In GTs Tony Bennett prevailed during the damp qualifying session, taking his first pole of the season in his Caterham R300. After an accident at the opening meeting, Bennett was forced into an alternative, supercharged Caterham for the second round, and duly claimed a podium result. Prior to the start of the race, and with the rain intensifying, Chris Southcott’s MG Midget was pushed into the pit-lane with a battery issue. This gave Bennett’s freshly-rebuilt Caterham a clear run into Folly for the first time. However, the conditions ultimately favoured Bradley John’s four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Evo, which had gained track-position before the cars reached Quarry on lap one. Bennett fought a stoic rear-guard action, but ultimately lost second to the Audi TT Silhouette of Steve Hall.
Hall’s race lasted little longer than a lap, with a set-up mistake forcing the car out. Prior to the safety-car required to recover Hall’s stricken machine, Tony Hutchings (Audi TT) and Bob Higgins (Ginetta G55) had overcome Bennett’s defences, the latter with a brave inside move at Camp corner. With the safety-car safely off the circuit, Ilsa Cox (Seat Leon Cupra) found herself in defensive mode, fending off the recovering Southcott and Adam Prebble’s Rover Tomcat for fifth. Both Southcott and Prebble were able to overcome her defence, before Southcott was once again forced to the pit-lane. This time the issue was the lack of lighting on his MG in the ever-darkening conditions. John backed-off significantly in the closing laps, but still held a seven second advantage at the flag from Class D winner Hutchings. Prebble completed the podium after a tremendous comeback drive, having been summoned to the pit-lane mid-race to secure a loose bonnet. Pole-sitter Bennett found himself a respectable fourth in conditions that didn’t favour his light-weight Caterham, with Higgins and Cox completing the top six. Jeremy Cooke was a steady seventh in his BMW M3, Southcott recovered to eight and David Hathaway completed the order, the Class C winner ninth in his Ferrari 360.
Castle Combe GT Championship (15 laps) 1 Bradley John (Mitsubishi Evo) 2 Tony Hutchings (Audi TT) +7.254s; 3 Adam Prebble (Rover Tomcat) 4 Tony Bennett (Caterham R300); 5 Bob Higgins (Ginetta G55); 6 Ilsa Cox (Seat Leon Cupra). Class winners Hutchings; David Hathaway (Ferrari 360). Fastest lap Prebble 1m22.739s (80.49mph). Pole Bennett. Starters 14.Posted by Lee Bonham on Tuesday 30 May 2017