Jonny Adam has maintained his immaculate early defence of the Pirelli British GT Championship crown with a storming win at Rockingham Motor Speedway.
Despite a 20-second success penalty which came with victory in the 2016 season opener at Brands Hatch, Fifer Adam and TF Sport teammate Derek Johnston delivered a textbook performance in their #17 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to extend their lead at the top of the standings.
Having converted blistering practice sessions into pole position for the two-hour race on a track not known as one which favours the Aston Martin, Johnston briefly lost the lead at the start but recovered to deliver an 11-second advantage to Adam at the changeover.
The reigning champion was initially second but capitalised on an unforced to edge away from the competition and secure the team’s third consecutive victory in the series.
Delighted Adam said: “We knew we had a really good shot before the race and I told Derek that if he pulled a ten-second gap, I’d do the rest.
“It was very close after the stop, but TF Sport gave me a very good car, the pit stops were bang on time and everything ran perfectly.
“You rarely get such flawless weekends.
“Derek did a superb job once again and for TF Sport to deliver such a quick package against the latest generation of GT3 cars is phenomenal.”
Dundee High School 16-year-old Mitchell – the youngest ever driver to compete in British GT – started from third on the grid and handed over the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse machine to 19-year-old teammate Haggerty in second place after a blistering 55-minute stint.
Minutes after the changeover Haggerty had eased into a healthy lead but visions of a first win in the UK’s most demanding sportscar championship evaporated when stewards adjudged the team had released the McLaren 570S GT4 early, before completing the compulsory 155-second stop.
From leading the race, Haggerty rejoined in sixth and eventually fought back to finish fifth.
Mitchell said: “I didn’t make the best of starts. I dropped two or three places, but I got back up to third when I passed a number of cars round the outside of turn two.
“I then tucked myself up close behind the second-placed car and though I knew I was faster, I couldn’t get past. When I did manage to ease past him, I could push on, open the gap to him and close in on the leader.
“Ciaran was doing a great job, he’d taken the lead when we got the news about the penalty.
“We’ve made such a huge amount of progress over the opening two races,” said the teenager.
“We’ve shown good pace, and to be feeling disappointed with fifth shows what our expectations are now. We’re here to win races.”