Snetterton in Norfolk hosted the sixth of seven British GT rounds and the Bolton CAPE team of Anna Walewska and Rob Garofall looked to continue their climb of the GT4 class results sheet.
The pairing piloted the Bolton CAPE Ginetta G55 to P4 in the second free practice session on Saturday, but even more impressive was their P2 in the Sunday morning warmup. Their times translated into P8 for both Rob (Pro driver) and Anna (classified as amateur) in the afternoon qualifying sessions.
Brilliant sunshine greeted the impressive grid for the first of two hour-long races and team Bolton CAPE started from the 12th row.
A shortage of pit lane space at Snetterton means the cars have to park diagonally, which can mean a pretty frantic pitstop if a number of teams choose to come in together during the 10 minute window. Even the GT3 cars, employing centre-lock wheels, are required to spend at least 45 seconds off-circuit but exiting their allotted space requires each car to be pushed backwards by the mechanics.
A power failure in the #48 Ginetta of Fulvio Mussi and Jamie Stanley leaded to their retirement on lap 14. Later in the race both Stratton Motorsport UltraTek Evoras retired on the same lap and the #32 Ginetta of Mike Simpson suffered an impressive coolant failure with just a couple of laps left to go.
The BoltonCAPE #41 Ginetta crossed the line a respectable 7th, with Anna’s fastest lap a mere 1.5 seconds adrift from team mate Rob Garofall’s 2:01.817.
Two formation laps were required for the second race of the day with the track already damp from worsening drizzle, giving the drivers their only chance to gauge the state of the tarmac before lights out. Its unlikely anyone could have predicted just how wet it was going to get as the race progressed.
Shean Hollamby started the sole GT4 Porsche from the pit lane but its Rob Garofall who took took wheel of the #41 Ginetta for the first stint for the first time this season.
There’s drama already on the first lap with two GT3 championship contenders colliding, both suffering damage and leaving them to limp back to the pits.
20 minutes in and Rob’s into a thrilling battle with both the #77 and #53 Evoras, making for some great television. Will Moore’s #61 Aston is into the tyres at Coram just after half way through so any cars that hadn’t already pitted then come in. Anna took over from Rob for the remaining session in worsening weather.
With just over a quarter of the hour-long event remaining, the race steward quite rightly brought proceedings to a halt with a red flag, by which time the rain had reached “torrential” with considerable levels of standing water, especially at Murrays. A late overtake by Graham Johnson the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta, recovering from a big spin at Riches, robbed them of a place but Anna crossed the line P6 in GT4 class, equalling their best of the season set at Brands Hatch.
Obviously a supremely confident driver in the wet conditions, Rob later said “the tyres were mega and we got the set up right! Its was great fun”
The next and final outing for the pair will be at Donington on 12/13th September and although the GT4 title has already been decided (taken by Jamie Chadwick – the youngest and only female to take the crown – and Ross Gunn), Rob and Anna will be determined to do even better.
Text: Chris Valentine; Photo: Danny Walton