26 October 2023 Two wins and a Title for Barwell at Donington Park
Barwell Motorsport had multiple reasons to celebrate at the ninth and final round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, as the #78 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo 2 of Shaun Balfe and Sandy Mitchell won the race overall while the #72 sister car of Mark Sansom and Will Tregurtha took both the Silver-Am race win and, with it, the Silver-Am title in thrilling fashion. While the #78 pairing of Sandy Mitchell and Shaun Balfe remained in the hunt for a top three championship finish, the #72 sister car piloted by Mark Sansom and Will Tregurtha headed to the season finale with a shot at landing the Silver-Am class title, trailing their main rivals by just 9.5 points, but with the difference between first and second on the track enough to ensure a winner-takes-all showdown. Starting seventh and 11th on the grid, but with Mitchell's qualifying pace echoing his pole position from May's round at the same circuit, there was an optimistic mood in the Barwell camp come raceday. Although the Black Bull Whisky-liveried #78 Lamborghini Huracan Evo 2 was hit with an early drive-thru' penalty, dropping Mitchell and Balfe as low as 14th overall, excellent strategy from the pitwall combined with fighting drives from both Mitchell and Balfe — including the former pulling off an incredible move around the outside of another car through the infamous Craner Curves — saw the car power back to the head of the field. Once in front, Mitchell continued to establish a comfortable advantage, taking the chequered flag an untroubled nine seconds clear of the pack as the #78 crew claimed their second overall victory of the season, having already won by 11secs at Snetterton. The result was enough to confirm Mitchell and Balfe fourth in the season's final standings. Sansom and Tregurtha, meanwhile, found themselves in a head-to-head battle with their Silver-Am category rivals and, with everything on the line, both crews showed that they were prepared to get their elbows out. An incident involving the two title contenders appeared to have put the #72 Black Bull-sponsored Lamborghini on the back foot, only for Tregurtha to produce a sensational drive that not only allowed him to close back in on the class leader, but shoulder him aside at the Melbourne hairpin to assume control of the race — and the Silver-Am championship — on the penultimate lap. With 10.5 points the difference between winning and finishing second in class, Sansom and Tregurtha snatched the title by a single point.
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