Published on June 26th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair0
First Pure McLaren GT Series Has Its First Winners
Last weekend saw two new winners in the inaugural Pure McLaren GT Series, making a total of four winners in six races, as competitors racing track-only Sports Series 570S GTs took to the iconic Algarve International Circuit in Portugal.
The weekend’s two races had a major effect on the championship standings, after Sultan Ojjeh and Ian Loggie both scored wins.
In the first race of the weekend on Saturday, it was the #75 570S GT4 of Ojjeh who took the spoils, after a dominant run to victory.
Ojjeh held his nerve and ran a perfect race, crossing the line 1.2 seconds clear of the rest of the field. By winning overall, Ojjeh also won the Bruce McLaren Cup class, giving his championship chances a boost.
Poor luck struck pole-sitter Ian Loggie before the race even began. Loggie, who sealed pole position by less than two tenths with a 1:53.731 lap, was forced to start the race at the back of the grid after a minor mechanical issue befell his car on the parade lap.
He did, however, make up for the pre-race disappointment by climbing the order throughout the 16-lap race on the challenging Algarve International Circuit to finish third, earning the ‘Speedy Kiwi’ award for setting the race’s fastest lap – a 1:54.771 – in the process.
Ahead, finishing second overall was Mia Flewitt who raced hard from sixth on the grid in a competitive field in which the top six in qualifying were covered by less than half a second. Mia extended her lead in the points over Stewart Proctor.
Proctor, who won both races last time out at Valencia, and began the weekend just five points off Flewitt in the standings, retired from the race early due to accident damage sustained through contact at the first turn.
Finishing fifth and sixth overall, but second and third in the Bruce McLaren Cup, were David Kyte and Michael Petersen respectively. The Bruce McLaren Cup is named after McLaren founder Bruce McLaren and for drivers who have held their racing licence for less than twelve months and have not competed higher than club level in that specific year.
While Ojjeh had a dominant run to the class victory, the race for second was extremely tight, with Kyte just taking the place ahead of Petersen.
Loggie made up for the disappointment on Saturday with a dominant display on Sunday, the Briton scoring pole position with a 1:53.0, before taking a lights-to-flag victory in the second race, earning the ‘Speedy Kiwi’ title once again in the process with a best lap of 1:54.6.
In what was a clean, but hard-fought encounter, the same trio of drivers would make up the overall podium spots. Sultan Ojjeh, after his sterling drive on Saturday, crossed the line second, and in the process, scored himself a second Bruce McLaren Cup win.
Mia Flewitt also nabbed a spot on the podium, but could not improve on her Saturday form. Ojjeh overtook her at turn five to snatch second, forcing her to settle for a third-place finish. It was, however, still a very important result for her title hopes, extending her lead in the points further.
In the Bruce McLaren Cup, the battle for the podium places was again hard fought. Behind repeat cup winner Ojjeh, David Kyte and Eric Hautemont had a fantastic scrap for second place, swapping places multiple times and displaying fantastic racecraft. Eventually Kyte prevailed to take second, with Hautemont taking third – his second podium of the year.
Circuit Paul Ricard is the next venue for the Pure McLaren GT championship runners to visit, the circuit, based in the South of France, hosting the next pair of races on July 27-29.