2017 British GT Championship Spa Francorchamps Race 1 - Race Photography

Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen extended their lead at the top of the championship with victory in race one whilst Charlie Fagg and Matty Graham win from the back in GT4 in the Ebor GT Maserati. It was a busy start as the grid ran down towards La Source hair pin for the first time, Parfitt and Mitchell fighting hard for the lead into the first corner before Piti Bhirombhakdi took the lead through Les Combes on the opening lap in the one off entry Kessel Racing Ferrari. However, the race was brought to an early stand still through a safety car when Steve Fresle slammed the #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 into the barriers at the top of Raidillon on the second lap of the race. Just before the yellow flags were waves, Parfitt Jnr took the lead as Ciaran Haggerty battled for the class lead with the pole sitting #55 HHC Ginetta.

Century Motorsport were caught up in chaos at the re-start which resulted in Nick Jones parking the #66 Porsche on top of the #111 Ginetta at La Source. The majority of the grid peeled off into the pits at the restart, with half the race run under safety car so far, the 10 second success penalty for Parfitt and Morris after their victory at Silverstone had a massive impact on the duo as they emerged from the pits in sixth place. Keen inherited the lead and pulled away from 2nd place, quickly opening up a 7 second gap over the #17 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Stuart Leonard.

In GT4, Joe Osborne stormed into the lead through the pits, duelling with Haggerty for the win. Middleton fell into the grips of David Pittard in the #51 Lanan Ginetta. A swift manoeuvre from the #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta G55 abruptly bumped Middleton from the top three, with both looking to capitalise on the retirement of fellow title challenger Adam Mackay.

New driver pairing Adam Hatfield and Benjamin Wallace suffered a drive-through penalty for a pit-lane infringement, with the #70 Kornely Racing Mercedes receiving an identical reprimand in the waning moments of the race. As the race drew to a close, the top eight cars in GT3 were split by just 5 seconds. Carlo van Dam and Patrick Kujala came together resulting in a drive through penalty for the Finn. Callum Macleod inherited fourth place as a result.

GT4 was hit with drama late in the day, Joe Osborne crawled into the pit lane with minutes left on the clock and a front left puncture. Ciaran Haggerty inherited the lead before losing it all in the same lap. Matty Graham came charging through in the #60 Ebor Maserati GT having started at the back of the grid. Haggerty suffered further problems and was bundled off the podium by Pittard and Middleton before the chequered flag, as Keen stormed to a dominant race one victory and extended the #33 Lamborghini’s championship lead over the #31 Bentley to 21 points.