Round 6 - Snetterton —

 

Qualifying Report

The 30-minute session started with a dry track so all cars were on slick tyres. Tom Black driving the Vantage Racing # 24 car set the early pace, he was being chased hard by Desmond Smail in the Mardis Gras # 5 car and Pierre Mantello in the Stratton Motorsports with Immun`age and Osato # 22 car. Stuart Patterson in the # 47 Stratton Motorsport car was also setting some very competitive lap times. As the majority of the grid started to pit for their driver changes it was Chris Kemp and Stuart Hall in car # 91 holding the provisional pole position, Tom Black and Alan Bonner in car # 24 were second and third was Adrian Johnson, Clare Johnson and Peter Snowdon in the Adrian Johnson racing # 14 car. With 10 minutes remaining Olivier Bouche set a very quick time of 2:02.832 which was enough for the provisional pole position, but he wouldn’t hold pole for long as Stuart Hall started to show his real pace setting a 2:00.809 he then bettered this already blistering lap by setting a 1:59.855 to be the only man to break the 2 minute barrier. This meant that it was Chris Kemp and Stuart Hall in the Stratton Motorsport # 91 car that would claim pole position for the first time this season.


Qualifying Result

1. 91 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport - 1:59.855
2. 22 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche - Stratton Motorsport with Immun’age and Osato - 2:02.832
3. 24 Tom Black/Alan Bonner-Vantage Racing - 2:03.175
4. 62 Kenneth Greenberg/Andreas Kramer - Stratton Motorsport with TeamWrinkle200 - 2:06.402
5. 88 Sid Sadique/Paul Whight - Stratton Motorsport with 88 Racing - 2:06.724
6. 47 Mark Walker/Stuart Patterson/Paul Bartley - Stratton Motorsport - 2:08.282
7. 7 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps/Dave West - MB Racing - 2:09.163
8. 14 Adrian Johnson/Clare Johnson/Peter Snowdon - Adrian Johnson Racing - 2:09.729
9. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough - Mardi Gras Motorsport - 2:11.294
10. 8 Ben Gulliver/Dan Shepherd - Aston Martin Racing - 2:11.876

Race Report

The circuit conditions for the 3-hour race were perfect, with all cars starting on slick tyres. Stuart Hall driving the Stratton Motorsport # 91 machine led the field round on the green flag lap and as the lights went out for the race start it was Stuart who led from Olivier Bouche in the Stratton Motorsports with Immun`age and Osato # 22 car, Tom Black in the Vantage Racing # 24 car was third. Paul Cripps in the MB Racing # 7 car had a fantastic start and moved up from seventh on the grid to fifth by the end of the first lap.

Ben Gulliver driving the Aston Martin Racing # 8 car also had a great start moving up from tenth on the grid to eighth by lap 4, this was Ben’s first ever motor race but he was already driving like a seasoned pro. By lap 5 Stuart Hall in car # 91 had already created a 14 second lead; Stuart had to push hard as the # 91 car had been given a 120 second penalty for Stuart being an FIA Gold level driver, this would be broken down into three lots of 40 second sections to be served at the beginning of the cars three mandatory pit stops.

There was a very closely fought battle going on for fifth spot with Sid Sadique in the # 88 Stratton Motorsport with 88 Racing car holding off Kenneth Greenberg in the Stratton Motorsport with TeamWrinkle200 # 62 machine, he in turn was being pushed very hard by Ben Gulliver in car # 8 and Desmond Smail in the Mardi Gras # 5 machine.

Desmond Smail in the # 5 Mardi Gras car was having a great battle with Chris Kemp in the # 91 Stratton Motorsport car and the # 62 Stratton Motorsport with TeamWrinkle200 entry of Kenneth Greenberg.

By Lap 22, Stuart Hall had built up a very impressive lead of over one minute and as he approached the first round of pit stops looked in very good shape. The first to pit was the Aston Martin Racing # 8 machine with Ben Gulliver handing over driving duties to Dan Shepherd; this was Dan’s first race in the GT4 Challenge of Great Britain as he normally races in the Hong Kong touring car championship. Following the # 8 machine into the pit lane was the leader with Stuart Hall, handing over driving duties to Chris Kemp in the Stratton Motorsport car, before Chris could get in the car they had to take their driver penalty of 40 seconds. The rest of the field all started to pit for their first of the three mandatory stops and by lap 28 every one had completed their first pit stops. After everything had settled down it was Chris Kemp driving the # 91 machine leading but he was being chased down by Pierre Mantello now driving the # 22 Stratton Motorsports with Immun`age and Osato car they in turn were being chased down by Alan Bonner now driving the # 24 Vantage Racing car.

Pierre started to catch Chris and by lap 37 had reduced the lead to under a second and on lap 38 he managed to find away passed the # 91 car going down the inside on the way into Hamilton`s bend.

On Lap 53 there was a coming together between Tom Black in car # 24 and Adrian Johnson in car # 14, Tom was lapping the # 14 machine but as Adrian tried to get out of the way going into the Bomb Hole, Tom ran slightly wide on entry, spinning the Vantage Racing car and collecting the Adrian Johnson Racing machine, taking both of them out of the race. Adrian managed to get his car back to the pits but it was too badly damaged to continue, Toms car couldn’t be moved and forced the race director to put out the safety car to aid recovery of the stricken # 24 Aston Martin.

 

The rest of the field used this safety car period to pit for their third and final mandatory pit stops. Pierre Mantello in car # 22 handed back to Olivier Bouche for the final stint and Chris Kemp handed back to Stuart Hall in car # 91 to conclude this thrilling race. As Stuart was heading down the pit lane at 60pkh, the safety car had just joined the start finish straight meaning that the pit lane marshall had no choice but to hold the # 91 car until the crocodile of cars had passed the pit lane exit, this effectively meant that Stuart had lost a complete lap on the leader.

As the cars went for the restart Olivier Bouche in the # 22 car that had a 2 minute lead over Stuart Hall in car # 91 but with only just over 45 minutes remaining this was going to be tough for the Stratton Motorsport # 91 car to reduce the deficit. Stuart was up for the challenge and managed to set the fastest lap of the race on lap 59 setting a 1:59.926 just one tenth of a second off his pole position time, he continued with this very quick pace being on average 2 to 3 seconds quicker per lap than the # 22 car. In third position was the # 7 MB Racing car with Dave West at the wheel after taking over from Mike Brown, who had fought his way through the field. Paul Whight, now driving the # 88 Stratton Motorsport with 88 Racing car was in fourth and was chasing down the # 7 machine. News then came through that at the safety car restart, Paul had overtaken car # 8 before the start finish line, as a result race control gave the # 88 car a driver through penalty on lap 69 taking the pressure off Dave West in the # 7 car.

By lap 77 Stuart Hall had reduced the lead to 1 minute but with only just over 10 minutes remaining was not going to be able to catch Olivier Bouche in car # 22, Stuart had taken just over a minute out of the leader in half an hour which was very impressive. The final battle for position was for sixth place with Ben Gulliver in the Aston Martin Racing # 8 car chasing Desmond Smail in the Mardi Gras # 5 car, Ben was pushing very hard but Des was positioning his car in all the right places making it very difficult for Ben to pass. Dave West in the MB Racing # 7 car was still lying in third but got caught up in this battle for sixth as Ben Gulliver tried to un lap himself going down the inside of the # 7 car into Agostinis he made contact with Dave West but both cars continued.

As the last lap board came out Stuart Hall had reduced the lead to only 45 seconds, but it wouldn’t be enough, as Olivier Bouche and Pierre Mantello who had both driven brilliantly would claim their fifth win of the season. Stuart Hall and Chris Kemp finished in second position; both drivers had driven brilliantlywith Stuart driving his heart out to reduce the gap 37 seconds as the # 91 car crossed the line. Third place went to the # 7 MB Racing car, with Mike Brown, Paul Cripps and Dave West taking their second podium in successive weekends after the team’s GT3 car finished first in class and second overall in the Britcar 24 hour race.

Race Result

1. 22 Pierre Mantello/Olivier Bouche - Stratton Motorsport with Immun’age and Osato - 82 Laps
2. 91 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport - 82 Laps
3. 7 Mike Brown/Paul Cripps/Dave West- MB Racing - 80 Laps
4. 88 Sid Sadique/Paul Whight - Stratton Motorsport with 88 Racing - 80 Laps
5. 47 Mark Walker/Stuart Patterson- Stratton Motorsport - 78 Laps
6. 5 Desmond Smail/Julian Reddyhough - Mardi Gras Motorsport - 78 Laps
7. 8 Ben Gulliver/Dan Shepherd - Aston Martin Racing - 78 Laps
8. 62 Kenneth Greenberg/Andreas Kramer-Stratton Motorsport - 78 Laps
Not Classified 24 Tom Black/Alan Bonner - Vantage Racing - 52 Laps
14 Adrian Johnson/Clare Johnson/Peter Snowdon - Adrian Johnson Racing - 49 Laps

Fastest lap

91 Chris Kemp/Stuart Hall - Stratton Motorsport - 1:59.926