Abba Superb At Snetterton As Brabham Bags Maiden GT Cup Success
5 June 2021
Brabham sealed a historic maiden group win while the in-form pairing of Sam and Richard Neary again shone with an overall double under sunny skies on the opening day of GT Cup Championship action at Snetterton.
While the two stylish wins for the Abba Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 pairing gave them major hopes in their title push, the overall series leaders Topcats Racing kept their chances in fine fettle with two wins in GTC, despite needing a second visit to the pits in race two with their Lamborghini Huracan.
The remaining group dices were pulsating, with a double triumph for Team HARD's Porsche in GTB, while team Orange took wins in their GTH McLaren and GTA Ginetta alongside Paddock Motorsport and Makehappenracing in the respective groups.
It was a wonderful story also for David Brabham, as his BT62 claimed a maiden win in the series in the GTO group in the afternoon, sharing spoils with RAW Motorsport's Radical which emerged from a tight race one scrap on top.
Sam Neary took the Abba Mercedes by the horns in qualifying and surged to pole position by 2s over JMH Automotive, while Richard Chamberlain flew to third overall to ensure pole in the GTO group after a rapid session.
While the GTC group went the way of Topcats Racing, the remaining groups were closely-fought. GTA pole went to the Makehappenracing Ginetta G55 of Chris Hart, with GTH going to the Orange Racing with JMH Automotive McLaren 570s of Simon Orange and Josh Jackson and GTB being clinched by Team HARD's Porsche 991 Cup car.
The pole-sitters were on equally strong form when the lights went out the start the 25-minute sprint contest. Richard Neary took the wheel, and charged clear to take victory by 17s at the flag over the Lamborghini of Lucky Khera which came out on top in a back-and-forth dice with John Seale's similar GT3 car.
Seale had attacked Richard Chamberlain's Porsche 935 early in the race, ending in slight contact that bumped both down the order. RAW Motorsport came through to grab the GTO win as a result with Ben Dimmack in the Radical RXC.
GTC went to the familiar faces of Topcats Racing and Jensen Lunn, ensuring they extended their overall series lead in the Lamborghini Huracan. Sam Randon dominated the GTB class to give Team HARD another success, while Makehappenracing's Hart gave Ginetta a GTA win. GTH went to Orange Racing with JMH Automotive's McLaren ahead of the strong Paddock Motorsport entry.
The 50-minute endurance race provided some spectacular racing throughout the different groups, including some maiden wins for the season along the way.
Up front, a dominant stint by Richard Neary was enough to give the Abba Mercedes a significant advantage for Sam to stroke the car home and double up their win tally for day, only after fending off a feisty Chamberlain on lap one - the Porsche sadly retiring - and leading home the Scott Sport Lamborghini which charged back superbly through the field following a spin after contact at the hairpin on lap one.
The issue for Chamberlain gifted Paul Bailey and Ross Wylie a huge opportunity, and they swooped in with both hands to grab the Brabham its first victory in GT Cup after a fine drive by Scot Wylie in the second stint to fend off Jamie Stanley.
The Porsches of Team HARD and Valluga Racing jostled it out in GTB, Nick Phelps grabbing the lead but later losing out through pit stops as Richard Marsh and Randon added another important win for the former team. The GTH scrap featured three McLaren 570s machines taking the fight to the flag, with Balfe Motorsport leading initially before a rapid pit stop turnaround gave Paddock Motorsport's Moh Ritson and Tom Rawlings a fine win after fending off a closing Oli Webb.
The GTA battle was Ginetta-heavy, with the Orange Racing pairing recovering from a moment that allowed Makehappenracing to pounce, grabbing back the lead in the second stint to win. An unscheduled pit stop meant the Topcats duo suffered a scare, but still took GTC victory for the second time.
#88 Richard Neary
"We thought we would really struggle in the second race because we got a 20-second pit stop penalty. I started and just pushed it as hard as I could. There was nothing left in that car! We managed to come in with a 32-second lead which made it doable, and we’re really happy today. We’ve been doing more testing and we’re getting to grips with the car more and more each time we go out."
#28 Ross Wylie
"Just about trying to drive a sensible race pace and not doing anything stupid with the traffic and such like. It was more about bringing the car home in one piece really. The guys at SB Race Engineering and Horsepower Racing have done a great job to get us here. To reward them with that result was quite a special moment and of course we’ve got it all to do on Sunday. As we entered the last lap, I thought ‘ooh have we got enough time?’ but we just timed it perfectly. Will is a great driver and, credit where it’s due, he positioned the car perfectly, he gave fair racing room. Really enjoyed my laps in the car today and the weather was amazing but I’m not sure what it’s going to do tomorrow!"
#28 Paul Bailey
" I just wanted to drive the car! I’ve been waiting all season to race it and I’ve just got to learn to do that. I found seven seconds from Friday and then found a couple from quali and then three seconds just now. I’m beginning to get to a point where I’ll at least be able to keep seeing the cars in front of me and then catch them and hopefully one day overtake them. Ross doesn’t have that problem! He’s an amazing driver. It was such a nail-biting finish for everyone watching it, just for the last lap – that’s what you want, you want it all down to the last lap."
#34 Sam Randon
"Another great result. Richard kept us in pucker position, the only better position we could have been in was in front of Nick Phelps but as good as is right behind him. I knew I had the pace to catch him, it was just a case of how difficult a job Richard makes it for me! Pleased with the win, most of all I’m pleased with Richard’s performance and his continual improvement. If that’s how you want a race to go, that was ideal for us and where we’re at with me and Richard as a pairing."
#26 Moh Ritson
"It’s gone exactly how we wanted it to go. We had a shakedown here at the start of the season, so as a team we knew how we dealt with Snetterton. It’s exceeded expectations – being a new team and everything – it’s just been great. We’ve had the car all day, the team has given us an amazing car. It’s been a dream to drive and Tom and I both work really well together. It’s been absolutely perfect. When you’ve got Oli Webb in your mirrors it’s quite a bit of pressure so that’s a new learning experience. This year for me is a big learning year, I’m not very experienced compared to some of the other guys on this grid so it was a lot of pressure but we handled it well as a team and we’ve come out the other side on the top step. First season for the team running this car, first year for me driving this car and first year in the championship, to be at weekend three and be on that top step is great."