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Carroll and Griffin steal the prize in first British GT race at Oulton Park

Monday, May 30 2016

Adam Carroll and Liam Griffin claimed their first British GT Championship win of the season onboard a Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan in a dramatic hour-long opener at Oulton Park, with blend of clever strategy and imperious front-running pace late in the race.

It was the sister car of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen which appeared to have the initial advantage in the race, with Minshaw storming into an early lead from pole position, whilst Rick Parfitt Jr slotted into second position in his Bentley Continental GT3. Griffin tailed the leading duo early on, with Derek Johnston's Aston Martin holding fourth for TF Sport ahead of Alasdair McCaig in the Ecurie Ecosse McLaren.

Back in the GT4 class, Graham Johnson continued the car's impressive weekend form by converting pole position into an early race lead in his Ginetta G55 for Optimum Motorsport.

At the front, Minshaw was hounded by Parfitt, and the gap was just under a second between the leading pair as they began to pull away from the chasing pack. The battle was neutralised briefly on lap three when the safety car was deployed so that the stricken Sean Byrne-driven Ginetta GT4 of Century Motorsport could be retrieved following an off.

The race resumed on lap eight, with Minshaw immediately pulling away from the rest into Old Hall, though Parfitt began to close the gap again in the latter part of the first lap following the resumption. The leading duo was separated by just four-tenths-of-a-second as they crossed the line for the eighth time, as they began to rebuild their earlier gap over the chasing pack.

There was a thrilling squabble for first place in the GT4 ranks too, with William Phillips lunging at the inside of Old Hall on leader Johnson, who just managed to hang on to his position on lap 10. Phillips subsequently fell away however, allowing Johnson to extend his advantage.

Cars began to come in for scheduled pit-stops and driver changes on lap 13, though the leaders remained out on circuit for an additional lap before coming in for driver changes. Minshaw came in to hand over to Keen on lap 14, followed by Parfitt, whilst Griffin remained on track to try and make the most of an empty pit-lane.

The gamble paid off for Griffin as the line-up was mixed up in a cluttered pit-lane window which saw both the Bentley and lead Lamborghini slip behind the AMDtuning.com BMW of Joe Osborne, TF Sport Aston Martin of Jon Barnes, and the Ecurie Ecosse McLaren of Rob Bell. This allowed Griffin's co-driver Adam Carroll to emerge from the pit window with the lead of the race.

Carroll now lead from Osborne, Barnes, Bell, Morris, and Keen, comfortably heading the pack, whilst Mike Robinson continued the good work of his team-mate Johnson to hold the lead in GT4.

Bell and Keen were then both handed 10-second stop/go penalties for pit-lane infringements, removing both from podium contention.

At the front, Carroll commanded the field, extending his advantage over Osborne who was forced to fend off a spirited late charge from Morris in the Bentley. Morris had chances to slip past at Old Hall and Knickerbrook on the final lap, but the BMW driver held on to claim an unexpected second position.

British GT, Oulton Park, Race One, Result

1, Griffin/Carroll, Barwell Motorsport, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 35 laps
2, Mowle/Osborne, AMDtuning.com, BMW Z4 GT3, +11.620s
3, Parfitt/Morris, Team Parker Racing,  Bentley Continental GT3, +11.850s
4, Farmer/Barnes, TF Sport, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, +22.165s
5, Johnston/Adam, TF Sport, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, +22.509s

Tickets for the British GT and F3 Championships at Oulton Park on Monday 30 May are available on the gate for £24, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.