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McLaren Do The Double On Day One Of GT Cup Visit To Snetterton
Jun 11 2022

McLaren Do The Double On Day One Of GT Cup Visit To Snetterton

McLarens made it a double victory on day one of the GT Cup Championship's visit to Snetterton as Orange Racing powered by JMH and Enduro Motorsport shared the spoils, while Valluga Racing inherited the overall series lead.

Morgan Tillbrook surged to pole position and then an equally dominant Sprint Race victory for Enduro Motorsport, before battling it out with their Orange Racing with JMH counterparts in the Endurance contest - won by Simon Orange and Michael O'Brien.

GTC honours went to Topcats Racing with HEX.com after a fine double triumph to move them back into championship contention, while Richard Chamberlain shared GTO honours with Raw Motorsport's Radical RXC. Valluga Racing missed out to Makehappenracing in the opening race of the day in GTH, but soon made amends with a commanding performance in the second outing.

 

Qualifying

When the green light appeared at the end of the pitlane to kick off Saturday's qualifying session, drivers were quick to lay down their markers early on, with Ian Loggie putting in the fastest lap on his first run.

That effort was lowered by Tillbrook in the Enduro Motorsport McLaren 720s, who then pumped in a stunning 1m48.575s effort to seal the deal and his third pole position of the 2022 season, beating RAM Racing's Loggie and the Greystone GT McLaren 720s of Ian Campbell to the top spot.

Group GTO honours went the way of Richard Chamberlain in his Porsche 935 on a welcome return to the series, getting the better of the Raw Motorsport Radical RXC, while Lucky Khera continued his fine run of form with GTC pole in the Ferrari 488 Challenge. Makehappenracing's Chris Hart faced stiff competition in the GTH group, taking the top spot in the team's Mercedes AMG GT4.

 

Sprint Race

From pole position, Tillbrook made the most of his advantage with a superb opening lap, taking a six-second lead with some assistance behind as Loggie was the victim of a collision in his rear view mirror. John Dhillon and Campbell squabbled over third spot, Campbell's Greystone GT car spinning down the grass into the front of the RAM Racing Mercedes of Loggie, both cars retiring.

Tillbrook would be unchallenged, taking Enduro Motorsport's third victory of the season and his second Sprint race success by a gap of 16s at the chequered flag.

First lap circumstances and an amazing start by the Raw Motorsport Radical meant it briefly climbed up to second spot from 12th on the grid, but Burgess was soon usurped by the three-car dice for second between Simon Orange (McLaren), Mike Price (Mercedes) and Chamberlain. The latter would hang on to fourth place to clinch the GTO group spoils for the first time this season, while a late surge ensured Orange would hang on ahead of RAM Racing's Price.

GTC was a dramatic battle, with Warren Gilbert moving the Topcats Racing with HEX.com Lamborghini Huracan into the early lead. Khera gave chase until easing his way by with slight contact between the two at the hairpin, but Gilbert would not need to worry as a technical exclusion for the Ferrari driver afterwards meant he would be victorious. Will Dendy showed sublime pace to get to the front of group GTH early on, confirming a victory for the Orange Racing powered by JMH McLaren ahead of the Valluga Racing Porsche which usurped Hart's Mercedes at Agostini hairpin for second.

 

Pitstop Race

It was a McLaren lockout of the front row for the 50-minute endurance race, with Simon Orange on pole position ahead of Tillbrook's sister 720s for Round 9. Both would put on a fine show in the opening stint of the race, with Orange initially holding onto his advantage.

The gap would remain under a second for much of the battle, with Tillbrook making his move stick in the first sector after the first 15 minutes before pit stops began to cycle through, with Michael O'Brien taking the wheel of the chasing car while Marcus Clutton took over the Enduro Motorsport car. A shorter stop by 15s gave O'Brien the lead, hanging on to clinch a second Endurance win of the season.

Clutton recovered brilliantly to second place, with a double overtake being a highlight at Agostini hairpin on both Loggie's Mercedes and the Radical of Ben Dimmack. Loggie recovered to third overall after a fine drive from 23rd on the grid, Campbell and Oli Webb also charging from 24th to sixth. Seventh overall was enough for Raw Motorsport to make amends by winning GTO.

Topcats Racing with HEX.com added a second win in GTC thanks to Gilbert and Jensen Lunn, while the Valluga Racing Porsche Cayman of James Wallis and Sam Mayer-Loughnan drove a mature race to control GTH and clinch the overall championship lead with their group victory as an extra reward.

 

#67 Michael O'Brien

"It’s been a really good day for the team because the GTH car won the Sprint race as well and then a second and first for us while we’re fighting for the overall championship. Simon drove a perfect stint, and Morgan and Marcus really brought their A-Game this weekend and we’re really having to push. Simon drove a really good stint and handed me over the car, I knew Marcus would be piling the pressure on because of how good a driver he is and I had to push like mad. I had the pace to manage those guys and had a nice clear track at the end to put my fastest lap in!"

 

#9 Jensen Lunn

"Personal best for me in the lap times today. We had some help in the pitstops too, but we were flying all race and we didn’t put a wheel wrong. That’s what you have to do now, the standards are so high in this class. You just can’t put a wheel wrong, you have to get your pitstops on point and you’ve got to be setting fastest laps, which we did. We had a few issues in qualifying, and we had some damage to the back of the car but the guys are just fantastic at Topcats. We ran a new set-up on the car today and it’s just working, this warm weather is really good for us and the Lamborghini is on point."

 

#50 James Wallis

“The pitstop race was an interesting race, at the end of the day I had to build the gap initially and therefore maintain the pace. We got some target times from our engineer so the Pro could just focus on a time and we knew we had the spare time to carry and carry on to win the race. The car was challenging to drive today, the hot conditions - I’m not sure what the track temperatures were but I would say it was very hot.”

 

#66 Marcus Clutton

"Mega day. Morgan’s been incredible again, the first race this morning he just dominated it with a gap we’ve not seen in GT Cup for a long-time which was very impressive so hats off to Morgan. For the Endurance race we had 15 seconds [pitstop penalty] to the leaders in the pits and we lost the race by 12. For the last couple of laps we had traffic so kind of gave up. Morgan got past the winners in his stint, we had a good pitstop - positive day for us as a team and as drivers. "

 

#17 Will Dendy

"I’m delighted! It’s my first win in GT Cup, on my third meeting and I’m absolutely loving it so far. The grid is so competitive this year and the atmosphere is friendly.

I spent most of the first straight bouncing along the grass around the outside of a Ferrari and then James Wallis in P3 came past and there was a bit of a crash at a hairpin so it was rather hectic! Managed to dummy the AMG into thinking I wasn’t going to overtake him and then sent it at the last second!"

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