behrens and Daniel Ros. The same combination currently competes in GT4 Scandinavia, while the team also has recent experience of racing in the GT4 European Series.




There’s also the small matter of three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx joining six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy aboard Multimatic Motorsports’ #19 Ford Mustang. The same car and Am driver won the Pro/Am class with Billy Johnson last time out.



Of the full-season entries, Brent Millage teams up with Dino Zamparelli in GT Marques’ Porsche and HHC’s Luke Williams is joined by Ginetta GT5 Challenge front-runner Ruben Del Sarte, while three race-by-race competitors also make their final appearances of the season: ERC Sport’s Peter Belshaw and Maximilian Buhk, who must serve the 15s Success Penalty they incurred for finishing second at Silverstone; Balfe’s Am/Am McLaren shared by Mia Flewitt and Stewart Proctor; and Track Focused’s KTM driven by father and son duo Alexander and Ross McEwan.



Now, the championship fight.




Seb Priaulx and Scott Maxwell returned to the top of the standings at Donington by claiming their second win of the season in dominant fashion. They were followed home by championship rivals Dean Macdonald and Callum Pointon (HHC Motorsport) who find themselves second for the first time this year after slipping 8.5 points adrift. Third went to Lewis Proctor and Jordan Collard who are also within a victory of Priaulx/Maxwell.



All three must therefore serve Success Penalties at Spa, although that’s no guarantee of preventing a back-to-back winner. Just ask Macdonald who overcame the full handicap at the same circuit 12 months ago thanks to a well-timed Safety Car. His then co-driver, Jack Mitchell, went on to win the GT4 crown.



Meanwhile, Multimatic’s line-up sees Priaulx Jnr and Snr competing against one another in identical machinery for the first time. Seb’s knowledge of the Mustang undoubtedly gives him the advantage on paper despite this being his first-ever outing at Spa. However, his father’s rear-wheel-drive pedigree – he won all three WTCC titles in a BMW – and experience of the track ensure a well-matched head-to-head.



Only one GT4 crew has scored points in all six races held so far: Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman. So it should come as no surprise to see Beechdean AMR’s V8 Vantage lying fourth overall and topping the Pro/Am standings. Both drivers still await their first outright class victories, but with no Success Penalty and a shorter mandatory pitstop time than the Silver Cup crews, this could be the weekend to change that particular statistic.



Elsewhere, only Priaulx/Maxwell have out-scored Ash Hand and Tom Canning over the last three races. The crew of TF Sport’s #97 Aston Martin has worked its way back into championship contention after accumulating just two points across the first three races, although they’ll need another big result this weekend to remain a threat heading into the final two rounds.




It’s a similar story for Team Parker’s Nick Jones and Scott Malvern who have endured a frustrating season punctuated by a Silverstone 500 victory and the latter’s incredible qualifying form. A holed radiator that restricted their chances at Donington also dropped them 34.5 points behind Fletcher/Plowman in the Pro/Am table.



Also ahead of them are Balfe’s Graham Johnson and Michael O’Brien, and Fox Motorsport’s Mark Murfitt and Mike Broadhurst. Both crews have been mightily consistent in recent rounds where the latter scored back-to-back Pro/Am podiums.




Meanwhile, reigning champions, Century, came within minutes of securing their first podium of the year at Donington. And its BMWs should have the pace to run near the front again this weekend after claiming victory at Spa last season.







- Benjamin Franassovici, photo SRO


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/british-gt4-spa-all-play-for-penalties---194243.html

15.07.2019 / MaP

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