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Haigh and Adam claim British GT championship title at Donington

Sunday, September 23 2018

Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam made British GT Championship history at Donington Park this afternoon, as the former became the first woman to win the series' premier class whilst the latter sealed a third crown, in a race won by their chief title rivals Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen.

Haigh and Adam finished fourth overall when a sixth place finish would have been enough for them to secure the title, regardless of other results. Minshaw and Keen went into the race knowing that they had to win to have any chance of winning the championship.

Minshaw led the race in its initial stages in his Lamborghini Huracan, with Barwell Motorsport team-mate Sam De Haan following behind in a supportive role. As De Haan defended from the pack behind him, Haigh's Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage swapped places a number of times with Jestream Motorsport's similar machine with Graham Davidson behind the wheel.

After 15 laps of solid defence, during which time Minshaw built a substantial lead over his pursuers, De Haan finally conceded second position to Davidson. It wasn't for long though, as Davidson suffered front tyre trouble following a touch with De Haan earlier in the race.

The safety car was deployed at this stage after oil was deposited on the circuit, eliminating Minshaw's commanding lead and bunching the pack back up. Just before the safety car emerged, Haigh conceded third place to Mark Farmer's TF Sport Aston Martin - the only car in the race aside from hers and Minshaw's still in with a chance at the title.

De Haan immediately resumed his staunch defence of second upon the race's continuation on lap 21 and, with the help of some backmarkers too, Minshaw's advantage was back up to 14 seconds by the end of the first full speed lap.

Farmer passed De Haan shortly after that, and began to close the gap to Minshaw, whilst Haigh lost further track positions to Derek Johnston (Aston Martin) and Rick Parfitt Jnr (Bentley Continental), both contesting their final British GT race. Johnston's race didn't last much beyond that though, as the car ground to a halt moments later.

The pit stop window opened an hour into the race, and the leading Lamborghini retained its lead with Keen behind the wheel, with Nicki Thiim, Farmer's co-driver, emerging in second place. The Bentley ran third at this point with Ryan Ratcliffe taking over from Parfitt, from Darren Turner (Aston Martin), Johnny Cocker (replacing De Haan) and Adam.

Adam passed Cocker and Turner early in his stint, and was unable to move past Ratcliffe in third despite constant pressure. Adam briefly lost ground to the hard charging Mercedes-AMG of Yelmer Buurman, but he was able to follow the German past the Bentley at the Old Hairpin on lap 51 into a fourth place he'd hold until the end of the race.

At the front, Thiim hunted down and passed Keen to grab the on-track race lead. The two would race side-by-side until the dying moments of the race, with Thiim crossing the line first, but dropping back to second following a time penalty for exceeding track limits.

Jack Mitchell became the GT4 Champion in a battle which went down right to the wire - despite receiving a penalty, he claimed the championship by just one point from Ben Tuck and Ben Green, and two from Charlie Fagg and Michael O'Brien. Scott Malvern and Nick Jones claimed the title in the GT4 Pro-Am Championship.

Race Result
1, Minshaw/Keen, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 75 laps
2, Farmer/Thiim, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, +29.594s
3, Mowle/Buurman, Mercedes-AMG GT3, +49.882s
4, Haigh/Adam, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, +1m09.088s
5, Howard/Turner, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, +1m26.228s
6, De Haan/Cocker, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, +1m28.115s
7, Parfitt/Ratcliffe, Bentley Continental GT3, +2m12.177s
8, Loggie/MacLeod, Bentley Continental GT3, +1 lap
9, Buncombe/Moore, Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, +1 lap
10, Johnson/Robinson, McLaren 650S, +1 lap