Fox’s Halstead and Stanley tentatively claim first GT3 win at Spa
> GT4 victory maintains recent form for Day, Miller and R Racing
> Race result: Spa-Francorchamps
Nick Halstead and Jamie Stanley tentatively scored theirs and Fox Motorsport’s first Intelligent Money GT3 British Championship wins with a clear round at Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon.
Racing on appeal, the McLaren 720S GT3 beat 2 Seas Motorsport’s James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson by 5.2 seconds after Halstead swept the outside of the Mercedes-AMG into Eau Rouge just before the pit window opened . Jules Gounon and Ian Loggie completed the podium for RAM Racing to extend the latter’s championship lead.
Further on, Jamie Day and Josh Miller continued their good form and that of R Racing by taking a second victory in three races. Day overtook Tom Edgar on the second stint before breaking free of the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra, which led the opening hour at the hands of Jordan Collard.
However, the car would not feature on the overall podium. Instead, Team Parker Racing’s Seb Hopkins and Jamie Orton finished second and ahead of Team BRIT’s Aaron Morgan and Bobby Trundley, who also took their first Pro-Am victory.
GT3: FOX IN THE BOX (SEAT) AT THE SPA
Halstead and Stanley’s road to victory has not been easy in Belgium, and an appeal against a qualifying penalty for the #40 McLaren means their victory remains tentative pending a National Court hearing. But, for now at least, the duo can be content with what turned out to be an outstanding team effort to fight back after a rocky start.
Halstead lined up in the front row alongside Adam Balon whose Barwell co-driver Sandy Mitchell had been the only driver to beat Stanley’s qualifying time. When the lights went out, the Lamborghini held on to its lead in The Source as James Cottingham got the better of Halstead on the exit of the first corner to move into second.
Halstead then found himself in the middle of a frantic battle with Graham Davidson’s McLaren Paddock Motorsport, Morgan Tillbrook’s Enduro 720S and Alex Malykhin’s Porsche Redline. At one point Halstead raced up to fifth as the cars changed positions, but soon began to climb back in order.
He was helped when contact between Davidson and Tillbrook’s McLaren tipped the Enduro car into a spin at the bus stop, earning the Paddock entrance a stop-and-go penalty. go which Davidson served shortly after briefly taking the lead in the race. With these two out of the race, Halstead followed a fierce battle between the top two.
Cottingham found a way past Balon before Halstead followed suit and set off in pursuit of the Mercedes-AMG of 2 Seas. Halstead then pulled away in the race to Eau Rouge and eventually took the lead at Raidillon to take a lead the car would never lose.
Indeed, the advantage had increased to six seconds by the time Stanley boarded, while Lewis Williamson did the same for 2 Seas. The gap fluctuated a bit thereafter, but never more than a few seconds as Stanley managed his pace until the finish.
While the Fox riders took the road victory, the race results will remain provisional until the team’s appeal against its qualifying penalty is heard in National Court. In such cases, rule 12.3.3.A of the International Sporting Code specifies that no competitor or driver may take part in the prize-giving or podium ceremonies. It’s what kept the Fox drivers from appearing in the usual post-race celebrations.
The fight for third was effectively decided by Success Penalties. With the Lamborghini Barwell and Porsche Redline having to serve extra seconds during their stops, the door was left wide open for RAM Racing and Ian Loggie to take advantage.
The championship leader took no chances during his stint, happy to sit behind both cars knowing their respectively longer stops would allow the No6 Mercedes-AMG to blast them both into the pits. When Loggie finally came up against Jules Gounon, the Frenchman rumbled into a safe third and set the fastest lap of the race en route to the final step of the podium.
It was a big day for Loggie, who – despite the interim result – will increase their points lead thanks to their closest rivals who have struggled. Michael Igoe and Phil Keen’s Lamborghini WPI endured a scorching weekend, with Igoe taking a stop-go for contact that sent Mia Flewitt into the Raidillon tire wall, and Keen then suffering a nasty crash at the same corner that put the car out. The Enduro McLaren of Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton also retired following a puncture.
Balon and Mitchell recovered to finish fourth after a 15 second hit penalty delayed their progress. Balon led before the mid-race safety car period, which was needed while Flewitt’s 7TSIX McLaren was recovered, before falling back behind Cottingham, Halstead and Malykhin.
Redline’s Porsche would then go wheel-to-wheel with Barwell’s Lamborghini after the stops when Mitchell was desperate for a way to pass James Dorlin. Theirs was one of the best battles in racing and the one that ultimately went the way of the 2020 champion.
Malykhin and Dorlin finished fifth overall and first in Silver-Am entries, a result that was helped by a late passing penalty for RAM Racing’s other Mercedes-AMG of John Ferguson and Ulysse de Pauw, who had away from the limits of the track once. too. Either way, they finished just behind their class title rivals in sixth.
GT4: THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF R RACING PROVE THEIR TITLE
Miller and Day proved their historic win at Snetterton was no fluke by triumphing again two races later, which – along with results elsewhere – catapulted the 16-year-old into the hunt for the GT4 title.
Marco Signoretti played the lead in qualifying but fell from pole to sixth on the opening lap. One of those who passed the Academy Mustang was Jordan Collard who lined up sixth, finished the first lap in second and then relieved Steller Motorsport’s Richard Williams from the lead the next time around.
The Toyota stayed in the lead for the remainder of a stint interrupted by the safety car, but couldn’t shake off a train of drivers led by Miller, the recovering Signoretti and Orton who all passed Williams during the lap. first hour.
Williams then pitted at the first opportunity while the rest of the top four pitted one lap later. The Academy’s passing penalty meant Matt Cowley rejoined eighth, which lifted Hopkins to a provisional podium spot behind newly installed day and race leader Edgar.
But all three were quickly caught by a fast-paced Sennan Fielding who had set the fastest time in qualifying. The Audi passed Team Parker’s Porsche and then Aston Martin R Racing before a 10-second penalty was awarded to Steller for a pit stop safety breach.
Edgar’s relief will be short-lived, however, despite his valiant efforts to fend off Day, who eventually found a way past the Supra with 28 minutes of the two hours remaining. Hopkins was next, but he also found the Toyota to be a badass, which helped Bobby Trundley shut them down.
The BRIT team McLaren finished the first stint in 12th position, but moved up the standings thanks to its shorter minimum stop time and driver change without penalty. Trundley thus won fifth and resolutely defended Darren Turner’s place. But as the stint developed, the McLaren began to pull away and achieve a podium finish in the overall standings once Fielding served his stoppage penalty.
There were less than 10 minutes left when the second, third and fourth place cars drove together. But when Hopkins finally found a way through, Edgar’s resistance was broken and Trundley leapt to claim the final step on the grandstand alongside his co-driver Morgan.
Attention then turned to Fielding, who had made significant progress since moving up to eighth place. He and Turner quickly headed for the Toyota, which enjoyed a slim advantage at the start of what became a frantic final lap between the trio. But as the Audi managed to move into fourth – a potentially decisive moment in this year’s title battle – Edgar trailed Turner by just 0.077 seconds.
The Academy passing penalty left Cowley and Signoretti seventh, one place ahead of Herberth’s guest Porsche.
The GT4 classification is not affected by the provisional result at Spa, which will only impact the GT3 category. As such, only two points now unofficially cover the top three crews. Topham and Turner remain first at 116.5, while the victory lifted Miller and Day into second place – one point ahead of Williams and Fielding.
There are just two races left in this year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship campaign, which continues at Brands Hatch on September 10-11.