Tomlinson beats Hopkins in thrilling second Masters GT4 Challenge race at Silverstone
Freddie Tomlinson turned the tables on Seb Hopkins to claim a hard-fought win in the second Masters GT4 Challenge race at the Classic. Beating Hopkins off the line, the Ginetta G56 GT4 driver was put under immense pressure by Hopkins all race, but the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS was unable to find a way past.
“It was obviously really tough to keep Seb behind all race”, said Tomlinson, “It was all about not making a mistake, and luckily I managed to get there in the end.”
“This is a really good one-off event, getting back into the rhythm for British GT”, said Hopkins. “We’ve had a long break off, Silverstone has really been a good time to get back into it.”
In two dramatic final-lap developments, Alliyyah Koloc beat Mercedes AMG GT4 teammate David Vrsecky to third, while Craig Wilkins in the Toyota GR Supra GT4 pipped David Foster’s McLaren 570S to the line to claim fifth.
“It was a really fun race, and I enjoyed the weekend”, said the young lady who finished third. “It was great fighting with the McLaren [of David Foster] first and then passing my teammate on the final lap!”
In seventh, John Dickson in the Lotus Evora hit back to beat yesterday’s Cup class winner Greg Evans in the Ginetta G55 Supercup to class victory, while in tenth overall Chris Griffin doubled up in the Classic class. On the restart after a lengthy safety-car period for Danny Henrey crashing out his 570S GT4 at Becketts and Chris Murphy beaching his Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the gravel trap at Club, Griffin moved ahead of early class leader Martin Addison, both in Vantage GT4s.
As the GT4 cars lined up for their second Classic outing, teenager Seb Hopkins from pole lost out into the first corner to Freddie Tomlinson, with David Vrsecky in third, while David Foster pushed his way through to fourth despite some pushing and shoving with Aliyyah Koloc in the second Mercedes AMG GT4. In ninth overall, John Dickson’s Lotus Evora had pushed yesterday’s Cup class winner Greg Evans’ Ginetta G55 Supercup to second in class, while Martin Addison had got ahead of race 1 winner Chris Griffin in the Classic class.
On lap 2, Danny Henrey disappeared from sixth after his McLaren 570S GT4 crashed wildly out of Becketts, and only moments later, Chris Murphy’s Classic-class Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was seen coming to a stop in the gravel on the exit of the final corner.
At the front, Tomlinson’s Ginetta G56 GT4 continued to fend off Hopkins in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS, with Vrsecky’s Mercedes AMG GT4 in third, four seconds down. In their fight for fourth, Koloc had got back ahead of Foster again, but then the safety car came out after all to allow the safe retrieval of Murphy’s Aston beached at Club. On the back of Henrey’s demise, Craig Wilkins in the Toyota GR Supra GT4 had taken over sixth place, while in eighth Stephen Walton’s AMG GT4 split the two Cup rivals, Dickson in seventh and Evans in ninth.
14 minutes remained when the safety car pulled in, and as Tomlinson gunned it out of Club, Hopkins failed to be surprised and stayed glued to the Ginetta. In third, Vrsecky tried to stick with the leaders, but a gap soon developed to Koloc, while Foster and Wilkins dropped three more seconds on the second Merc. Meanwhile in tenth overall, Griffin took Addison for the Classic class lead.
All eyes, however, were on the two in front, as Hopkins continued to harry the Ginetta in the lead. Tomlinson was holding his own, though, setting fastest lap of the race on lap 9, with six minutes still on the clock, as the pair left the two Mercs behind. Further back, a full train of cars had developed behind Foster and Wilkins, also including Cup class leader Dickson, Walton and Dickson’s rival Evans. Four seconds adrift of this group, Griffin continued to lead Addison in the Classic class.
On lap 10, it was Hopkins’ turn to improve on the fastest lap of the race, but still Tomlinson wouldn’t budge, although around Luffield and Woodcote the two ran side-by-side! Vrsecky now trailed by 6.8 seconds, the Czech one second ahead of teammate Koloc but losing ground quickly. Meanwhile, Foster and Wilkins were still at it for fifth, 24 seconds down on the leaders.
Into the final minute, Hopkins was almost pushing the Ginetta forward through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel, but into Vale and Club, Tomlinson pulled away again. On the final lap, the Ginetta went on to create some more clear air between itself and the Porsche, and so Tomlinson took a very hard-fought win ahead of Hopkins. In third, Koloc pipped Vrsecky for the final podium spot, while Wilkins performed another last-lap move to steal fifth from Foster. In seventh, Dickson completed the Cup class win, two places ahead of Evans, as Griffin held off Addison for victory in the Classic class.
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