ROCKINGHAM, ROUND 2

4 May 2015

Despite starting from the back of the GT3 grid, and several issues throughout the race, Derby-based 22GT Racing still managed to fulfil their ambitions of a top ten finish in the third round of their return to British GT.

The May Day Bank Holiday weekend saw 22GT’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 take on the International Super Sportscar Circuit at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Corby. Saturday’s qualifying session generated a final grid position of P15 for the Sunday two-hour race, despite overall satisfaction with the car and lap times -including the best efforts of Jon Barnes who set a fastest lap time of 1:23.999 on the 2.05 mile circuit.

Team Manager Nathan Harrison explained “being a new team with a new car we need to get a setup that worked consistently over the race distance. With limited track time during the free practice session we managed to get a setup that gave us good race pace. Next season we can go looking for a faster setup over one lap for qualifying, hopefully giving us a better grid position to start the race from”.

Fortunately the heavy showers of Sunday morning did not persist, and the grid lined up for the first two-hour race of the 2015 season. 22GT’s Amateur Bronze driver Mark Farmer took the wheel first, with high expectations of what could be achieved in the following hours. After making a dash off the grid passing TF Sport’s Vantage GT3, two retirements in the first lap further up the grid meant the safety car was deployed for the following five laps. Lap 9 saw #44 Team LNT’s Ginetta GT3 run into issues, moving Farmer up to P11. However, his attempts to progress through the grid were scuppered by contact with Tandy in Team LNT’s second Ginetta GT3, causing a puncture for the Aston Martin on lap 11 – slipping down to P26. Farmer emerged from the pits, successfully battling through the GT4 grid, setting his fastest lap time on lap 16 of 1.28.343. However, Eastwood in the FF Corse Ferrari, who was in fact several laps ahead, slowed further progress. Mark Farmer was up to 12th place on lap 24 only to find Beechdean’s Jamie Chadwick, at the front of the GT4 class, fighting hard to hold onto P11, with Farmer eventually taking back his previous position on lap 27.

As the pit lane opened, 22GT Racing moved up into P6 as Mark Farmer handed the Aston over to pro driver Jon Barnes to finish the race, with just over an hour left on the clock – leaving the pits in 13th place. Unfortunately, the team fell foul to strict safety regulations, and Barnes was ordered to serve a ten second stop/go penalty for refuelling infringement, but not before setting the teams fastest lap time of 1:26.746 (Lap 39) and returning the GT3 Aston Martin to P11 once again, after passing two of the GT4 leaders only to be caught behind #007 and #888. On exiting the pits having served the ten second penalty on lap 52, Barnes was still in P11 with a substantial gap between him and Beechdean’s Ross Gunn – still leading the GT4 race. Lap 59 saw the return of the safety car for a further four laps, allowing Barnes to slowly make up pace and potentially close the 53.6 second gap between him and TF Sport’s Jody Fannin – also in an Aston Martin GT3. The disqualification of FF Corse’s Carroll in the Ferrari 458 meant 22GT Racing moved up to P10 – their highest position of the race so far.

As the safety car came in, Barnes moved through the majority of the GT4 class to sit hot on the heels of Fannin. After being bumper to bumper through the hairpins, Barnes attempted to take advantage of Fannin going wide, but spun coming out of Gracelands on Lap 75, opening up the gap once again, but still holding onto P10. Despite his fast recovery and continued efforts to chase Fannin in the final two laps, Barnes crossed the line in 10th place. Both Farmer and Barnes take 1.5 championship points from Round 3 of the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship giving them a total of 7.5 points each; 22GT Racing is currently 8th in the Teams Championship. The season continues at Silverstone on May 30/31st 2015.

For more information visit Jon's website at www.jonbarnes.com, or you can like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

ENDS

Jon Barnes Racing 2017