MACMILLAN AMR TAKE MAIDEN BRITISH GT4 WIN AT BRANDS HATCH
A superb effort by both Jan Jonck and William Phillips netted their first British GT success – Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Macmillan AMR made up for their GT3 disappointment by claiming a first British GT4 victory at Brands Hatch after two standout drives by Jan Jonck and William Phillips. Tolman Motorsport’s David Pattison and Joe Osborne also fought through to finish second ahead of HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton, who extended their championship lead.
But there was disappointment for Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed and David Pittard whose podium chances, and title hopes, were hit by a broken steering arm.
GT4 served up a cracking race from start to finish, with multiple cars and marques often squabbling for the same front-running positions. Black Bull Garage 59’s Sandy Mitchell led from lap two until the pitstops after relieving pole-sitter Will Moore of first, but behind the battle was soon raging as the Academy Motorsport driver repeatedly repelled the advances of Pittard, Niall Murray’s Century Ginetta and Middleton.
The action was briefly quelled by a Safety Car, dispatched when Moore’s race came to an early end after his Aston Martin crawled to a halt on Hawthorn Hill, but when it resumed the racing was just as fierce.
That was mainly thanks to Phillips who spent the early laps climbing from 10th to fifth before joining the lead fight as the Safety Car was called. Murray passed him at the restart but the Macmillan AMR driver regrouped and had soon dispatched the #43 Ginetta and Middleton.
Third then became second when Pittard – who had been hassling Mitchell for the lead – was forced into the pits with a broken steering arm. Lanan were able to repair the car, albeit at the expense of several laps and a points-paying finish.
Mitchell pitted just ahead of Phillips, and their respective co-drivers Ciaran Haggerty and Jonck rejoined the fray with the order unchanged. The Aston Martin was clearly faster, but its Danish driver was content to bide his time before making a successful lunge at Druids with just 15 minutes remaining.
While Jonck scampered clear, Haggerty was left to defend from a hard charging Osborne whose co-driver Pittard had started sixth but dropped behind the Silver-graded crews during the opening stint. But not even the Tolman pair’s 10s success penalty could hold back Osborne who, having set the fastest time in qualifying, continued to lap quickly once aboard in the race.
Indeed, having first picked off Tregurtha and track-club’s Adam Balon, and then benefited from Jacob Mathiassen’s stop/go penalty, the McLaren set about bridging its 14s deficit to Jonck and Haggerty. Osborne arrived on the latter’s tail with just over 10 minutes remaining and dispatched him at Druids before attempting to reel in Jonck. But the Dane was equal to the challenge and eventually took the chequered flag 2.4s clear.
Tregurtha also found a way past Haggerty on the penultimate lap, although the Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren’s afternoon would end in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel trap after Haggerty lost control on the final lap. That handed fourth to track-club’s Mackay and Adam Balon, who finished second in Pro/Am behind Pattison/Osborne, while Nick Jones and Scott Malvern’s Team Parker Porsche claimed its best result of the season in fifth.
Rob Boston Racing, Adam Gore and Jason Baker ended an impressive British GT4 debut in sixth, Mitchell and Haggerty were classified seventh despite the latter’s accident, and Murray/Mathiassen recovered from their 20s stop/go penalty – incurred for an unsafe pitstop release – to claim eighth.
The UltraTek/RJN Nissan driven by Tim Eakin and Kelvin Fletcher was ninth, while Adam Hatfield and Benjamin Wallace’s Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta rounded out the top-10.
Today’s results help HHC’s Tregurtha and Middleton carry a considerable 25-point lead into Donington’s season finale on September 23/24. Lanan’s Reed and Pittard are the only other crew still in title contention but must finish no lower than second to have any chance of overhauling their Ginetta rivals.
Tom Hornsby (Source: British GT)