The father-son duo of Richard and Sam Neary, sharing the wheel of the number 8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, got their 2022 campaign off to the best possible start on Monday 18th April.
After finishing fifth in the Silver Am classification in Race 1 of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park Circuit, the duo excelled themselves in the second sprint race, taking a well-deserved victory in class with second place overall.
The 25-minute dash for victory occurred following a mid-race downpour just as the GT3 pit window opened. Pro drivers typically maximise their 10-minute allowance, but that strategy looked set to go out the window with heavy rain sweeping the circuit.
Despite a well-timed call for wets by Sam Neary, any gain was short-lived as a race stoppage to recover two stranded cars prevented either class from completing their pitstop cycles.
Race Control restarted the race 30 minutes later with new drivers installed, tyres changed and cars in the order from one lap before the GT3 window had opened. That meant the top-three in both classes from Race 1 would have their Success Penalties added to the final result.
Ian Loggie therefore had to finish seven seconds, respectively, ahead of the chasing pack to maintain his lead position.
That initially looked possible as Mia Flewitt’s 7TSIX McLaren gradually fell away from the second place Audi. But it wasn’t long before Kelvin Fletcher was past Flewitt and in hot pursuit of the leaders. Indeed, his initial 10s deficit had reduced to a tantalising 7.1s with two minutes remaining before heavy GT4 traffic helped to comfortably overturn Loggie’s advantage on corrected times.
That also played a role in catapulting Team Abba Racing’s Silver-Am class winners Richard and Sam Neary to second overall although the race result remains provisional subject to RAM Racing's appeal.
It was a race full of strategy with Richard Neary pushing hard in the remaining few laps to narrow the gap and earn places. Commenting upon the weekend’s racing he said: “It was a weekend of highs and lows. In race one we saw the opportunity of a race win slip away which was frustrating. Despite starting from row six in race two we are delighted with our podium place and Silver-Am win.”
British GT returns Silverstone on 7th/8th May for the three-hour Silverstone 500 race.
Team Abba Racing is a small family run race team based in Lancashire. More information about Sam Neary is available at www.samnearyracing.com