8 July 2017

Spa Race 2: Loggie/Macleod claim maiden GT3 win as Graham/Fagg double up

Spa Race 2: Loggie/Macleod claim maiden GT3 win as Graham/Fagg double up

> Team Parker Bentley duo revel in first British GT victory
> No stopping Ebor GT’s Maserati in GT4
> Result: Race 2
> Points: GT3 | GT4


Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod broke their British GT Championship duck by claiming a maiden GT3 victory with Team Parker Racing and Bentley in today day’s second race at Spa-Francorchamps. Meanwhile, Charlie Fagg and Matthew Graham’s Ebor GT Maserati sealed a second class win in the space of just over four hours in Belgium.


Jon Minhsaw might have added to his Race 1 victory but span out of the lead following contact with a GT4 car, which allowed Team WRT’s Alain Ferte and Stuart Leonard to claim their second runners-up spot of the day. They took the chequered flag just 0.3s behind the winning Continental GT3, while Macmillan AMR’s Jack Mitchell and James Littlejohn completed the overall podium a further 11.8s behind.


HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton went one better than their GT4 third place in Race 1 by passing David Pattison and Joe Osborne’s Tolman Motorsport McLaren on the final lap.


GT3: LOGGIE AND MACLEOD FINALLY FULFIL POTENTIAL


Winning the day’s first race meant Minshaw and Barwell Motorsport co-driver Phil Keen carried a 10s pitstop success penalty into the second. And having survived the opening lap onslaught, the latter duly set about converting pole position into a lead big enough to negate the handicap.

While the Lamborghini pulled clear, Carlo van Dam - up two places from fourth on the grid - held off front-row starter Macleod, the second Barwell Huracan driven by Patrick Kujala, Jonny Adam’s TF Sport Aston Martin and Seb Morris, who dropped from third to sixth at the start in Team Parker’s championship-chasing Bentley.

Meanwhile, Stuart Leonard - who was relegated six places on the grid for a Race 1 infringement - benefitted from lap one contact at Les Combes between Ryan Ratcliffe and Adam Christodoulou, which also subsequently involved Sam Tordoff. Seventh then became sixth just before the pitstops when Kujala retired.

Keen’s rapid opening stint ensured Minshaw retained the lead after the pit window closed despite remaining stationary for 10s longer than Loggie. However, the Bentley was on a charge and had slashed the gap from 4.4s to 0.9s when the Lamborghini spun while trying to avoid a recovering GT4 car.

Alain Ferte also moved into contention after the pitstops and benefitted from Rick Parfitt Jnr - who would have inherited second from Minshaw - picking up a drive-through penalty for multiple track limits violations across his and Morris’ stints. But although the Team WRT Audi kept Loggie honest over the closing laps, the Scot never looked overly threatened after backing off.

Fourth might have gone to Van Dam and Kessel Racing co-driver Piti Bhirombhakdi, but the pair had 30s added to their race time at the chequered flag in lieu of a drive-through penalty for a short pitstop.

Instead, the spate of issues and penalties played into the hands of Macmillan AMR whose Silver Cup pairing of James Littlejohn and Jack Mitchell came through from 11th to finish on the podium. It was a similar story for TF Sport’s Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes, and the Kornely Motorsport Mercedes-AMG driven by Kenneth Heyer and Patrick Assenheimer, who kept their noses clean to complete the top-five.

Adam and Derek Johnston were sixth in the second of TF Sport’s Aston Martins after the latter half-spun while attempting to pass Bhirombhakdi’s Ferrari. They finished ahead of Morris and Parfitt Jnr - whose penalty was compounded by spinning in avoidance of Minshaw’s stationary Lamborghini - and the penalised Kessel Ferrari. Minshaw recovered to pinch ninth from Lee Mowle’s AMDtuning.com Mercedes-AMG in the closing stages.

Minshaw and Keen therefore increase their championship lead from four to 12 points over Parfitt Jnr and Morris, while another podium for Mitchell and Littlejohn lifts them up to third, albeit 47.5 behind the leaders.

