Lanan Racing and Alex Reed claimed their second British GT4 victories, and David Pittard his first on debut, following a frenetic second race at Oulton Park. The Ginetta pair finished runners-up on the road but inherited victory as a result of Black Bull Garage 59's Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell having 30s added to their overall race time after falling short of their minimum pitstop time.
It was a similar story for Macmillan AMR’s William Phillips and Jan Jonck whose added time post-race moved In2Racing's Marcus Hoggarth and Matthew Graham, as well as PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport's Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, into the podium places after they originally finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The race began with pole-sitter Mike Simpson making contact with Haggerty who was then tagged by Martin Plowman's UltraTek Nissan and finally rear-ended by Joe Osborne. The latter collision resulted in the Tolman Motorsport McLaren losing its bonnet and Haggerty having to re-start his car after the force of the impact cut its transmission.
While Haggerty dropped back a fabulous seven-car battle developed at the front. Simpson's battle-scarred Century Motorsport Ginetta retained the lead initially until Plowman forced his way past. That brought Scott Malvern's Team Parker Racing Porsche into contention but he only succeeded in tagging the back of the Ginetta, which went spinning on the exit of Cascades.
Plowman used that tangle to make good his escape at the front, and when he pitted the UltraTek Nissan enjoyed a five second lead over nearest rival Adam Mackay whose track-club McLaren would have to serve a 10s success penalty for winning Race 1.
No-one at that stage was looking at the #100 Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren which, in Haggerty's hands, had spent the opening stint making up lost ground. The Scot pitted early from ninth and changed on to fresh tyres that Mitchell then used to take chunks of time out of those ahead, as well as set the Sunoco Fastest Race Lap of the Weekend. He was up to second once the stops had shaken out and passed Reed on-track for the lead before Neary and Short’s race-ending incident.
The Safety Car prevented Mitchell from serving his team's penalty, which translated into the 30s post-race penalty that promoted Reed and Pittard. They'd originally pitted from third after running behind Plowman and Mackay before the stops, but emerged with the lead before Mitchell closed in.
Hoggarth and Graham finished fourth on the road behind Phillips and Jonck after battling in the the lead group during the opening stint, but claimed second when both the Macmillan AMR Aston and race-winning McLaren were penalised. Reigning champions Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson inherited their second podium in as many races to maintain their record of never finishing lower than third at Oulton, while William Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton backed up their Race 1 rostrum with fourth for HHC Motorsport.
Black Bull Garage 59's Dean Macdonald and Akhil Rabindra enjoyed a consistent run to fifth ahead of Race 1 winners Balon and Mackay, who pitted from second but lost time while serving their 10s success penalty. Haggerty and Mitchell's additional 30s dropped them to seventh ahead of the similarly penalised Phillips and Jonck who finished ahead of UltraTek's Plowman and Taffinder who faded after the stops. Malvern and co-driver Nick Jones recovered to complete the top-10.
Alex Reed, #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta G55 GT4: "I thought I'd thrown away the win by spinning when Sandy came past but then hoped the Safety Car might give us a second chance. Then my engineer said the McLaren had been penalised and I couldn’t believe it! I hope the TV caught my spin because it's probably the highlight of my year - a proper 360 at Druids that I somehow gathered up. I got very, very lucky with that. Crazy day for everyone."
Round three of this season's British GT Championship takes place at Rockingham on April 29/30.
Photo credit: BRDC British F3 and British GT