Rob Barrable emerged victorious from a weather-affected and Safety Car-interrupted Silverstone 500 race earlier today to claim RCIB Insurance Racing’s first British GT4 Championship win, as well as Ginetta’s fourth in five rounds, after starting 16th.
Heavy rain ensured the three-hour, 500-kilometre contest started under Safety Car conditions, but when racing began in earnest after three laps it was Bartholomew who reacted quickest to wrestle the lead from Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Sandy Mitchell around the outside of Copse. Marcus Hoggarth also made his customary electric start to bring the Ebor GT Maserati up from 12th to third before a second Safety Car was required for debris on track with 34 minutes gone.
However, it was the subsequent flurry of pit-stops that brought RCIB Insurance Racing’s #75 Ginetta into the frame. The combination of stopping a lap later than most of their rivals and vagaries of the Safety Car’s position on track helped Barrable, who’d taken over from Mason, make up half a lap on the rest of the field, which was enough to give him the lead once racing resumed.
The Irishman’s rallying pedigree then became apparent in the wet and greasy conditions before Mason climbed back aboard. Another perfectly executed stint followed but, again, the team’s decision to delay its final stop in an effort to see out a short, sharp rain shower before switching to slick tyres paid dividends.
Their pit-stop success penalty for finishing third at Oulton meant Barrable was held stationary for an additional 10 seconds, but that proved insufficient to prevent him from catching and passing Matt Nicoll-Jones’ Academy Motorsport Aston Martin that effectively held the class lead as the highest placed contender to have made its three mandatory stops.
Barrable eventually took the chequered flag 18 seconds clear of the next best GT4 and over a minute ahead of he and Mason’s nearest British GT rivals, Walewska and Freke, who kept their noses clean throughout the three hours to equal their best result of the season. Beechdean AMR’s Bartholomew and Albert were ever-present in the top-four en route to third while Nicoll-Jones and Dennis Strandberg’s alternative strategy of stopping under the Safety Car in the opening laps netted them fourth on a one-off domestic outing.
Rob Barrable, #75 RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta G55 GT4: “When you look at the entry list you think ‘Jesus!’. Just being in the mix would have been nice so did we honestly expect to win? No. But we had a good strategy and worked hard on the car yesterday to find a consistent set-up. The pit-stops were perfect and we took the right tyres at the right time. I managed to get down to a good dry time pretty quickly, which really helped over the final stint.”
Aaron Mason, #75 RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta G55 GT4: “I look back and can’t think where we found the time! After I pitted and Rob jumped in the car we gained some time on the leaders, which we managed to maintain throughout the race, dropping back and then jumping forwards again as the other pit-stop strategies played out. The team did a great job.”
Round six of this year’s British GT Championship takes place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on July 8/9.