Davies and Kazama Go Back to Back, Win RAC Tourist Trophy

CWG Team MacMillan drivers Rhys Davies and Tomo Kazama mastered the conditions in Silverstone take their second win out of three races to open the 2020 GT Super Series season.

Kazama would drive away from the field when the heavens opened past halfway, putting in the longest margin of victory in the series since last season’s round of Malaysia when the same pairing won by thirty seconds. Kazama made short order of the Carson Speedworks Corvette of Jacques Malenfant, who was the first to pit for wet weather tires when the major rainfall began, passing the Frenchman as they used the Scuderia Italia Ferrari of Andrea Constantini as a pick at Brooklands. Kazama would be the quickest car on track for the bulk of the last forty minutes, only being usurped on certain laps by the Team Falken Tires Aston of Olivia Geiszler.

The lead Team MacMillan duo would not take their RAC Tourist Trophy Victory without controversy. A lengthy investigation mid-race would transpire after Davies, and their teammate Darren Older Jr. came together at Copse sending the Briton sliding through the paved runoff on the corner’s outside. Davies would dive to the inside after the pair went side by side at the old pit straight, with Older Jr. moving to the inside to take his normal line at Copse. The second factory Ford of Older Jr. and Markus Jacobson would be forced to retire in the pit lane during the pit stop for wet tires with a half-shaft failure upon exiting the pit box, believed to be initially brought on by the collision with their team leader Rhys Davies. No penalty was assessed by the stewards, as they classified the contact as a racing incident.

Joey Alliot and Jacques Malenfant would finish second overall, more than twenty seconds behind after the two hour race distance was completed. The factory Chevrolet duo were the class of the field in the dry and light rainfall that the field dealt with in the first two thirds of the race. Alliot would control the pace at the front, as Rhys Davies and both factory Aston Martins of Nathan McKane and Matteo Rossi would join the lead breakaway. With the light rain falling throughout the first stint, the entire field would pit for intermediates thinking the rain would resume. That initial rainfall would then subside soon after, forcing the entire field to scramble back to the pits for their second set of dry tires for the race.

Darren Older Jr. would vault to the lead of the race when everybody pitted for dry tires with a quick pitstop, before the collision with their teammate Davies would send them back to fourth overall, with Andrej Kremnicky in third behind Davies and Joey Alliot. But when the rain would start to return, the engine in Kremnicky’s Aston Martin would expire, and paired with Older Jr. retiring it moved the Prodrive Aston Martin of Dave Simpson to third overall, with the Solvalou Lamborghinis rounding out the top five. With the top two positions being decided, the final spot on the podium was still up for grabs in the torrential rain.

Matteo Rossi would return to the Prodrive Aston when they pitted to take on wet tires, with Morgan Le Fay staying on board of her Solvalou Lamborghini to close out the race. On the fresh wet Michelins for both cars, the scale would tip in the favor of the Briton at her home race. With pressure mounting on Rossi, the Italian would run wide at Vale with fifteen minuets remaining, but was able to maintain control through the flooded AstroTurf to hold onto the final spot on the podium.  As the pair would continue to navigate the lapped cars, the best of Le Fay’s tires had passed and she would start to lose sight of the podium. Rossi would be able to cruise to his, and the team’s, first podium since the Round of France nearly a year ago with Le Fay leading teammate Antonio Fazio home to round out the top five.

Finishing sixth overall and winning the Independent’s Trophy for the RAC Tourist Trophy was the rookie outfit of Autosport Mannschaft Gelsenkirchen and their pair of veteran drivers Jans Zeitner and John Bovy. After class pole sitter Luke Gilson-Clarke spun out of the race after Gilson-Clarke clipped the outside kerb on entry to Stowe, the race became wide open for class honors as they tried to survive the changing conditions. While the Ferdinand United Mercedes-AMG would be the early benefactor becoming class leader, the Michelin-shod Maserati would shoot up the order through the two quick-fire rounds of pit stops that happened when the first rainfall started to ease.

The Ferdinand United Mercedes, being driven by Patrick Feldhoffer once the storm arrived at Silverstone, would lead the way in class but would start to get tracked down by Zeitner, returning to the car for the final stint of the race. With ten minutes remaining, the German had caught his fellow countrymen but with conditions the worst the series had seen in a long time opportunities to pass were scarce. With five minutes remaining Zeitner would launch his first attack on Feldhoffer, but was on the wrong side of the track for the entire arena section was unable to take the spot.

After struggling to to get a good exit out of the arena in the wet, Zeitner would nail the exit to the arena and finally get a good run on the Mercedes down the Wellington Straight on the final lap of the race. Zeitner would dive down the inside at Brooklands and have the position before the pair made it to Luffield. The Maserati driver would then drive away from Feldhoffer and put two seconds between him and the Ferdinand United Mercedes in just two sectors to seal the Independent’s Trophy victory. Rounding out the podium in class was the Reyna-Sanchez siblings in their Tom Douglas Racing Saleen, running in a quiet ninth overall, twenty seconds clear of the surging Falken Tires Aston Martin that finished tenth overall. The pairing of Magnus and Geiszler having rallied from fifteenth at the pit stops to eleventh, passing the remaining Oliver Motorsports Lamborghini of David Simmons before being gifted tenth with the debuting Nissan GTR of Fabian Rei struggling in the wet conditions, spinning multiple times in the Maggots and Becketts complex in the tricky conditions.

Having only finished in the top two positions in the three races thus far in 2020, Rhys Davies and Tomo Kazama find already find themselves more than a race win clear at the front of the World Driver’s Championship. Behind them is a tight battle for second with the Alliot and Malenfant pairing just one point ahead of Nathan McKane and Andrej Kremnicky, with them one point ahead of reigning champions Chris Winter and Morgan Le Fay. CWG Team MacMillan’s lead in the Team’s Championship is left at thirteen markers, after the controversial coming together by their cars resulted in only one seeing the flag in Silverstone. The series now heads to Finland for the return of the Karjala Grand Prix.

Race Results – After 58 Laps

36MRossi/SimpsonProdrive AMR+30.703
401MWinter/Le FaySolvalou+43.015
787ICardel/FeldhofferFerdinand United+1:20.494
9555IA+V Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1:31.825
10007IMagnus/GieszlerFalken Tire+1:51.210
1223Mvan Nifterick/ReiNISMO+1 Lap
1315IBourne/LuisaBoutsen Ginion+1 Lap
148ICoelho/HortinBest In The World+1 Lap
1504ITravesen/AxelsenLumenition RMR+1 Lap
1632IBohlender/RingdahlSjöberg+1 Lap
1727MRestov/KozarScuderia Italia+1 Lap
1852ITilkesson/HorfordBlokkmonsta+1 Lap
1955IMelrose/DouglasTom Douglas+1 Lap
2028MConstantini/MolinaroScuderia Italia+1 Lap
2142IFabron/BeverlyMinster+1 Lap
2211ISetou/MestachBest In The World+1 Lap
2314IPereria/SparksGP+2 Laps
2451IMacena/RademackerPowersport-Dunbarton+2 Laps
2543MOlder Jr./JacobsonMacMillanContact Damage
2824MAgostini/MariPaganiSpun Off
3091IGilson-Clarke/NavarroOliverSpun Off

Fastest Lap – Car 01 (Solvalou Lamborghini – Winter/Le Fay) – 1:54.907

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – Autosport Mannschaft Gelsenkirchen: One of the most underfunded outfits in the series found a way.

Reject of The Race – Pagani: A most promising debut and optimistic qualifying sure did not last long.