Igoe, Caldarelli dominate wet race
Michael Igoe and Andrea Caldarelli produced a perfect performance in challenging wet conditions to score their and WPI Motorsport’s maiden Intelligent Money British GT Championship win in today’s endurance race at Donington Park.
The Pro/Am-entered Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, which started ninth, denied RAM Racing’s Sam De Haan and Patrick Kujala victory with just nine of the 120 minutes remaining. RAM’s other Mercedes-AMG shared by Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman completed the overall podium.
Further back, TF Sport’s Aston Martins finished one-two after Patrick Kibble and Connor O’Brien beat team-mates Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughan. Sam Smelt and James Kell finished third in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Supra.
Caldarelli’s successful pursuit of both Mitchell and Kujala might have set up a thrilling finish to the day’s first race, but it was the groundwork initially laid by Igoe that put the Lamborghini factory driver in a potentially race-winning position.
Conditions dictated that proceedings begin behind the safety car but only two slow laps were necessary before racing began in earnest.
Igoe’s workload was instantly lightened by both 2 Seas Motorsport McLarens starting from the pitlane, but that didn’t account for Loggie, Lewis Proctor (Optimum Motorsport) and Adam Balon (Barwell Motorsport) who were all dispatched within the first 25 minutes.
Ahead, a fantastic scrap between pole-sitter O’Brien (Jenson Team Rocket RJN), Rob Collard (Barwell Motorsport) and De Haan ultimately saw the former BTCC ace establish a slender advantage over the chasing Mercedes-AMG, which dived for the pits at the first opportunity.
Barwell, though, were content to play the long game in the hope that a Safety Car or the potential need for slicks would negate their Huracan’s 15s Success Penalty. Collard eventually pitted with 41 minutes remaining, by which time fresher tyres and a five-second-shorter Success Penalty allowed Kujala to assume the lead.
Further back, Caldarelli was now also aboard WPI’s Huracan and homing in on the top-three. First, O’Brien’s co-driver James Baldwin was reeled in and passed before Mitchell – who’d taken over from Collard – was also dispatched in short order.
Kujala was now just six seconds further up the road, a gap that Caldarelli steadily whittled away over the next 20 minutes. Biding his time, the Italian finally made his move exiting Goddards before sweeping around the outside at Redgate. 6.3s separated him from RAM’s Silver Cup-winning Mercedes-AMG at the finish.
Behind, more factory Pros were making their presence felt as first Yelmer Buurman and then Keen also passed Mitchell’s heavier Lamborghini. It was an especially impressive performance from Keen who set fastest lap en route to fourth after overcoming the full 20s Success Penalty following Balon’s pitstop.
Mitchell and Collard completed the top-five ahead of Nearys Richard and Sam after the latter carved his way through the field over the second half of the race. Indeed, Neary Jnr’s times in ABBA Racing’s Mercedes-AMG were comparable to those of the factory Pros.
Jordan Witt and Jack Mitchell rescued a trying race for 2 Seas Motorsport after their #10 McLaren started from the pitlane. The duo overcame erstwhile championship leaders O’Brien and Baldwin who were unable to capitalise on their pole position.