GT4 European Series: Middleton and Tregurtha dominate red-flagged race – but lose it!

Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha continued their domination of the GT4 weekend at Brands Hatch, securing victory in the first race despite a slew of safety cars. Eventually the race was red-flagged with Tregurtha only having to drive in anger for four minutes following a string of incidents. The action took place post-race though, when their mandatory pit stop was deemed too short, handing the British pair a 20 second penalty and a 15th place finish.

Having dominated qualifying and finding themselves pegged by a BoP-induced weight increase to their HHC Motorsport-run Ginetta, Middleton took off from the start, building up a one second lead before the first safety car, just two minutes into the race. This was brought about by a couple of incidents requiring cars to be moved, including the Ginetta of Mike Newbould and Will Burns.

Once the race recommenced, the lead Ginetta continued to lead despite the close attention of Reinhard Kofler in the KTM X-Bow. The next safety car occurred just as the driver changes were due to take place. A late, late change by David Pattison saw him run as high as fourth but when normal service resumed, Tregurtha took control again.

Action was limited though. Following an inspired pit stop and charge by Finlay Hutchison’s partner, Ricardo van der Ende, the Equipe Verschuur was chasing Laura Kraihamer in the X-Bow for 4th. Alas it was to end in the race-ending shunt, as the Austrian nudged the McLaren off at Hawthorns, causing van der Ende to mount the barrier at some speed. Thankfully both the driver – and the marshall who ended up underneath the car – were both fine.

It meant that Middleton and Tregurtha secured their second successive European Series victory until the stewards intervened, thereby handing the win to the Phoenix Racing Audi of Dontje and Moller-Madsen. JM Littman, with his partner Hendrik Still, were the next best-placed British driver in 27th. Stephen Pattrick and Andy Meyrick had a quiet race in 30th, while Pattison and team-mate Joe Osborne finished in 35th.

Amongst the other Brits there was disappointment. Paul Rees’ race was over after seven laps following an off that led to front splitter damage to his McLaren. Fiona James and Matt Nicoll-Jones endured electrical problems with their Aston Martin Vantage, leading to retirement in the pits mid-race.

British Driver of the Race: