Sebastian Priaulx and team-mate Scott Maxwell were denied a podium finish during the penultimate round of the 2019 British GT Championship at Brands Hatch (03/04 August), with a strong post-race penalty costing them crucial points for their title challenge.
Priaulx headed into the meeting with a rich history at Brands Hatch, having won at least one race in each of his last five visits there, and a fantastic effort from the driver line-up and the Multimatic Motorsports team saw them fighting at the front of the field in Kent.
The weekend began with the traditional pair of free practice sessions and a positive opening showing saw them finish third fastest overall in their Ford Mustang GT4. With some productive running under their belt, the Guernseyman headed into qualifying in high spirits.
Priaulx put in a great performance in the Pro session to lap the world-famous 2.43 mile Grand Prix circuit in 1m 32.123s, putting him fifth on the timesheets. With his time added to that achieved by Maxwell, the #15 Mustang secured tenth on the grid for Sunday’s two-hour race.
It was a frenetic start in the GT4 category, with Maxwell superbly picking his way through some early incidents on track to rise to fourth in class within just two laps. From there, he successfully negotiated two long safety car periods and maintained that position into the pitstops.
A slick stop from the Multimatic team meant that Priaulx emerged on track in the same position. The 1st Central Insurance, Ravenscroft and Plus Interiors supported driver settled into a rhythm of competitive lap times as he aimed to close the gap to the podium contenders ahead.
The 18 year old’s persistence was rewarded when an incident for the on-the-road leader promoted him to third place with less than 20 minutes to go. From there, a composed drive from Priaulx netted what he and the team thought was their third podium finish of the campaign.
Post-race however they were handed a 40 second time penalty for breaching the championship’s pitstop safety regulations in regards to connecting the ground cable to the car a few seconds too late. The penalty dropped them to ninth in the final results classification.
With their championship lead subsequently lost, Priaulx and Maxwell now sit 12 points adrift of the class leaders in both the overall GT4 standings and the Silver Cup ahead of the final round at Donington Park in six weeks’ time (14/15 September).
Sebastian Priaulx: “After what felt like a really good weekend, it was incredibly disappointing to be on the receiving end of such a strong penalty for something that gave us no performance advantage. The subsequent points lost has made our chances of title success at Donington Park much more difficult.
“We worked hard on the car set-up in free practice and we got a solid result in qualifying. That gave us a good platform to start the race, but we didn’t quite expect such an incredible start from Scott to move from tenth up to fourth in just two laps.
“He put in a brilliant stint from there and once I was behind the wheel, the focus was solely on keeping the place, so it was a bonus to get another spot. It was a tough, physical race on a challenging circuit with lots of traffic, so third on the road felt like a great result.
“It was another fantastic performance from the whole Multimatic team and my team-mate Scott. A massive thank you to them all for their hard work and dedication. We gave it everything as a team and will do the same again at Donington Park.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.