2 SEAS’ LOGGIE AND GOUNON PREVAIL IN DAMP SECOND RACE AT OULTON BRITISH GT OPENER
Ian Loggie and Jules Gounon claimed victory in round two of this year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship at Oulton Park after seeing off RAM Racing’s early challenge, while RACE LAB’s McLaren won the GT4 class courtesy of debutants Ian Gough and Tom Wrigley.
A wet start and intermittent rain throughout the hour made for tricky conditions, but pole-man Gounon underlined his world-class status by rebuffing Raffaele Marciello before the Swiss ran wide at Island Bend, skated across the grass and narrowly avoided T-boning Academy’s #62 Mustang at Shell. John Ferguson then held off Garage 59’s Alex West over the closing laps to finish second despite earlier serving a stop-go penalty for a short pitstop.
Pro-Am duo Gough and Wrigley were well worth theirs and RACE LAB’s first GT4 wins, although they did benefit from the extra 14 seconds served by Silver crews during the mandatory pitstops. Charles Clark and Jack Brown finished second after a late race battle with DTO’s McLaren shared by Josh Rowledge and Aston Millar.
GT3: 2 SEAS COMPLETES EASTER MONDAY CLEAN SWEEP
With rain falling, Gounon blasted away from pole while Marciello, who started third, passed Dan Harper’s Century BMW around the outside of Shell. His Mercedes-AMG colleague ended lap one 2.9s clear of the rest, and extended that a little over the following laps before Marciello began homing back in.
In truth, the pair were in a league of their own despite the factory contingent behind that now saw Marvin Kirchhoefer ahead of Harper, Ross Gunn, Race 1 winner Jonny Adam and Sandy Mitchell.
Traffic helped Marciello move onto Gounon’s bumper as the race approached one-third distance. But his eagerness to pressure the Frenchman resulted in a wild moment at Island Bend where taking too much inside curb spat RAM’s Mercedes-AMG wide and over the grass before it re-joined at Shell’s apex between two GT4 cars.
He lived to fight another day, and even closed back in on Gounon a little before the driver changes began. 2 Seas’ race leader stopped a lap before RAM’s, meaning Loggie would be getting up to speed while Marciello continued at full speed. And that decision appeared to prove decisive when Ferguson emerged leading by six seconds.
One of those, however, was achieved by being under the minimum pitstop time, which resulted in a swift stop-go penalty. But Gounon and Marciello’s earlier pace advantage over the rest meant RAM’s entry re-joined in second and comfortably ahead of West’s McLaren.
It was plain sailing for 2 Seas thereafter with Loggie winning by 32s to take the joint-championship lead with team-mates James Cottingham and Adam who won Easter Monday’s first race before making second place a three-way battle in the closing stages. 2.6s covered the trio at the chequered flag.
Beechdean AMR’s Gunn and Howard added fifth place to their earlier podium, while Century’s Darren Leung and Harper took their second sixth place of the day. Shaun Balfe and Mitchell finished right behind in the first of Barwell’s Lamborghinis, and Paddock’s McLaren shared by Mark Smith and Martin Plowman completed the top-eight.
Further back, Iain Campbell and James Kell scored theirs and RACE LAB’s second Silver-Am class victory in as many Easter Monday races.
GT4: GOUGH AND WRIGLEY SCORE BIG FOR RACE LAB
Ian Gough and Tom Wrigley produced a controlled performance in difficult conditions to claim both the overall and Pro-Am GT4 victories in the final race of the weekend at Oulton Park after the pair emerged from a tight race-long scrap with Optimum’s McLaren driven by Charles Clark and Jack Brown.
Unlike Race 1, there was little question of what type of tyres the grid would opt for, with almost all runners fitting wet Pirellis as the rain descended right before the start. From pole, Clark made a solid getaway to lead the train of Wrigley, Tom Rawlings’ Paddock McLaren and Seb Hopkins’ R Racing Aston Martin, which had made a flying start to run an early fourth.
The order remained static through the opening stages until Rawlings began to struggle with low tyre pressures, which cost his Artura time and forced him to defend hard from the hordes behind before eventually falling back. But Rawlings’ stout defence also helped the top two forge an advantage early on with Clark and Wrigley near-inseparable until the race leader pitted at the first opportunity.
However, with clean air and also a shorter mandatory pit time for being a Pro-Am pairing, Wrigley stayed out to assume the lead, pumped in some solid laps and then stopped later to hand a healthy lead to Gough, who re-joined a handful of seconds ahead of Clark’s co-driver Jack Brown.
With no Safety Car to bunch the pack, Gough was able to edge clear of Brown and record his, Wrigley and RACE LAB’s first GT4 wins, as well as a maiden triumph for the new Artura.
Behind, Brown started to come under pressure from DTO’s McLaren now driven by Aston Millar. Rowledge had brought the car up to third in the first stint, partly thanks to a late but successful lunge on Hopkins at Lodge, before his co-driver built on that by climbing all over the rear of Brown’s car in the closing stages. He showed the McLaren’s nose several times but couldn’t find a way past. And one final attempt on the run out of Lodge saw Brown take the chequered flag just 0.1s ahead!
Josh Miller took R Racing’s Aston Martin over from Hopkins in fourth and duly went on to finish there, pulling well clear of the chasing James Wallis and Sam Maher-Loughnan’s Drivetac Mercedes-AMG. Team Parker Racing’s Porsche finished sixth in the hands of Dan Vaughan and Zac Meakin, with Matt Cowley and Erik Evans’ Academy Ford Mustang coming home seventh after serving an additional seven-second compensation time handicap for finishing second in Race 1.
Freddie Tomlinson and Stuart Middleton were eighth in Raceway Motorsport’s Ginetta, while Ed McDermott and Michael Broadhurst brought their One Motorsport Mercedes-AMG home ninth overall and second in the Pro-Am class.
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship now heads to Silverstone for its joint-longest race of the year on May 6-7.