British GT3 - Davidson/Adam surge into title contention with Brands Hatch victory

British GT3 - Davidson/Adam surge into title contention with Brands Hatch victory

04.08.2019: While it was Adam who ultimately took the chequered flag to secure a record 16th British GT3 and overall win, Davidson was the real architect of today's victory. Much of the hard work was completed during the opening sequence of corners, with the fourth-p

 
While it was Adam who ultimately took the chequered flag to secure a record 16th British GT3 and overall win, Davidson was the real architect of today's victory. Much of the hard work was completed during the opening sequence of corners, with the fourth-place starter snatching third from Sam De Haan (#69 Barwell Lamborghini) by holding the outside line around Paddock Hill Bend and pulling clear on the exit.



He remained on the outside to take second spot at Druids by driving around Shaun Balfe’s McLaren, which had already slipped from first to second when Ollie Wilkinson pulled clear on the run to Paddock Hill.



Davidson was kept honest by Balfe throughout the opening phase of the race. The McLaren filled the #47 Aston’s mirrors while Wilkinson edged away at the front, only for the Optimum driver to spin shortly before the 20-minute mark. This dropped Wilkinson to fourth on the road just as the race was neutralised following a heavy accident for Glynn Geddie (#7 Team Parker Bentley), who lost control while negotiating traffic. Fortunately, the Team Parker driver was able to walk away unaided.



Thus Davidson led at the restart and, after resisting pressure from Balfe, managed to edge away at the head of the order. His rapid progress through traffic would prove crucial, with the Aston seeming to make better work of the GT4 pack than his pursuers. Indeed, Davidson would receive the Blancpain Driver of the Weekend award for his efforts during the opening hour.



Adam therefore began his stint in a strong position, with the TF Aston’s advantage climbing to five seconds shortly after the driver changes had concluded. It did not drop below this mark for the remainder of the race, as Adam mirrored Davidson's smooth progress through traffic on his way to victory.



The Aston crossed the line comfortably clear of Rob Bell, who took a third top-three finish of 2019 in the McLaren he shares with Balfe but ultimately fell just short of securing the 720S’s maiden victory on home soil.


 
The #3 Century Motorsport BMW completed the podium thanks to an excellent showing from Angus Fender and Jack Mitchell. Both drove excellently, though Fender's performance in what was his first outing aboard GT3 machinery was particularly impressive. Mitchell, meanwhile, was able to resist late pressure from a hard-charging Phil Keen, who emerged victorious from the race's most entertaining battle.



Barwell’s Lamborghini factory ace had taken over from Adam Balon, who made good progress from ninth on the grid to climb to sixth by the end of his stint. This left Keen disputing the same piece of tarmac as team-mate and title rival Jonny Cocker, who had replaced Sam De Haan in the sister Huracan.



Barwell’s team-mates battled for the entirety of the second hour, scything through the GT4 pack while remaining nose-to-tail. Cocker defended perfectly throughout and looked to have fourth wrapped up until Keen made an audacious final-lap move to snatch the position around the outside of Hawthorns. This cost Cocker dearly, as the #69 Lamborghini lost momentum and dropped to eighth at the chequered flag.



This had major championship implications, with Balon/Keen moving to 122 points ahead of the title decider at Donington Park. Their nearest challengers will be Davidson and Adam, whose Brands Hatch victory sees them surge into contention with 116 points but with the caveat of a 20s Pitstop Success Penalty. De Haan/Cocker now have 110.5 after the latter's final lap problems proved costly, while Balfe/Bell and Wilkinson/Ellis must win on the final weekend to have any chance of upsetting the odds.



The #6 RAM Racing crew is no long in contention, but Callum Macleod nevertheless finished with a flourish at Brands Hatch by taking the Sunoco Fastest Lap Award aboard his Mercedes-AMG.



While the overall title battle will go to the finale, the Silver Cup championship has been decided in favour of Wilkinson/Ellis. Despite falling out of contention for victory at Brands Hatch, the Optimum Motorsport duo nevertheless did enough at the Kent track to capture their class crown with a round to spare courtesy of a 37.75-point advantage – 0.25 points more than still available at Donington.






Benjamin Franassovici, photo SRO

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/british-gt3-davidson-adam-brands-hatch-victory---195300.html

04.08.2019 / MaP

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