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TF Sport steals the show in dramatic British GT opener

Sunday, April 17 2016

Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston have claimed victory for TS Sport in the opening round of the 2016 British GT Championship on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this afternoon (Sunday), finally sealing the victory following a dramatic race with multiple interruptions. Behind the premier class GT3 machines, Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson claimed victory for Optimum Motorsport in GT4 during the race which was curtailed from its scheduled two-hour running time. 

Pole-sitting 'Bentley Boy' Rick Parfitt Jr led the race initially, followed by Jon Minshaw's Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini, and the Johnston in the TS Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Behind them, Anna Walewska's Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 was immediately pressured by Johnson in Optimum's Ginetta G55 GT4, before he took a class lead the car would hold almost uninterrupted until the end of the race.

By the fourth lap, Minshaw was beginning to place further pressure on the race-leading Bentley, before he was forced to return to the pit-lane on the ninth lap following problems on the track. Fortunately for Lamborghini, Liam Griffin was fast to move towards the front in the second car, moving past Johnston to begin hunting down Parfitt on lap 15.

Unfortunately for the chasers, Parfitt was in exemplary form at the front of the field and head extended his advantage to a margin in excess of 14 seconds by the 22nd lap, at which point the race was interrupted by a full course caution period, following an accident for Phil Dryburgh in Motorbase Performance's Aston Martin. At this stage, Griffin remained second in the Lamborghini, ahead of Johnston, AMDtuning.com BMW-driver Lee Mowle, and Ryan Ratcliffe in Optimum Motorsport's Audi R8 GT3.

Parfitt Jr came in from the lead on lap 29 during the full course yellow, however, by the time his co-driver Seb Morris emerged from the pits, the remaining Barwell Lamborghini, now in the hands of Fabio Babini, and the BMW Z4 of Joe Osborne. All of them were outfoxed though by TF Sport, who managed to sneak Johnston in for a handover to Jonny Adam whilst the pit-lane was empty - this earned them a handful of crucial seconds which were enough to elevate them into the lead.

In GT4, the Optimum Ginetta continued to lead, now in the hands of Mike Robinson.

Adam resumed the race in the lead on lap 37, whilst Osborne immediately surged past Babini into second position. Babini was then hunted down and passed for the final podium spot subsequently by the recovering Morris.

Adam set about laying down the fastest lap times of the race, to pull away from the chasing pack, whilst Osborne was forced to fend off Welsh youngster Morris's best efforts in a thrilling battle which was ended early when the red flag came out when flames erupted from one of Tolman Motorsport's Ginettas late in the race.

Further behind, Ross Gunn drove the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin brilliantly, having taken over from Andrew Howard, rising to fifth position after the pair were forced to start from the back of the grid.

With more than 75% of the race distance completed, a result was declared early with Adam and Johnston as the overall winners.

GT3 Result

1, Johnston/Adam, TF Sport, Aston Martin Vantage, 50 Laps
2, Mowle/Osborne, AMDtuning.com, BMW Z4, +7.067s
3, Parfitt/Morris, Team Parker Racing, Bentley Continental, +7.339s
4, Griffin/Babini, Barwell Motorsport, Lamborghini Huracan, +17.745s
5, Howard/Gunn, Beecdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage, +17.873s

GT4 Result

1, Johnson/Robinson, PMW/Optimum, Ginetta G55, 48 Laps
2, Freke/Walewska, Century Motorsport, Ginetta G55, +1 Lap
3, Stilp/Phillips, RCIB INSURANCE RACING, Ginetta G55, +1 Lap
4, Chadwick/George, Generation AMR Racing, Aston Martin Vantage, +1 Lap
5, Albert/Bartholomew, Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage, +1 Lap 

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