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Haigh and Adam make history in British GT opener

Monday, April 02 2018

Flick Haigh made British GT Championship history this afternoon at Oulton Park by becoming the first woman to win a round of the British GT Championship outright.

Haigh, who became the first female to qualify on overall pole position in the championship just two days prior, shared the victory with championship co-driver Jonny Adam, behind the wheel of Optimum Motorsport's Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

The hour-long race started behind the safety car in damp conditions this morning, with Haigh leading the initial procession from reigning champion Rick Parfitt Jr and Team Parker Racing team-mate Ian Loggie, both behind the wheel of Bentley Continental GT3s.

Full throttle racing got underway at the start of lap five, with 50 minutes still on the clock, and it was clean for the most part with Haigh maintaining her lead from the chasing pack. Behind her, the Bentleys immediately began to struggle in the slippery conditions.

Further back, Jon Minshaw (Lamborghini Huracan) launched a robust move upon Mark Farmer (Aston Martin) for sixth position, with the latter suffering a spin following a bump between the two.

By the end of the first racing lap, Haigh stormed into an astonishing six-and-a-half second lead at the head of the pack. Remarkably, it was Minshaw who was her nearest challenger by the time the chasers emerged from Old Hall again after making short work of the opposition. Andrew Howard's Aston Martin moved past the ailing Bentleys at Hislop's chicane not long thereafter.

Something of an Oulton Park specialist, Minshaw began to trim Haigh's advantage, making the most of the appearance of lapped GT4 traffic to gain extra time on the leader.

Haigh made her move for the pits as soon as the pit window opened, whilst Minshaw remained out on track in an attempt to gain a little extra time. Adam retained the lead after taking over from Haigh, with Minshaw's co-driver Phil Keen emerging from the pit lane just behind.

With 26 minutes remaining on the clock, Keen began to place Adam under immense pressure. This continued until lap 18, when the leading duo hit traffic - literally in Keen's case. The Lamborghini driver clipped a GT4 Ginetta whilst in hot pursuit, and was forced to return to the pit lane following wheel damage. He re-emerged from the unscheduled stop in fourth place, behind the Mercedes of Yelmer Buurman. This left Adam with 35-second advantage from Darren Turner, who took over from Howard.

The fight between Buurman and Turner became the main attraction during the final minutes of the race. Buurman was glued to Turner's rear bumper for the last few laps, but the latter managed to hang on to secure second place. Keen recovered to finish fourth, just behind the podium runners, with team-mates Leo Machitski and Patrick Kujala completing the top-five.

GT4 class honours went to the McLaren 570S pairing of Adam Balon and Ben Barnicoat, with Ben Tuck and Ben Green (BMW M4) and Charlie Fagg and Michael O'Brien (McLaren 570S) completing the podium.

Result

1, Haigh/Adam, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, 31 laps
2, Howard/Turner, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, +28.243s
3, Mowle/Buurman, Mercedes-AMG, +28.494s
4, Minshaw/Keen, Lamborghini Huracan, +30.153s
5, Machitski/Kujala, Lamborghini Huracan, +45.435s