Tilley And Tregurtha Enjoy Triumphant GT Cup Sunday At Brands Hatch
11 October 2020
Grahame Tilley bagged a brace of GT Cup Championship victories in the second day of action at Brands Hatch, while two Ginetta teams also tasted double delight in Kent.
Tilley put behind him the disappointment of Saturday by dominating the second Sprint race of the weekend in the Nissan GT-R, joined by Will Tregurtha for the endurance outing who charged to the lead of a safety car-affected second contest.
GTC honours went the way of Scott Sport's Lamborghini and Ferrari machines, while it was a double success for the Ginetta teams of Makehappenracing and Feathers Motorsport in GTA and GTH respectively. GTB was a tight affair, Team HARD starting with a win before the Saker of ALP Racing added their first triumph in the second.
Free practice and qualifying ran back-to-back with the latter being a short and sharp 15-minute session to get as high up the grid as possible. On Saturday, pole position went the way of Tilley in the Nissan GT-R, and it was to be the same outcome on Sunday thanks to a late effort to dispossess the Porsche 911 of Shamus Jennings from the top spot by 0.5s.
Jim Geddie challenged both throughout, but settled for GTC pole in third overall. A delay prior to the session helped the ALP Racing squad complete repairs from a niggling morning problem in time to make it out for qualifying, and the Saker flew into the top five with a time good enough for GTB pole position with Alan Purbrick behind the wheel. Tilley’s old Ginetta G55 sealed GTA pole thanks to Dan Morris, GTH topped by Scott Sport’s Craig Wilkins in another Ginetta G55.
It was redemption for Tilley in the second 25-minute race of the weekend, winning from lights-to-flag from pole position to make up for a result that got away from him the previous day. Tilley survived a safety car interruption to recover two stricken cars - one of them being his nearest rival Jennings who retired with mechanical issues - to edge out a lead of almost six seconds for his first GT Cup Sprint Race win.
Closest to him was the GTC-winning Lamborghini Huracan of Jim Geddie which took its first class win of the weekend, while Sam Randon added his second GTB win for Team HARD as he powered to fourth place overall in the title-challenging Porsche 997. There was a first win of the season for Makehappenracing in their Ginetta G55, as Chris Hart secured a strong sixth place overall to win GTA.
Another car left needing recovery was the GTH Ginetta of Wilkins which, after surpassing the fast-starting Feathers Ginetta of James Guess on the opening lap, locked up attacking Joshua Jackson’s car at Druids and skated into the gravel. Guess assumed the lead once more, holding off the JMH Automotive McLaren of John Whitehouse to win the GTH class.
Tilley aimed to add a second win of the day in the 50-minute Pit Stop race that followed, and made the perfect start to the race by edging out a lead over the Ferrari of Dhillon early on with the Lamborghini of Geddie stranded in the pit lane. A safety car interruption following a crash between the Triple M Ginetta and the Mercedes of Enduro Motorsport at Paddock Hill Bend brought out the safety car in the second half of the race, putting the late stoppers - including Tilley - on the back foot.
Briefly outside the top 10, Tregurtha hopped into the GT-R and set about a sublime charge up the order. The youngster caught a battle between the leading Saker of David Brise and Phil Quaife's Ferrari, and soon surpassed the pair of them in one lap heading into the last 10 minutes to confirm a second win of the season for the Nissan team.
Second overall was enough for Dhillon and Quaife to win GTC for Scott Sport, with the flying Saker third for Brise and Purbrick after a valiant defensive drive that was enough to earn GTB class honours after a difficult morning.
The remaining classes were equally frenetic. In GTH, it would by Guess and Feathers Motorsport who completed a double win after surviving the earlier incident with the Mercedes, while GTA saw a dramatic twist when the title-chasing #67 Team HARD Ginetta finished in the gravel on the last lap after an off at Sheene, the class won by Hart and Simon Walton in an impressive fifth overall. The aggressive BMW Evolution of Geoff Steel Racing finished to earn it GTO honours meanwhile.
The championship concludes in two weeks time for the #DoningtonDecider across the weekend of 24/25 October, with the Overall and Teams' Championships still to be decided with four races remaining.
#4 Grahame Tilley:
“It feels fantastic, and it’s the first Sprint Race now that I’ve won in my second season. I’m over the moon. We won here last year in the endurance race in the wet, but I’ve not quite had the luck in the Sprint races. We could have won the first race here but we had a bit of bad luck with the wheel falling off, and it would have been nice to have a battle with Shamus today, but after the safety car I thought I could keep it safe, not make mistakes and get the car home for that win.”
#30 Alan Purbrick:
"Considering we had a lot of issues in the morning that meant we weren't able to really get the car as we wanted, we went really well. I was pleased with my drive in the Sprint and it was enough to get us up the order for the second. The safety car helped for our driver change and meant we were looking good in our group, but then we thought it might rain again. Typical motorsport rollercoaster ride; almost on the back of the truck to go home, then it made my race exciting and we fought back for a brilliant end to the day. David wasn't giving up in the last one!
#212 Chris Hart:
"Not a bad weekend at all. We're now getting to grips with it and the set-up, so it's nice to push it harder than before. I've enjoyed racing with the Marcos which had the legs on the straight but I felt I could have it in the corners, which made for good racing. It spices it up when the rain comes, and we made some changes to help us out. Steve's done well and got his pace up, so we're happy with it all."
#82 James Guess:
“It was good. Starting from third - in the first two races we’d taken the lead by Druids in class - we took it and held it before Wilkins got back past me at Graham Hill Bend. We had a great race yesterday and I tried to keep with him, which is hard when the GTH and GTA cars are very close. He locked up at Druids and that put us back in front. We got our heads down and managed to gap the Mercedes after the safety car, then they retired and I thought ‘I might end up in somebody’s accident’ so we settled down and then banged some laps in to keep the McLaren behind for the win. We had some great racing all weekend in GTH.”