Team Redline Racing added another pair of Silver-Am class podium finishes with two thrilling comeback drives in the latest British GT Championship rounds at Snetterton 300 circuit last weekend (25/26 June).
The Teesside-based team looked to continue their fine veil of form on their maiden foray into the British GT's premier GT3 class, having claimed two victories in the Silver-Am class at the previous two rounds with their Lamborghini Huracan piloted by James Dorlin and Alex Malykhin.
With the team having shown front-running pace throughout both the endurance races at Silverstone and Donington respectively, the weekend format at Snetterton reverted to the championship's sprint system with two one-hour long races featuring a single driver change in each.
The team therefore used testing on Friday leading up to the event as experience to gather data and a feel for the car around the 2.9-mile 300 circuit in Norfolk, followed by two one-hour practice sessions on Saturday morning prior to qualifying.
The car was close to the ultimate pace, with Malykhin first up in qualifying to set a time for race one's grid, followed by Dorlin. The former threatened the top places throughout as he finished 10th, Dorlin then flirting with the top five before settling into 11th place - just a second adrift.
Attention shifted to the important double header on Sunday with the team confident on two strong results based on race simulations. Malykhin started the Lamborghini for the first of the two contests, and kept pace with the fellow Am drivers ahead of him during the first half of the race.
Malykhin moved by a spinning Mercedes of John Ferguson and climbed up to ninth place as he traded the driving duties with fellow former Porsche Sprint Challenge GB star Dorlin for the second stint of the race. The latter gave chase and moved up to eighth place by the conclusion of the contest, clambering all over the rear wing of the second-placed Mercedes in Silver-Am as the Lamborghini added another podium finish in the class.
Dorlin started the Huracan for the second race as the Redline Racing team aimed for more silverware from 11th spot on the grid, and he handed the car over inside the top eight after making up ground on several cars jostling for position on the opening lap.
The Lamborghini made an early visit to the pits when the mandatory window opened to escape the traffic, Malykhin jumping in to complete the race in what became a dramatic second half. From 10th place after stops, he swiftly passed Mark Sansom's Bentley and then joined the back of a train of cars fighting for fourth place.
A spin for a McLaren ahead moved Malykhin up to seventh and into the Silver-Am podium positions, before another collision ahead between Morgan Tillbrook and Mia Flewitt delayed the pack sufficiently enough to allow Malykhin to slot his way up to a fantastic fourth place overall.
A comfortable position was maintained all the way to the chequered flag, Redline Racing finishing fourth overall and second in the Silver-Am class to extend their run of podium finishes to four in the latter and maintain the team's overall title push.
The double podium means that Dorlin and Malykhin have extended their lead at the top of the Silver-Am class standings to 33 points, and also moved up to a brilliant third in the overall GT3 drivers' rankings, as the series next heads abroad with a visit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 23/24 July.
Simon Leonard – Managing Director: “It was a weekend that looked as though it was going to be tough for us, but the team knuckled down and we came back brilliantly to get a pair of class podiums by the end of the weekend.
"Both James and Alex were quick and left their best showings for the two races. They kept the car in contention all the way through the action, and pounced when it mattered most as the battles became more lively.
Alongside their British GT commitments at Snetterton, Team Redline Racing were also in action much closer to home as the Teesside team visited their local circuit at Croft for the latest double header in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB.
Former British GT and BTCC driver Sam Smelt joined the team for a three-car assault in North Yorkshire, but it was regular driver Steve Roberts who headed the team's charge in qualifying with his first pole position of the season. Smelt qualified fifth, with Jason Pelosi second of the Am drivers in the team's third car.
A dramatic opening race on Sunday was looking encouraging for Roberts, who grabbed the early lead of the race. Contact from Harry Foster would cost him dearly at the hairpin however, but a fine recovery charge fired him back onto the tail of Matthew Armstrong who he pressured all the way to the chequered flag.
Second place would be the reward for Roberts, with Smelt finishing his maiden Sprint Challenge GB race in fourth overall. Pelosi meanwhile grabbed the early lead of the AM class, and would never surrender it as he claimed the top spot on the podium in that category.
Race two later that afternoon ended with a remarkably similar end result, as Roberts again gave chase on his way to finishing a strong second, only 0.3s adrift of Armstrong. Smelt finished fourth once more, with Pelosi adding a second win of the day in the Am class on just his second weekend.
Simon Leonard – Managing Director: “It's always nice to come away with a trophy at our home event, so we're delighted to end up with four and almost an overall win. Steve has driven brilliantly all weekend and was very unlucky with the contact in race one but he's improving massively race by race. Sam and Jason have impressed too, and Jason showed how quickly he has learned by taking two Am wins on a good weekend for us."
Team Redline Racing are next in Porsche Sprint Challenge GB action at Oulton Park for two races over a single-day event on 9 July.