Keen and Balon claim impressive British GT Championship double at Snetterton
PUBLISHED: 19:59 19 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:59 19 May 2019
The Phil Keen/Adam Balon Lamborghini Huracan won both British GT Championship races at Snetterton yesterday.
They held off a late charge from the similar car of Sam De Haan/Jonny Cocker in race two, overcoming light rain which had made the track conditions extremely challenging.
Keen kept early race two leader Nicki Thim in sight until the pit stops, with Balon taking over the Lamborghini and slipping past the fading Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Mark Farmer, who had exchanged with Thim. De Haan also dispatched Farmer to chase after victory which proved elusive.
A fantastic lead battle had ensured after the race one pit stop sequence had been completed with Jack Mitchell holding off a five car train until the BMW M6 suffered an electrical issue.
This allowed Keen to race away and take victory after a solid opening stint from Balon with Ryan Ratcliff overcoming a slow exchange with Glynn Geddie to secure second.
The Audi R8 of Sennan Fielding/Richard Williams claimed victory in the GT4 category after an impressive early run from Scott Maxwell in the lead Ford Mustang
A late puncture for the leading GT4 car of Nick Jones/Scott Malvern elevated the Lewis Proctor/Jordan Collard McLaren 5709s to the race two victory.
The Norfolk pairing of Ben Devlin and Alistair MacKinnon had a tough opening race, with the latter suffering a pair of collisions at the start and then a puncture on the Ford Mustang GT4, dropping the pair out of contention.
Devlin, from nearby Old Buckenham, started race two and made up four places on the opening lap before handing over to Cromer resident MacKinnon who brought the car home in 13th place.
"What a fantastic way to spend your birthday," claimed MacKinnon while Devlin, who hasn't competed for two years, is keen to do more races this year.
Johnathan Hoggard took advantage of a minor slip by British Formula Three series leader Clement Novalak to steal past at Wilson Hairpin to take victory in the opening race of three.
In the reverse grid second race Luca Petersson proved uncatchable from pole position while Benjamin Pedersen secured second from seventh on the grid with 11th place started Neil Verhagen a magnificent third.
A great start from Hampus Ericsson put him in control of race two with Novalak comfortable following the Swede home as title rival Hoggard was knocked out at the second corner.
Dan Zelos secured his first podium place in the Mini JCW Challenge with a well timed manoeuvre on the penultimate lap of the opening race at Snetterton.
"I was working hard to close in on the two in front and when a gap appeared, I slipped up the inside and just help them off to take the position," said a relived Dereham racer, who celebrated in front of his home supporters.
Meanwhile James Gornall was heading towards his second victory of the season with Nathan Harrison giving chase.
Lewis Galer, from East Lexham, suffered with an inconsistent handling car in qualifying and started from 26th place, with the 16-year-old ending up five places higher at the flag.
Light rain fell during the reversed grid race two but Jack Davison was able to slip away from the chasing pack to take victory. Harrison led a train of cars for second as the series leading Gornall wasn't able to progress further than third.
Zelos had an eventful time with a grassy moment at the Esses Complex during the final laps but found a way to slip past those ahead to finally take fifth.
Meanwhile the tricky conditions suited Galer who made up seven places to finish 14th at flag fall.
Lowestoft racer Tony Prendergast held third place as the first VW Cup race was stopped after two cars collided and ended up over the pit lane safety barrier.
Martin Depper outfoxed Lewis Smith to claim victory in the second VW race while the wayward Josh Coggan claimed the final podium place as Prendergast finished a distant seventh.
The opening Ginetta G40 race fell to Daniel Morris and he led all of race two but a starting infringement dropped him down to fifth in the results, despite holding off Rob Keogh, who was promoted to the win.
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A trio of cars contested victory in the third race with Keogh losing the lead to Alistair Barclay and was just unable to displace his rival on the run to the finishing line.
A last lap pass secured Mark Sansom victory in the opening Ginetta GRDC race from Craig Cornick while he led all of race two as Cornick displaced Chris White for second. Charles Hall spun away a comfortable lead in the Sports 200 race at Oggies but then resumed to chase down Michael Gibbins and claim a maiden victory.
British GT Championship - Race One: 1 Adam Balon/Phil Keen (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO); 2 Glynn Geddie/Ryan Ratcliff (Bentley Continental GT3); 3 Jonny Adam/Graham Davidson (Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3); 4 Sam De Haan/Jonny Cocker (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO); 5 Seb Morris/Rick Parfitt Jnr (Bentley Continental GT3); 6 Adam Wilcox/Michael Igoe (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO). GT4 Winners: Sennan Fielding/Richard Williams Audi R8 LMS GT4).
Race Two: 1 Adam Balon/Phil Keen; 2 Sam De Haan/Jonny Cocker; 3 Shaun Balfe/Rob Bell (McLaren 720S GT3); 4 Mark Farmer/Nicki Thim (Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3); 5 Jonny Adam/Graham Davidson; 6 Richard Neary/Adam Christodoulou (Mercedes AMG GT3). GT4 Winners: Lewis Proctor/Jordan Collard (McLaren 570S GT4).
British Formula Three Championship - Race One: 1 Johnathan Hoggard; 2 Clement Novalak; 3 Kiern Jewiss; 4 Hampus Ericsson; 5 Ayrton Simmons; 6 Neil Verhagen.
Race Two: 1 Luca Petersson; 2 Benjamin Pedersen; 3 Neil Verhagen; 4 Kaylen Frederick; 5 Nazim Azam; 6 Clement Novalak.
Race Three: 1 Hampus Ericsson; 2 Clement Novalak; 3 Kaylen Frederick; 4 Ayrton Simmons; 5 Manuel Maldonado; 6 Nazim Azam.
Mini JCW Challenge - Race One: 1 James Gornall; 2 Nathan Harrison; 3 Dan Zelos.
Race Two: 1 Jack Davidson; 2 Nathan Harrison; 3 James Gornall.
VW Racing Cup - Race One: 1 Josh Coggan (Golf); 2 Rob Allum (Golf); 3 Tony Prendergast (Scirocco).
Race Two: 1 Martin Depper (Scirocco); 2 Lewis Smith (Scirocco); 3 Josh Coggan.
Ginetta G40 Cup - Race One: 1 Daniel Morris; 2 Rob Keogh; 3 Chris Salkeld.
Race Two: 1 Rob Keogh; 2 Alistair Barclay; 3 Jimmy Thomas.
Race Three: 1 Alistair Barclay; 2 Rob Keogh; 3 Daniel Morris.
Ginetta GRDC - Race One: 1 Mark Sansom; 2 Craig Cornick; 3 Chris Threadgrill.
Race Two: 1 Mark Sansom; 2 Craig Cornick; 3 Chris Threadgrill.
Sports 2000: 1 Charles Hall; 2 Michael Gibbins; 1 Tom Stoten.