MAIDEN BRITISH GT4 WIN FOR BEN TUCK!
The sunny skies of a warm early summer bank holiday weekend at Snetterton were the perfect backdrop to a superb maiden British GT victory for Ben Tuck and his partner driver Ben Green on Sunday.
The double header weekend marked a number of firsts as Ben Tuck took the Century Motorsport run BMW M4 GT4 to its maiden Pole position in Race 1 and a win in Race 2, which also marked an historic SRO-GT4 maiden victory for the car in customer hands on European soil.
The team arrived at the Norfolk circuit with every intention of improving on their performance at Rockingham where they took 7th place after struggling with setup on the new car.
Those intentions were decisively carried out during qualifying when Ben Tuck headed the GT4 timing sheets from the start of his session until the end, taking Race 1 Pole Position by more than half a second. Race 2 grid slot was decided by Ben Green in the second qualifying session where he placed the car on 8th with the top 10 split by less than a second.
Race one began with what looked like a dominant performance when Ben Tuck accelerated away from the chasing pack after the start from Pole, building a 5.3 second lead in just 7 laps. However, a safety car period starting on the following lap neutralised the advantage. The safety car was still out when the pit lane opened and almost the entire field dived in to make their driver changes resulting in enormous congestion.
The Century pair completed their change to Tucks partner Ben Green, but had dropped several places after all the stops in the chaotic pit lane had shaken out. Green then set about minimising the deficit, taking 6th place by the flag, 3rd in the Silver Class. The result was certainly a disappointment, but the pace in the car was looking promising.
Race 2 got underway with Ben Green at the helm from 8th place on the grid. After a great start, he’d reached 5th place by the end of the first lap and by Lap 4 was in 4th place. Unfortunately, his climb was halted on Lap 9 after a collision, which dropped him to 11th place until the pit stop.
Ben Tuck took over duties at the halfway point on Lap 16 and began a captivating charge from 11th place, finding 2nd place by Lap 21 with a 5 second gap to make up in 5 laps. Two laps later Tuck had reached the leading McLaren and made his move, cleanly taking the lead at the Bombhole and going on to register a superb win, stamping his mark on the championship.
Overjoyed, Ben said after the race “I could see that I was slowly catching Lewis [Proctor] in the McLaren but every time a GT3 car came past the gap between us grew again. I was on the radio asking how many GT3’s were left behind us because I was desperate to get him, which I managed to do on the penultimate lap. The team were really on it and gave me all the information I needed about cars coming up behind. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
“I’m really pleased for the team and for BMW for this win, we’ve known that we have the pace to do this. It was great starting from Pole in race 1 and it could so easily have been a double, but we’re looking forward to Silverstone in a couple of weeks, we’ve learned a lot again and we’ll be looking for trophies there too”.
The results from Snetterton place Tuck and Green 4th in the GT4 drivers’ standings, 3rd in the Silver class and Century Motorsport 2nd in the team standings, with hopes that this marks a turning point in the season for BMW, Century and the two Ben’s.
The next race is at Silverstone in Northamptonshire on 10th June 2018 where the pair will compete in the prestigious Silverstone 500 3 hour endurance round of the British GT Championship.
“We should go well at Silverstone, the team have done some testing and we have some data to help with the setup of the car” said Ben Tuck. “The remainder of the circuits on the calendar this year should be good for us as they are all quite fast and flowing which suits a big heavy car like our BMW!”