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Bentley Boys surge to victory in British GT opener at Oulton Park

Monday, April 22 2019

The latest Bentley Continental GT3 claimed its maiden British GT Championship victory at Oulton Park as Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt controlled the opening race of the 2019 season this afternoon (Monday).

Parfitt inherited the race lead during a dramatic opening phase of the race, after pole-sitter Ian Loggie (Mercedes-AMG GT3) initially maintained his position into the first corner from fellow front row starter Ryan Ratcliffe, another behind the wheel of a Bentley. The leading duo collided when Ratcliffe made a bold lunge for the lead at Hislop's on lap two, resulting in race-ending damage for both. 

Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim were also removed from overall contention by this coming together, as Farmer's was collected by Loggie's stricken Mercedes in their Vantage. 

Following safety car period, Parfitt controlled the race from the front, and handed the car over to co-driver Morris in a commanding position as the pit stop phase of the race began. 

With the best part of 40 minutes remaining on the clock, Morris led from Phil Keen in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO he shares with Adam Balon, with a huge gap back to Bradley Ellis in the third-placed Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 he co-pilots with Ollie Wilkinson. 

Morris calmly negotiated the traffic comprising cars from the slower GT4 class through the remaining laps of the race to hold the lead until the end, despite a late charge from Keen which brought the gap down to just over three seconds. 

The major GT3 battle in the final laps was for third place as Ellis defended sternly from the second Lamborghini Huracan, driven by Jonny Cocker who took over from Sam De Haan during the pit stops. Ellis held on despite ever increasing pressure to secure a first UK podium for the new Aston Martin GT3 machine. 

The top-five in GT3 was completed by the Century Motorsport BMW M6 of Dominc Paul and Ben Green, which recovered from an earlier scrap with the sister car of Adrian Willmott and Jack Mitchell to secure the position by just under a second.

Reigning champion and serial British GT Championship race-winner Jonny Adam was only able to finsh seventh, in his first outing behind the wheel of the latest Vantage, alongside Graham Davidson. 

The GT4 class was a McLaren rout, with the British manufacturer's 570S machines claiming a clean sweep of the podium. Dean Macdonald and Callum Pointon spearheaded the McLaren one-two-three, after the former set up the winning position in the opening stint of the race. 

Initially, it appeared that the Ford Mustangs of Scott Maxwell and Jade Buford were well set to dominate the GT4 scrap, but it went a bit awry when Maxwell was forced to take evasive action in response to the clash at the front of the GT3 class. This promoted Macdonald into a class second and he moved to the lead with a manoeuver on Buford at Lodge.

In the second part of the race, the McLaren's dominated the GT4 battle, with Pointon taking the chequered flag from the simlar machines of Josh Smith/James Dorlin and Luke Williams/Tom Jackson. 

Chad McCumbee and Buford's Mustang was ultimatey the highest placed in a class fourth, whilst the sister car dropped to the back of the order following a spin at Cascades. Josh Price and Patrick Kibble completed the GT4 top-five in their Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

GT3 Result
1, Parfitt/Morris, Bentley Continental GT3, 35 laps
2, Balon/Keen, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, +3.266s
3, Wilkinson/Ellis, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3, +36.502s
4, De Haan/Cocker, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, +36.647s
5, Paul/Green, BMW M6 GT3, +40.227s
6, Willmott/Mitchell, BMW M6 GT3, +41.113s
7, Davidson/Adam, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3, +41.519s
8, Neary/Christodoulou, Mercedes-AMG GT3, +42.071s
9, Howard/Sorensen, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3, +42.755s
10, Farmer/Thiim, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3, +1m23.077s

GT4 Result
1, Macdonald/Pointon, McLaren 570S GT4, 33 laps
2, Dorlin/Smith, McLaren 570S GT4, +1.358s
3, Jackson/Williams, McLaren 570S GT4, +2.661s
4, Buford/McCumbee, Ford Mustang GT4, +1 lap
5, Kibble/Price, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4, +1 lap

Click here to view full race results for the meeting.