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Keen and Minshaw take opening British GT spoils for Trackspeed

Sunday, June 22 2014

Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw fought their way to victory in the Trackspeed Porsche at Snetterton today (Sunday), in the opening Avon Tyres British GT Championship race, despite a late challenge from the Ecurie Ecosse BMW.

Marco Attard led the field into Riches on the opening lap, with the Trackspeed Porsche of Jody Firth taking second from the AF Corse Ferrari of Pasin Lathouras. The second Trackspeed entry, with Minshaw at the wheel, tracked Lathouras during the opening laps, with Andrew Howard keeping the rest of the GT3 runners in check.

On lap seven the Minshaw Porsche was promoted to second, and now Howard was sizing up the Ferrari, but only succeeding in losing a place to Derek Johnston's Triple 8 BMW. The resulting battle, which ended in contact between the BMW and Ferrari, provided the perfect opportunity for the Trackspeed cars and Ecurie Ecosse BMW to pull clear of the rest.

Just as the pitlane window opened, the M-Sport Bentley stopped out on the circuit, bringing out yellow flags. This led to a number of stops, although Johnston and Howard both remained out on the track, whilst the Ecosse and Trackspeed cars left literally nose-to-tail, with Keen taking over the Minshaw car and leap-frogging both.

The Beechdean Aston was next in, whilst the Johnston Triple 8 BMW continued to lead for one more lap. Once all of the drivers had made their stops, Keen led the race from Jonny Cocker in the Ecosse BMW, with Warren Hughes' Trackspeed Porsche and Luke Hines' BMW following behind.

Hughes was unable to keep up with Keen and Cocker ahead of him and late on in the race his Porsche succumbed to a suspected puncture. As the two leaders fought for position, Hines held station in third place. Meanwhile Richard Abra was unable to take on the cars ahead of him as he was distracted by the presence of Joe Osborne's BMW looming large in his Aston Martin's mirrors. He was unsuccessful in his defence, and the two Triple 8 cars ran third and fourth.

A quartet of Aston Martins behind, in the order of Rory Butcher, John Gaw, Johnny Adam and Michael Caine was interrupted when Matt Bell began to make inroads into the top ten with the United Autosports Audi R8. But his progress was one of stealth, as in the closing stages of the race Cocker's attack on the Porsche of Keen increased in its intensity.

With two laps to go Cocker was as close as he had been, but Keen was just able to keep the Porsche free from striking distance. The BMW almost drew alongside into the Bentley Straight for the final time of asking, and threatened as the cars exited Coram, however Keen was wise to the challenge and claimed the victory.

Rick Parfitt Jr headed the GT4 pack in the opening stages, with class polesitter Ozzy Yusuf holding second place, but he came under increasing attack from Morten Dons in the second Century Motorsport Ginetta. Meanwhile an early spin for Barrie Baxter at the Montreal hairpin left the Team Parker Porsche trailing the field almost from the start.

A good pitstop from the ISSY team handed Gavan Kershaw the advantage and he led Aleksander Schjerpen, who had taken over from Dons, by an increasing margin. Jake Giddings in the Beechdean Aston Martin and Parfitt's team mate Tom Oliphant passed Dons late on to claim the final class podium places.

Race two will take place at 4:25pm today. Click here to download a full result.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship Race one
1, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 GT3 R, Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen, GT3, 32 Laps
2, Ecurie Ecosse, BMW Z4 GT3, Marco Attard/Jonathan Cocker, GT3, +0.583s
3, Triple 8, BMW Z4 GT3, Derek Johnston/Luke Hines, GT3, +17.302s
4, Triple 8, BMW Z4 GT3, Lee Mowle/Joe Osborne, GT3, +17.792s
5, MP Motorsport AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Mark Poole/Richard Abra, GT3, +22.783s
6, PGF - Kinfaun AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Phil Dryburgh/John Gaw, GT3, +33.094s
7, Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam, GT3, +33.740s
8, United Autosports, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, Iain Dockerill/Matt Bell, GT3, +34.031s
9, Oman Racing Team, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Caine, GT3, +41.776s
10, Strata 21, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Paul White/Tom Onslow-Cole, GT3, +49.477s

Tickets for the British GT and F3 Championships at Snetterton on 21/22 June are available on the gate for £22 on Sunday, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, or to book tickets click here.