LANAN ENJOY MAIDEN GT4 GLORY IN BELGIUM


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Spa marked Lanan Racing's first GT success since joining the championship – Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Alex Reed, Joey Foster and Lanan Racing recorded their maiden British GT4 Championship victories at Spa-Francorchamps earlier today after a flawless performance aboard their Ginetta G55 helped them claim a 4.3s victory over PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson.

Third place went to Generation AMR Macmillan Racing’s Jack Mitchell and Matthew Graham on a day when domestic entries filled the top seven positions in the combined British GT and GT4 European Series classification.

That would have likely been eight had the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S that dominated the opening stint not ground to a halt just before the pit-stop window opened after 50 minutes, leaving pole-sitters Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty to once again rue what might have been.

Instead, it was Lanan Racing who were left celebrating after winning their first British GT race since entering the series at the start of 2016. The huge 42-car combined GT4 entry meant it was anything but straight forward, although neither Reed or Foster were ever challenged after the McLaren retired from the lead.

18-year-old Reed, who lined-up second, maintained that position throughout the opening stint. Although never able to challenge Mitchell, he pitted with a 20-second advantage over Johnson’s chasing Ginetta, which had lined up fourth before passing Anna Walewska’s Century Motorsport Ginetta soon after the start.

With no pit success penalties for either crew to serve, Foster and Robinson emerged from their respective stops separated by roughly the same margin. And although the latter was able to halve the gap over the final stint, the relatively slender winning margin owed much to Foster’s cautious final laps.

A consistent, trouble-free and fast race also earned Mitchell and Graham their second GT4 podium of the season. Mitchell started sixth of the British GT runners, but 15th in the combined class classification, and spent much of the first half of his stint focusing on tyre preservation. That would pay off for his co-driver after the pit-stops when Graham emerged third before stroking the Ginetta home.

Marcus Hoggarth and Abbie Eaton’s Ebor GT Maserati MC GranTurismo was 20 seconds further back in fourth after starting seventh of the British GT runners and one place behind Mitchell and Graham’s Aston overall, while William Phillips and Jordan Stilp’s RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta led home the sister G55 of Rob Barrable and Aaron Mason.

Walewska and Nathan Freke’s Century Motorsport Ginetta finished seventh on the road but, under Belgian regulations, was docked 30 seconds for overtaking under yellow flags. Nevertheless, that wasn’t enough for erstwhile championship leaders Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert to move up one place from eighth.

Century’s second entry driven by Sean Byrne and Aleksander Schjerpen was ninth, one place clear of Nick Jones and Scott Malvern’s Team Parker Racing Porsche Cayman.

Sandy Mitchell underlined his and the McLaren 570S’s pace by claiming the Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race – a 2m34.552s – which was also a new British GT4 lap record for Spa.

All of that means Johnson and Robinson return to the top of the GT4 standings on 114.5 points, 17.5 clear of Bartholomew and Jordan.

Tom Hornsby