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Lamborghini duo heat up GT title battle at Snetterton

Sunday, October 04 2020

Adam Balon and Phil Keen kept themselves in championship contention by becoming 2020's first repeat Intelligent Money British GT3 winners in today's second wet race at Snetterton. Meanwhile, Jordan Collard and Patrik Matthiesen head to the #SilverstoneShowdown just 2.5 points behind GT4 leaders Jamie Caroline and Dan Vaughan after HHC's McLaren beat TF Sport's Aston Martin to class victory.

Lamborghinis finished one-two overall thanks to WPI Motorsport, Michael Igoe and Andrea Caldarelli who were joined on the podium by championship leaders Patrick Kujala and Sam De Haan. The RAM Racing duo lead closest rivals Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell by six points after a seatbelt issue during the pitstops cost Barwell's Black Bull-backed Huracan 20 seconds and a probable podium.

Further back, Connor O'Brien and Patrick Kibble also remain in GT4 contention after claiming their second third place finish of the day.

Barwell and Lamborghini's knack of winning at Snetterton continued in today's second race where Adam Balon and Phil Keen claimed their third win in four attempts.

Sandy Mitchell's exceptional qualifying lap denied Keen pole. However, the latter was immediately on the front foot at the start and swept around the outside of his team-mate as the pack filed through Riches for the first time.

The Huracan has always performed well in cold, damp conditions and soon both of Barwell's were away and gone from a pack headed by RAM Racing's Yelmer Buurman. Andrea Caldarelli (WPI Motorsport) and Patrick Kujala (RAM) continued from where they'd started while Race 1 winner Jack Mitchell (2 Seas Motorsport) moved into sixth ahead of Joe Osborne (Balfe Motorsport). The top-seven would remain unchanged throughout the opening stint.

Behind, Ollie Wilkinson was engaged in a thrilling battle for eighth with Angus Fender and, latterly, Michael O'Brien. 2 Seas' McLaren was repeatedly rebuffed by Optimum's example before finding a way past, only to lose the place again just before pitting.

By that point Keen had moved eight seconds clear of Mitchell who'd negated his seven-second Success Penalty to Buurman behind. Barwell's Lamborghinis should, therefore, have resumed one-two after the stops only for a seatbelt issue to cost the #78 Huracan approximately 20 seconds.

The upshot was a 30-second lead for Balon who stroked it home while others battled behind.

RAM's Ian Loggie - who'd taken over from Buurman - slotted into second but was immediately under pressure from Michael Igoe. The Mercedes-AMG looked to have seen off WPI's threat before the Lamborghini's renewed presence and Igoe's persistence saw Loggie run wide and drop to fourth behind team-mate De Haan.

Loggie's attention now turned to helping out the sister car's championship challenge by keeping Rob Collard at bay. The seatbelt issue had cost Barwell's other Huracan three positions and a potential victory shot, but try as he might there was no way to dislodge the resolute Mercedes-AMG.

Jenson Team Rocket RJN's O'Brien and James Baldwin retain a mathematical title shot by completing the top-six after the latter passed Jordan Witt in the second stint. And 2 Seas' #10 McLaren ultimately dropped to eighth when Optimum's Lewis Proctor also nipped past on the final lap.

The second 2 Seas 720S and Balfe's McLaren shared by Osborne and Stewart Proctor rounded out the top-10.

All of that leaves De Haan and Kujala six points clear of Mitchell and Collard with 37.5 to play for at Silverstone's three-hour season finale on November 7/8. Balon and Keen are a further 5.5 points adrift while Baldwin and O'Brien must win and hope other results go their way to have any chance of overturning a 34-point deficit.

Meanwhile, Balon and Keen lead Pro/Am title rivals Loggie and Buurman by just one point. Igoe is also still in contention, albeit 25.5 points off the lead.

Click here for full race result.