British GT3 - First dibs to De Haan and Cocker

British GT3 - First dibs to De Haan and Cocker

30.07.2019: Okay, so itís a long shot. But thereís a chance Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker could become British GT champions this weekend. First, the easy bit: the #69 Lamborghini must win.


Okay, so it’s a long shot. But there’s a chance Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker could become British GT champions this weekend.


First, the easy bit: the #69 Lamborghini must win.




It came very close to doing just that at Brands 12 months ago when Jonny Adam denied Cocker in the final 10 minutes, and with no Success Penalty to worry about the crew should be in contention once again. Assuming they win, the biggest obstacle then concerns their closest championship rivals, Adam Balon and Phil Keen, who would have to finish outside of GT3’s top-10.



That’s not as fanciful as it might sound given the #72 Huracan has scored just 24 points since squirrelling 80 of the 100 available across Oulton and Snetterton, and also retired early two weeks ago at Spa.



That result was in stark contrast to Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis who, pitstop aside, led from pole to chequered flag in Belgium. Victory moved the Silver Cup duo to within 16 points of De Haan and Cocker, albeit with the caveat of serving the maximum 20s Pitstop Success Penalty this weekend. Should the Lamborghini win, Optimum’s Aston Martin would have to finish no lower than fourth in order to challenge at the final round.



Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam travelled to Spa with a spring in their step after dominating Donington but left with only a handful of points thanks to a brake issue. TF Sport’s Pro knows how to win at Brands – he effectively sealed the 2018 title by doing so last year – but will also be aware that third or lower would knock the #47 Aston Martin out of championship contention in the event De Haan and Cocker win.



It’s a similar scenario for RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod who must finish first to have any hope of featuring in the #DoningtonDecider title scrap. Their job is made doubly difficult by the 15s Success Penalty incurred for finishing second at Spa where Macleod memorably passed Glynn Geddie and Rob Bell during the same incredible move through Eau Rouge and Raidillon.



Two Silver Cup entries featured on the overall podium at Spa, and the second of them – Geddie and Ryan Ratcliffe’s Team Parker Bentley – will also be at Brands despite suffering a heavy accident at the 24 Hours of Spa last weekend. The Continental must serve an additional 10s Pitstop Success Penalty for finishing third there in British GT’s race one week earlier.



With several big names either embroiled in the title battle or serving Success Penalties, Brands Hatch might well be the round that Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell’s McLaren finally wins a British GT race. Only Loggie/Macleod have scored more points in the last four outings, while Balfe’s 720S has been a genuine victory contender in the last three.



Its crew is just 0.5 points behind Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim who have edged their way into the top-six over the second half of this season. The Danish element of TF Sport’s #2 Aston Martin has set fastest lap in each of the last three races, and was also part of the 24 Hours of Spa line-up that won the Pro/Am class last weekend.



Elsewhere, Tom Onslow-Cole joins Team ABBA Racing for the second time this year as super-sub for Adam Christodoulou, who has VLN commitments with Mercedes-AMG. There’s also a change at Beechdean AMR where Andrew Howard is joined by Porsche Carrera Cup France graduate Valentin Hasse-Clot who currently races an Aston Martin in ADAC GT Masters.



However, G-Cat’s Porsche will not appear at Brands Hatch after business commitments forced Shamus Jennings to skip the penultimate round.


Meanwhile, Barwell can clinch the Teams’ title if TF Sport’s Aston Martins fail to outscore the Lamborghinis by four or more points. The gap between them currently stands at 68 points, 3.5 more than available for victory and second place.







- Benjamin Franassovici, photo SRO

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/british-gt3-dibs-de-haan-cocker-lamborghini---194964.html

30.07.2019 / MaP

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