Although the weather was kinder to the British GT teams than those who took to the track on Saturday afternoon for the latest round of the Le Mans Endurance Series, wet conditions again played a major part in the latest round of the British GT Championship as Ben Collins and Neil Cunningham took a dramatic victory for the Embassy Racing team.
Overcoming a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit-lane and being too quick during the driver change and pit-stop – series regulations stating pit-stops must be a minimum of 90 seconds – Cunningham hunted down the Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari of championship leader Nathan Kinch to steal victory on the very last lap of the two hour race to give Jonathan France and his team a second win of the year.
Kinch was left to settle for second place while Michael Bentwood and Anthony Reid completed the podium in the new look Nissan 350Z of RJN Motorsports after a dramatic conclusion to the race.
Wet weather at the start played havoc with proceedings, with the safety leading the field round on two warm-up laps but being called back into action almost immediately after the green flag dropped to start proceedings, following an off for the GT3 Porsche of David Ashburn and to allow marshals to deal with oil which had mysteriously appeared on the circuit.
By the time the safety car peeled off – having been kept out for an extended period when the Ferrari of Phil Burton ground to a halt at the end of the pit-lane – Andrew Kirkaldy led the way in the Scuderia Ecosse car with Phil Keen having taken second in the Eclipse Mosler and Chris Niarchos third.
Niarchos was soon under pressure from Collins, as the pair battled for position, while Reid and Michel Caine in the Eurotech Porsche also found themselves involved in a big battle for fifth.
However the onslaught of rain would be prove to be key as Niarchos spun off – losing two laps in the process – and making the tyre decision following the driver changes and pit-stops more important than ever. With Kirkaldy pitting in in the Ferrari, Keen charged into the lead in the Mosler with Collins and Caine also electing to run long first stints as Kinch returned to the track but appeared to be struggling off the pace with his new wet tyres.
It appeared that the leading trio would hold the advantage over the Scuderia Ecosse car when the stops were made, and Collins was the first to pit in, Cunningham rejoining the track ahead of Kinch before the team was informed that the Kiwi would have to serve a drive through penalty.
Keen and Caine both made their stops, with Steve Hyde rejoining in the lead in the Mosler ahead of Kinch, but with the Mosler on slick tyres, Kinch was soon able to take the lead as Hyde acclimatised to the conditions. Two spins at Luffield would ultimately contribute to the Eclipse car eventually finishing down in sixth place.