Elsewhere, Morris won the Sunoco Fastest Lap Award, and set a new British GT3 benchmark for Spa, with his Race 1 best of 2m18.821s, while Loggie’s Race 2 performance earned him the Blancpain Gentleman Driver of the Weekend trophy.


GT4: DOUBLE TOP FOR EBOR GT’S GRAHAM AND FAGG

Matthew Graham and Charlie Fagg repeated their trick of charging through from a lowly grid slot to claim back-to-back GT4 victories aboard their Ebor GT Maserati.

This time it was Graham who picked his way through in the fast GranTurismo MC to lead by the end of his opening stint after passing Joe Osborne’s pole-sitting Tolman Motorsport McLaren. An extra 24s in the pits - 14 for being a Silver Cup entry and an another 10 for winning Race 1 - meant Fagg resumed post-driver change in eighth. But that wasn’t enough to prevent Ebor GT’s entry from making up lost ground.

Osborne’s fast opening stint and lower minimum pitstop time gave his Am co-driver David Pattison a chance to stay ahead of the chasing Silver Cup drivers. Academy Motorsport’s Will Moore initially closed in and passed the McLaren before being handed a stop/go penalty for failing to serve the minimum pitstop time. Fagg was next on the scene and duly nipped through, but it wasn't until the final lap that Will Tregurtha finally found a way past to give himself and HHC Motorsport co-driver Stuart Middleton a second podium of the weekend and, with it, the GT4 championship lead.

Pattison and Osborne still collected an overall podium and GT4 Pro/Am victory ahead of Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson who converted a lowly grid slot into fourth.

Macmillan AMR’s Jan Jonck started second but dropped to sixth in the opening stint before co-driver William Phillips brought their Aston Martin home fifth, while Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed and David Pittard were another crew in the thick of things before the pitstops en route to sixth.

Academy’s drive-through penalty dropped Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones to seventh in the final standings, although their victory challenge before then owed much to the latter jumping from sixth to third at the start. Marcus Hoggarth and Jesse Anttila ran second early on before slipping to eighth but still came home one place ahead of In2Racing team-mates Jacques Duyver and Charlie Hollings. UltraTek/RJN’s Richard Taffinder and Martin Plowman rounded out the top-10.

Competing for a race-by-race entry meant neither Graham or Fagg scored the combined 50 points they would have done for winning both races. Instead, the full 25 available for Race 2 transfer to Tregurtha and Middleton who have jumped from third to first in the GT4 standings, 2.5 points clear of erstwhile leaders Reed and Pittard. A point-less weekend for previous championship contenders Adam Balon and Adam Mackay, as well as Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell, see reigning champions Johnson and Robinson promoted to third.

Graham claimed the Sunoco Fastest Lap Award and a new British GT4 race record thanks to the blistering 2m31.706s he set in Race 1, while track-club earned the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend accolade after spending Friday night and early hours of this morning repairing their McLaren’s blown turbo in time for Race 1.

Brands Hatch hosts British GT’s penultimate round of the season on August 5/6.


DRIVER QUOTES

Ian Loggie, #7 Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3: “That win has been a long time coming. There were a lot of mistakes at the start of the year but we’ve really got on top of the car and Team Parker have done a phenomenal job - I feel like I can push it to the absolute limit now, which was proven by posting quicker lap times around here than I’ve ever done before. I know Jon [Minshaw] spun but I felt like it was only a matter of time before I passed him. The gap was coming down lap after lap. From there I backed off a bit too much, which allowed the Audi to close in. But everything was under control!”


Matthew Graham, #60 Ebor GT Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4:
 “It’s been pretty amazing, to be honest. We were really gutted after the problems in qualifying prevented us from setting a time after topping both practice sessions. We didn’t expect to win the first race, and definitely not the second with the extra pitstop success time, but I got my head down and enjoyed the battle, which is exactly what it was. I feel like Charlie [Fagg], the team and I have all done a really good job this weekend. I’m also over the moon to have won the Sunoco Fastest Lap Award.”