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Barnes Takes First British GT Victory in Eight Years

Mark Farmer, Jon Barnes bring TF Sport to the checkered flag…

Photo: British GT/Jakob Ebrey

Photo: British GT/Jakob Ebrey

Jon Barnes secured his first British GT win since 2008 at Spa-Francorchamps, in the No. 11 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 he shares with TF Sport team-mate and first-time winner Mark Farmer.

While TF Sport has already won twice this season, that has been with the No. 17 car of Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston, which would finish seventh at Spa.

A remarkable performance, that saw the pair lead for one-hour, 30-minutes of the two-hour race, turned their misfortune around with a victory in Belgium.

Chaos ensued at the start of the race, as the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S GT4 and Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 crashed at Eau Rouge.

Andrew Howard’s Aston Martin came off worse, but both cars suffered damage, pushing them down the order.

Farmer came through to assume the lead for TF Sport. He had started third on the grid but had no issue passing the stricken McLaren and the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Rick Parfitt Jnr.

Hunter Abbott passed Farmer for the lead after 40 minutes, in the No. 63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3, making a one-off appearance in the series.

Soon after, Abdulaziz Al Faisal would also pass Farmer, putting his Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 into second position; also a visiting entry.

Both cars decided to pit a lap later than their competitors, and while this proved successful for Rolf Ineichen in the leading Lamborghini, Miguel Toril would lose out.

Barnes took second position, while Seb Morris was in third, ahead of Toril. However, Ineichen would soon lose ground and finish the race in fifth after being passed by the Aston Martin, Bentley, and both Black Falcon cars.

Barnes held off a late-race charge from Morris for the lead, giving him his first series win since 2008, and Farmer his maiden victory.

“We were lucky enough to come and do two test days here, which we needed to be honest,” said Barnes. “It’s really helped us with the setup. Mark just stroked it round and did what I’ve known he was capable of since we first met two years ago.

“From crashing a Caterham on our first day together to winning a British GT race at Spa is absolutely unbelievable! He and TF Sport made my life easy.

“I just concentrated on keeping it tidy through sector two where the Bentley was faster.”

Morris finished just 0.674 seconds behind, but ahead of Dani Juncadella, who completed the podium for Black Falcon in the No. 57 car he co-drives with Oliver Morley.

Lanan Racing was victorious in the GT4 battle, as Joey Foster and Alex Reed overcame a massive GT4 grid combining both the British GT and Competition102 GT4 European Series entries.

They took the No. 51 Ginetta G55 GT4 to the line after two hours ahead of Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson in the No. 50 Optimum Motorsport Ginetta.

Matty Graham completed the podium for Generation AMR Macmillan Racing along with team-mate Jack Mitchell in the No. 42 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4.

Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty had led the field from pole position for Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse, but their McLaren 570S GT4 came to a halt on track at the halfway point, ending their hopes of taking the win.

The highest-placed of the European GT4 entries was Street Art Racing, with the No. 107 Aston Martin driven by Jerome Demay and Damien Dupont.

RESULTS: Spa-Francorchamps

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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