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Minshaw and Keen double up at British GT Oulton Park opener

Monday, April 17 2017

Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen sealed a rare British GT Championship double onboard their Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini with victory in a dramatic second race of the day this afternoon (Monday).

Once again, it was the Bentley of Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jr starting on pole position, this time with Morris behind the wheel and, for the second time today the Team Parker Racing machine was ousted by the flying Barwell Lamborghini. Morris also lost out to his team-mate Callum McLeod's similar Continental GT3 which followed Keen around the outside at Old Hall. Sam Tordoff was caught behind the slow-starting Morris, which allowed Jon Barnes to move into fourth, whilst his fellow TF Sport Aston Martin driver Jonny Adam charged straight from the back of the grid to sixth position.

It became apparent early on that the race would become a dramatic affair when Morris made a lunge on McLeod into the braking zone at Hislop's, with the resultant contact sending McLeod spinning onto the grass. Welshman Morris was then able to set a blistering pace in clear air, but he was unable to make the most of it as he was swiftly penalised with a drive through penalty for the contact with his team-mate.

With chaos behind, Keen was able to reinforce his position at the head of the field, whilst the GT4 class competitors were busily engaged in a thrilling battle of their own. Mike Simpson (Ginetta), Martin Plowman (Nissan), Scott Malvern (Porsche), David Pittard (Ginetta), and Adam Mackay (McLaren) were all embroiled in the GT4 scrap with Plowman taking the lead at Old Hall on lap four. This merry brigade was broken up only a corner later when Malvern pitched Simpson into a spin and found himself gliding into the gravel trap.

Bentley's eventful afternoon continued shortly afterwards, as McLeod attempted to make up for time lost earlier in the race. A small mistake at Cacades pitched the locally-built machine into the gravel for another major delay. The other car was still in the thick of it though, with Morris passing cars on an inspired charge whilst Tordoff slowed to a halt and retirement on the Lakeside section of the circuit.

Amidst everybody else's trials and tribulations, Matt Griffin stealthily worked his way into fourth position with his Ferrari 488, as Seb Morris spun, forcing himself to recover once again to the top-five.

Adam was the first of the front-running cars to head to the pit-lane, handing his car over to Derek Johnston on lap 17. Barnes was in the following lap, followed by Morris, with Keen the last of the podium contenders to come in, placing Jon Minshaw in the hot seat on lap 21.

Minshaw retained the Lamborghini's lead after the pit-window, with Barnes's co-driver Mark Farmer second, ahead of Johnston in third, whilst Duncan Cameron took over from the quietly impressive Matt Griffin in fourth. Remarkably, despite all of the obstacles, hiccoughs, and issues suffered by Morris, Parfitt inherited fifth position in the lead Bentley.

The last major change of position at the sharp end of the field came when Farmer made a mistake under increasing pressure from team-mate Johnston on the exit of Britten's chicane. Johnston didn't hesitate and swiftly moved into second position.

The race was brought to a premature end on lap 25, when Ian Loggie, who took over from Callum McLeod, and Richard Neary (Mercedes-AMG) collided at Hill Top. This left debris scattered across the track and confirmed what looked like a likely victory for Minshaw and Keen. Johnston and Adam cemented second place, whilst Farmer and Barnes completed the podium in first.

The GT4 outcome was a little more complicated, with cars suffering penalties for pit-stop infringements, and handing victory to the Lanan Racing Ginetta of David Pittard and Alex Reed.