Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Perfect start for Keen

HENLEY’S Phil Keen took the spoils in the Avon Tyres British GT season opener at Oulton Park over the Easter

HENLEY’S Phil Keen took the spoils in the Avon Tyres British GT season opener at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend, leading home a one-two for the Trackspeed racing team.

While Keen was set to take to the cockpit for the second half of race one, his team-mate, Jon Minshaw, made a strong start from fourth on the grid to stay hot on the heels of the lead trio, headed by Fortec Motorsports’ Benji Hetherington.

A strong opening leg from Minshaw meant that when the pit lane opened for driver change-overs on lap 12, Keen, who took the reins of the Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R, joined the race in second and in hot pursuit of the Fortec-run Mercedes out in front.

Reeling in new leader Ollie Hancock, at a rate of knots, Keen soon found himself defending hard from a charging team-mate, Nick Tandy, who after a series of fastest laps passed Keen on lap 18 before picking off Hancock for the lead the following lap. Keen was to benefit from Tandy’s move as he too passed Hancock, demoting the Fortec man to third.

Having cleared the Fortec-run Mercedes, the Trackspeed duo stretched out a significant lead out in front as the top two podium positions were all but decided. A late issue for Tandy saw him slow in the closing stages of the sprint race and it was Keen who prevailed, passing Tandy on the penultimate lap to cross the line just over a second clear of his team-mate to take victory in the opening race of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.

Speaking after the race, Keen praised the team’s efforts. He said: “It was a good race for us the car worked really well for us and in the end it was a fairly straightforward win. It’s always that bit nicer when it’s a one-two for the team so it’s a great start to the season.”

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