Huggins takes GTB championship in style at spectacular Snetterton season finale
15 October 2017
Neil Huggins claimed the Group GTB championship title at the final round of the 2017 GT Cup season, with a commanding victory at Snetterton. Starting from pole, the Top Cats Racing man worked hard to open a gap to rival James Webb in unseasonably warm October sunshine.
“We worked really hard for it," said Huggins. “We didn't think we'd be here, the [Webb] boys are fast, they know what they're doing in that car and they do it week in, week out. We put them under a bit of pressure, they had some mechanical issues, and suddenly it became a possibility.
“I didn't know what the points were. We may have been able to coast it but that isn't our style. We got pole this morning and we said 'we can do this.' I don't know what happened to the Webbs, they had a couple of issues, but we led from the front. It's brilliant. I'm happy for the team, for Top Cats Racing… when you think where we were 12 months ago in the barriers at Donington, who'd have thought we'd be here?"
Graham Davidson bounced back from retirement on Saturday afternoon to win the race, and with it wrapped up the Overall Championship ahead Dominic Paul. “It was pretty hot and the car was sliding but it was really good fun, I really enjoyed it," said Davidson. "We got everything bang on, we were lapping cars just like we did at the first race at Donington Park, its just like I wanted. Rarely these things go to plan but its pretty much been spot on all year and the small problems we've had pale into insignificance and won't be thought of ever again!"
Newcomers Mike Newbould and Will Burns fought their way to victory in Group GTA, Newbould's first win in GT Cup, and a second for Burns after solo victory yesterday. “It's been fantastic," said Newbould. “We had a disappointing end to the Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Championship with a gearbox failure, so I phoned Will up and said 'let's go and have a last hurrah at the weekend, and have a bit of fun.' He's obviously had a bad accident at Silverstone so it's good to get him back in a car and firing on all cylinders.
“It's the first time I've been in this car in 18 months, there's some stiff competition out there, some handy drivers and it's probably the hottest contested Group in this series and it shows on track - there's people fighting for it! It couldn't be any better, this kid is amazing: he's the guy."
"My job as to get pole and give him [Mike] a chance to get a breather and it obviously worked - he was pushing and he set his personal best time today and did a really good job," added Burns. “The seconds were there when it came to the pit stop. Mike gave me a really good first stint and I was able to push.
“Once I saw the car in front I kept pushing and pushing. I was on my final warning with track limits, I kept off of every kerb when I was in the battle, had understeer which wasn't really what I wanted, but HHC have done a fantastic job this weekend, and hopefully there'll be more to come in the future."
Jetsetter Jake Rattenbury returned from a trip to Oulton Park with a win in Group GTC to cap a great season for the Welshman. “I wanted to end on a high, especially missing yesterdays race," he said. “Winning the 50-minute race after a lot of bad luck this year with tyres, engine blow outs, I'm happy to have a good win, and the car's been spot on."
The GT Cup will return in 2018, with a full calendar to be announced in due course.
Race Three Results:
1 - Graham Davidson - McLaren MP4-12/C
2 - Gareth Downing - Lotus Evora GTE
1 - Jake Rattenbury - Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo
2 - Bonamy Grimes / Johnny Mowlem - Ferrari 488 Challenge
3 - Rob Gaffney / Mike Sellar - Porsche 911 GT3
1 - Neil Huggins - Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo LP570
2 - Jeff Wyatt / Warren Gilbert - Marcos Mantis
3 - James Webb - BMW M3 E46 GTR
1 - Mike Newbould / Will Burns - Ginetta G55 GT4
2 - Brent Millage - Ginetta G55 GT4
3 - Mick Mercer / Gary Smith - Ginetta G55 GT4