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August 21, 2017

Keen and Minshaw Win the Race, Attard the Title at Donington

Keen and Minshaw Win the Race, Attard the Title at Donington

 

In yet another frenetic British GT Championship finish, Marco Attard left Donington Park well rested for the celebration of his championship. The Ecurie Ecosse man retired his BMW Z4 GT3 after just a handful of laps, but his points tally was not overhauled. Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings survived a late fuel scare, and they were crowned GT4 champions.

On the day, it was Trackspeed who made it two from two, as the Demon Tweeks pairing of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw avenged their Brands Hatch luck with victory. Similarly, Tom Oliphant and Rick Parfitt Jnr – who’ve experienced their fair share of poor luck in 2014 – finally took a victory in the last race of the season.

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Ecurie Ecosse and BMW brought the major drama of the day. Their Z4 GT3 suffered an engine failure in warm up, leaving Attard chewing at his nails for the time between that session and the race that would decide the destination of the championship. In a remarkable two and a half hours – a time one BMW engineer reckoned could possibly be a record – they got the car fixed. It made it to the grid, smoking as the excess oil and water burned off.

However, the smoke didn’t stop and after a few laps of running in second place Attard pitted the car and retired with a gearbox issue, apparently a residual issue caused by the engine change. That left Ahmad Al-Harthy and Michael Caine in pole position for the title – if they won and Attard didn’t score, they would be champions.

Al-Harthy led throughout his stint and Liam Griffin in the sister car was able to back the competition up – important, as the leading car would be forced to take 15 second success penalty from the Brands Hatch round. Principle challenger was Minshaw, who was close to Griffin but never quite close enough to pass.

After the stops, Caine emerged in the lead but only had a couple of seconds over Keen’s Porsche. With Ollie Hancock closing in the FF Corse Ferrari started by Gary Eastwood, Keen made his move, with Hancock swiftly compounding Caine’s misery by stealing second place too. As the race continued, Caine slipped back and Matt Bell was charging – he snuck through and took third with Mark Patterson in the latter’s final race for United Autosport.

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In GT4, Morten Dons and Alexander Schjerpen looked set to take victory before a wishbone failure forced them to retire shortly before the end. That left Devon Modell in pole position in the TF Sport Aston he shares with Andrew Jarman, but the white car spun under pressure. Tom Oliphant, who finally took his and Rick Parfitt Jnr’s first victory of the 2014 season in the Century Ginetta, exerted that pressure and benefitted from the Dane’s mistake.

Jarman and Modell ended second, while Ade Barwick and Bradley Ellis took third in their Twisted Team Parker Ginetta. The Twisted pair benefitted from the caution of Beechdean, who pitted Giddings with a few laps to go to top him up with fuel, just to ensure he finished the race. He and Wylie had to finish seventh or lower to lose the title, and at that time only six cars were running in the GT4 class – a safe bet!

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Full report to follow.

 

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