Three in a Row for Davies and Kazama as MacMillan Dominate Karjala GP

CWG Team MacMillan drivers Rhys Davies and Tomo Kazama won the first edition of the revived Karjala Grand Prix and have won three races in a row in the GT Super Series.

Their third win in succession comes after they, and teammates Darren Older Jr. and Markus Jacobson at his home race, were the class of the field after the dust started to settle near the end of the first stint of the race. They would dictate the pace at the front of the field alongside the pair of factory Aston Martins before Ravenwest Motorsports driver Nathan McKane clipped the grass at the Dwyer S and crashed into the tire barriers. Davies and lead Prodrive driver Matteo Rossi would swap the lead for the rest of the first stint before they, and others in the lead pack, would all come to pit road together.

But winning the race off of pit road during both rounds of pit stops would be the crew at Ferdinand United, the Mercedes-AMG crew nailing the tire change on both occasions to lead the Karjala Grand Prix as the pit stops would cycle through. It wouldn’t take long for Tomo Kazama to pass Patrick Feldhoffer at the start of the second stint of the race, taking the lead at the hairpin at the end of the back straight once her Ford GT’s tires got up to temperature. They would start to deal with lapped traffic which would allow Dave Simpson in the Prodrive Aston to close in on the pair, with Kazama’s teammate Markus Jacobson joining the lead fight soon after. Simpson and Jacobson would make short order of Feldhoffer and the lead three factory cars would start to leave the car leading the Independent’s class behind as they fought for the lead.

Both MacMillans would pit together again, being joined by Feldhoffer and the Minarae Mercedes of Joao Cavalcanti with Simpson electing to bring his Aston Martin in for service the lap prior. Once again, the Mercedes crews would be the class of the field, but now with both of their leading entries leading the way outright as pit stops would cycle through. Feldhoffer would lead for the next six laps, as Rhys Davies navigated past Andrea Massini and some lapped traffic before getting a clean charge at Feldhoffer. Behind Davies, Markus Jacobson would too be mounting his own charge past the pair of Mercedes-AMGs, giving CWG MacMillan a 1-2 with 15 minutes remaining.

Jacobson would put on a couple attacks on his team leader in a bid to win his home race, but they would be thwarted by the F1 and ARWS champion, with the team taking their first 1-2 result of the season and Davies and Kazama their third win of the season out of four races. It also gives the lead Ford pairing a full two race advantage in the World Driver’s Championship points after their closest rivals, with them only being three points away from a perfect season thus far. After struggling out of the blocks, the Older Jr. and Jacobson pairing would shoot up to fifth in the standings with their second place result.

Behind the Fords there was still a battle for the final spot on the podium to be decided between the pair of Independent Mercedes, with the Prodrive Aston Martin simply running out of time to mount a charge. The Ferdinand United Mercedes would again struggle on worn tires late in the stint, giving former ARWS driver Massini a chance to steal the final spot on the podium and class victory. Massini would lag back from Feldhoffer in the last few laps to build up a buffer to get a run through the velodrome at the end of the lap. Massini would make his move coming to the chequered flag, getting a massive slipstream through the velodrome and putting him side by side with Feldhoffer coming to the line. The Minarae’s push would run out of steam coming to the line, and the pair of Mercedes would finish in a dead heat to the thousandth of a second, with the Ferdinand United Mercedes being scored the winner in the Independent’s Class at the ten-thousanth of a second barrier.

Both of those Mercedes-AMGs would score bonus points in the Independent’s Trophy championship with their overall finishes being in the top five, with the third place finisher in class, the class pole sitting Blokkmonsta Aston Martin finishing just on the outside of that in seventh place. It would be a quiet race for the duo of Tilkesson and Horford after losing touch of the leaders late in the first stint, and would run their own race the rest of the way. They would finish twelve seconds ahead of the Carson Speedworks Corvette of Qi and Anton Robishaud, the only factory Corvette to make the finish after their lead car retired from the race after the first round of pitstops with engine troubles.

The last two cars to finish in the top ten overall was the second Solvalou Lamborghini of Pescatore and Fazio and the RMR Maserati of Travesen and Axelsen. It would be a recovery drive for Pescatore and Fazio after running into the back of the Team Astana Ferrari and being forced to pit early for repairs to the front of their Lamborghini. The Danish duo would make the most of a late scuffle for the last points paying position where they were able to break through lapped traffic quickly at the hairpin and run away from the Scuderia Italia Ferrari of Valeri Kozar and the Gelsenkirchen Maserati of Jans Zeitner they had been battling for the duration of the race.

The highest finishing local driver would be Markus Jacobson in second overall in the second of the MacMillan Fords, the best result for a local driver at the Karjala Grand Prix since the early 80s when it became a premiere event for Group C prototypes. The best finishing Scandinavian entry would be the Lumenition RMR Maserati finishing within the points for the first time this season. The debuting Koenigsegg would be the last car to finish one lap down, and the Finntech Corvette of Mika Tervo and Nils Tolonen would finish the race twenty-fourth, two laps down.

Race Results – After 72 Laps

243MOlder Jr./JacobsonMacMillan+0.213
387ICardel/FeldhofferFerdinand United+3.947
56MRossi/SimpsonProdrive AMR+4.230
601MWinter/Le FaySolvalou+6.075
1004ITravesen/AxelsenLumenition RMR+1:09.292
1127MRestov/KozarScuderia Italia+1:17.672
1367Ivon Koenig/RodriguezLynxe+1:21.317
1428MConstantini/MolinaroScuderia Italia+1:24.006
1525MZimmer/HorvathPagani+1 Lap
1615IBourne/LuisaBoutsen Ginion+1 Lap
1788IWilkinson/ChoLKM+1 Lap
1819IOliver/SimmonsOliver+1 Lap
1982IJenkins/CesslerGlobex Scorpio+1 Lap
20555IA+V Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1 Lap
2155IMelrose/DouglasTom Douglas+1 Lap
2294MEklund/HoglundKoenigsegg+1 Lap
23550IMcCracken/KomarekCzechmate+2 Laps
24222ITervo/TolonenFinntech+2 Laps
2570ITime/ManciniTeam Astana+3 Laps
2742IFabron/BeverlyMinsterSpun Off
298ICoelho/HortinBest In The WorldGearbox
302MMcKane/KremnickyRavenwestSpun Off

Fastest Lap – Car 40 (MacMillan Ford – Davies/Kazama) – 1:35.286

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – The Ferdinand United and Minarae Mercedes-AMGs – Karjala magic shone on the three-point star cars.

Reject of The Race – Nathan McKane – A spin and crash from the lead is what we call, not ideal.