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British GT3 at Spa - Title race wide open once again

British GT3 at Spa - Title race wide open once again

15.07.2019: Back in May, and having just claimed both victories at Snetterton, it was almost impossible to imagine anyone other than Adam Balon and Phil Keen winning this year’s GT3 crown. However, just 24 points from a possible 75 since then has reignited the GT3 ti

Back in May, and having just claimed both victories at Snetterton, it was almost impossible to imagine anyone other than Adam Balon and Phil Keen winning this year’s GT3 crown. However, just 24 points from a possible 75 since then has reignited the GT3 title fight with three rounds remaining.



The #72 Lamborghini crew’s advantage over Barwell team-mates Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker now stands at 8.5 points, while Donington winners Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam are a further 23 behind.



A 20s Pitstop Success Penalty undoubtedly complicates matters for TF Sport’s best placed line-up, although both drivers can be encouraged by their individual performances at Spa 12 months ago when Davidson claimed his maiden British GT victory and Adam qualified on pole.



Meanwhile, De Haan and Cocker must also overcome a 10s Pitstop Success Penalty after finishing third at Donington.
Balfe Motorsport’s McLaren is also handicapped to the tune of 15s after finishing second last time out. That result confirmed Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell as serious victory contenders despite ninth in the standings suggesting otherwise. Indeed, two podiums amidst a season punctuated by bad luck have generated 42 of their 43.5 points.



Nevertheless, so competitive is British GT’s midfield that just 7.5 points separate Balfe’s duo from Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis in fourth. A fire and subsequent DNF at Donington prevented Optimum Motorsport’s Aston Martin from scoring for the first time this season, helping others to make ground in both the overall and Silver Cup standings.



In the latter, their advantage over Team Parker’s Ryan Ratcliffe and Glynn Geddie now stands at just 5.5 points. However, Wilkinson should be brimming with confidence after claiming his first overall GT Open win with Optimum last weekend.



Only Davidson/Adam have scored as many points in the last two races as Michael Igoe and Dennis Lind who head to Spa with the added bonus of competing Success Penalty-free. WPI Motorsport have impressed many since joining British GT’s senior class at Snetterton where the additional points scored alongside former co-driver Adam Wilcox have helped Igoe move to within 1.5 of Wilkinson/Ellis. Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim are 2.5 further back in the second of TF Sport’s Aston Martins.



Meanwhile, Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris will see Spa as an opportunity to re-set after struggling to capture the form that made JRM’s Bentley look like a championship contender on the first weekend at Oulton Park. Parfitt Jnr returns to the scene of his best result last season when he finished second with Ratcliffe.



It’s also been one of those seasons for RAM Racing who couldn’t catch a break at Donington after looking sublime at Silverstone. At least Spa holds fond memories for Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod who claimed their first British GT victories there in 2017 after securing class honours at the 24 Hours of Spa two years earlier.



Elsewhere, Darren Turner makes his first British GT start since September after teaming up with debutants Tony Quinn and M2 Competition. However, there is one notable absentee from the entry list: clashing Le Mans Cup commitments have forced Beechdean AMR to skip Spa. Their Aston Martin will return at Brands Hatch.






- Benjamin Franassovici, photo  copyright: Xynamic/Gary Parravani



Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/british-gt3-spa-title-race-open---194244.html

15.07.2019 / MaP

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