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    Why crimson flag confusion will not overshadow British GT’s excellent opener

    Martin Plowman summarised occasions pretty nicely after team-mate Kelvin Fletcher had clinched a outstanding maiden British GT victory for his or her Paddock Motorsport outfit in a madcap second race at Oulton Park from 14th on the grid.

    “I feel like lots of people we have been a bit confused,” he instructed Autosport. “I didn’t know what was happening half the time.”

    The race consequence stays provisional following a protest by RAM Racing into the applying of race one’s success seconds to the post-race order, citing the dearth of a selected regulation to cowl the eventuality of a crimson flag throughout the pitstop cycle. The protest was rejected, however the workforce has lodged its intention to attraction to the Nationwide Court docket.

    It definitely was an unprecedented state of affairs, and contributed to what British GT returnee Benji Hetherington rightly described as “one of the weird races” he’d ever encountered, with a proliferation of post-race penalties – together with 14 seconds added to the race time of each GT4 Silver crew – muddling the order.

    “Clearly, the circumstances have been out of everybody’s management,” remarked Valluga Racing Porsche boss Hetherington, who was categorized fifth in GT4. “I feel to be truthful, British GT dealt with it rather well.”

    Naturally, not all people agreed, however most believed it was the one factor British GT may do underneath the circumstances. However is it what the weekend will likely be remembered for? In fact not.

    It’s the outstanding race one scrap for victory between Adam Carroll and Jules Gounon that may reside lengthy within the reminiscence, a battle that showcased the perfect of British GT and left Oulton Park enthralled. The respect between the 2 combatants after operating nostril to tail for lap after lap, with AMG manufacturing facility driver Gounon inching alongside and crossing the road forward to begin the ultimate tour, was apparent for all to see. The pair embraced one another in parc ferme after two inch-perfect drives.

    Balfe congratulates team-mate Carroll after his successful defence against Jules Gounon in race one

    Balfe congratulates team-mate Carroll after his profitable defence in opposition to Jules Gounon in race one

    Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Pictures

    “He stated he completely beloved that, it was top-of-the-line races he’d ever had,” relayed Carroll. “You possibly can’t get nearer than that.”

    A watching Shaun Balfe, Carroll’s team-mate and boss, was filled with reward for each drivers.

    “I had little doubt that if Adam couldn’t preserve Jules behind, there was most likely a really small variety of drivers that would,” he stated. “The respect importantly that Jules gave Adam, understanding that Adam was simply fast sufficient – there was sufficient respect to offer the spectators and British GT in spherical one what it actually wants, which is a few good shut racing that is thrilling to look at. It’s what we need to be a part of.”

    The power in depth this yr is in plentiful provide and, with 18 GT3 vehicles on the grid, it was an actual scrap even to make it into the factors on Monday

    Was it the perfect defensive drive of Carroll’s esteemed profession, Autosport puzzled? “For a win, most likely sure,” replied the 2008-09 A1GP champion. “However typically you’re attempting that tough for fifth and no person sees it!” See it we definitely did.

    Gounon gained’t contest each spherical this yr, however the 2017 Spa 24 Hours winner already has loads of new admirers within the paddock after taking Oulton by storm. His outstanding 1m32.384s pole lap was 4 tenths faster than anyone, and Carroll alone may halt his irrepressible race one cost.

    “I had a mega race with ‘hen nugget’, it was good,” stated Fox Motorsport’s Jamie Stanley, who completed third with Nick Halstead. “Had I not come throughout the GT4 automobile, I most likely may have stored Gounon there for a bit longer. We have been a bit unfortunate there, however truthful play to him, he took his second, he pounced.”

    Gounon’s co-driver Ian Loggie was filled with marvel too. “I do know individuals speak about him as top-of-the-line GT drivers on this planet however, while you see a show like that, it’s simply mind-blowing actually,” he stated. “It’s a privilege to look at it. Already the quantity I’ve realized that now I’d take as learn, it’s simply unimaginable.”

    Loggie (right) was full of praise for co-driver Gounon, who stole the show at Oulton Park

    Loggie (proper) was filled with reward for co-driver Gounon, who stole the present at Oulton Park

    Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Pictures

    If Gounon stole the present, he was solely the tip of the iceberg. The power in depth this yr is in plentiful provide and, with 18 GT3 vehicles on the grid, it was an actual scrap even to make it into the factors on Monday – with well-fancied Barwell Lamborghini pairing Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon lacking out in race two after a 10s cease/go penalty for Mitchell spinning Marcus Clutton.

    “It’s most likely our worst weekend I feel for seven years, so it might solely go a method from right here,” remarked Barwell boss Mark Lemmer.

    A number of groups imagine the brand new DHF Pirelli tyre has given an edge to the front-engined Mercedes, with one disgruntled paddock determine claiming that the Steadiness of Efficiency was amiss. “You would possibly as nicely give them the trophy to combat over it now,” he stated.

    However Carroll’s stern defence and the chaos of race two confirmed that nothing can ever be taken as learn in British GT. McLaren definitely wasn’t anticipated to shine at Oulton, but a podium for Fox in race one – as a number of groups made errors with pitstop timing – and victory in race two for Paddock bodes nicely for his or her seasons.

    “We’re nonetheless studying this new tyre, we’re studying each time we exit,” stated Plowman. “I feel, as soon as we nail the set-up and know the right way to get this tyre within the window, then we’ll be a constant contender.”

    Even when the result of that second race couldn’t please all people, there’s so much to love about British GT proper now.

    Fox Motorsport took a race one podium on its return to GT3, while Paddock Motorsport took race two at a venue where McLaren wasn't expected to shine

    Fox Motorsport took a race one podium on its return to GT3, whereas Paddock Motorsport took race two at a venue the place McLaren wasn’t anticipated to shine

    Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Pictures

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