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Dominant Mitchell/Haggerty win for Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse

13th September 2016


 


Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty scored theirs and Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s second British GT4 Championship victory in three races at Donington Park. The McLaren 570S crew were untouchable after Mitchell jumped from second to first at the start before eventually sealing victory by 10.6s from Generation AMR Macmillan Racing’s Jack Mitchell and Matthew Graham.

 



Bartholomew’s pole position offered the perfect opportunity to build a gap over the course of his opening stint before serving the 20-second pit-stop success penalty for winning at Snetterton. But that situation never materialised after the V8 Vantage’s poor start saw it swallowed up by the chasing pack into Redgate. Instead, it was Mitchell’s McLaren that assumed the lead before clearing off into the distance once the two-lap Safety Car period to retrieve a stranded GT3 entry ended. With namesake Jack Mitchell moving from fourth to second, all eyes were on a chasing pack comprising Johnson, Joey Foster’s Lanan Racing Ginetta, the RCIB Insurance Racing G55 of Jordan Stilp and Bartholomew, who was back up to sixth soon after racing resumed.

With so few points between Johnson and Bartholomew in the championship, the destination of this year’s class crown would boil down to whoever was ahead at the finish. And when both Foster and Stilp passed Johnson that battle appeared well and truly joined. However, despite running in close proximity the Aston Martin was never able to mount a challenge and instead dived into the pits at its first opportunity after 50 minutes. Johnson was in a lap later, safe in the knowledge that co-driver Robinson would emerge at least five seconds ahead of Gunn after serving a 15-second success penalty. But the gap was ultimately more than 10 seconds and, crucially, featured three cars between them.

Gunn clearly had work to do but was soon helped by William Phillips spinning ahead. And with Alex Reed taking a trip across the gravel in avoidance, the Beechdean Aston now only had Jamie Stanley’s Fox Motorsport Ginetta between it and Robinson. Gunn needed no second invitation when a GT3 car block-passed Stanley, and with the two championship contenders third and fourth on the road, albeit 14 seconds apart, a grandstand finish looked in store. Sadly, it never came to pass, the Aston’s fading brakes hindering Gunn to such an extent that he was soon losing positions rather than making up ground. With Stanley retiring soon after, Reed was the first to re-pass the Vantage before Abbie Eaton’s Maserati and Nathan Freke’s Ginetta followed suit. Haggerty reeled off the final stint in sublime fashion despite battling an injured hand to cross the line comfortably ahead of Graham, while champion-elect Robinson was a further 18 seconds back at the chequered flag. That ensured he and Johnson claimed the GT4 crown by 13 points from Bartholomew, while Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s young duo jumped from sixth to third in the final reckoning. Sandy Mitchell set the Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Race.

Sandy Mitchell, #59 Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S GT4:
“It’s amazing. And to claim third in the championship as well after all the bad luck we’ve had this year is an incredible achievement. Two wins over the final two weekends is a fantastic way to sign off; it doesn’t get too much better than that! Thanks to the team and McLaren for giving us a great car today.”

Ciaran Haggerty, #59 Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S GT4:
“It was really tough all the way through, basically using my left hand the whole time. I just tried my best to maintain the gap and hang on. It’s great that McLaren can go to customers and say the 570S is a proven race winner now. I’ve loved being a part of that.” The British GT Championship will return in 2017…

 

 
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