GRDC+ championship leader Michael Crees (Want2Race) got his Zandvoort weekend off to the best possible start on Saturday with pole position and a race-one win in largely dry and sunny conditions at the Dutch seaside circuit.
While the GT5 Challenge runners had been presented with a drying track shortly after breakfast time, by the time the GRDC+ contingent took to the circuit for their qualifying later in the morning, the tarmac had dried out, meaning there was no tricky tyre decision to be made.
After the early flying laps, Triple V Racing’s Phil Ingram was the pacesetter, ahead of Crees and Ingram’s Triple V team-mate David Holloway, with Gary Wager (Fox Motorsport), Shawn Fleming (SF Racing) and Shaun Linn (Optimum Motorsport) fourth to sixth respectively.
Crees then improved to go fastest, while Rob Keogh slotted into P4 ahead of Holloway, then went faster twice more to book a slot on the front row alongside Crees for the afternoon’s race. Team County End’s Richard Tetlow would end up splitting the two Triple V cars by qualifying fourth.
Any chance of further improvements by any of the grid was put paid to when the session was ended a few minutes early due to a car getting stuck in the gravel.
Once the lights went out for the race, all cars got away from the grid cleanly, although there were some hairy moments when a car spun at the Slotemaker corner, with Keogh having to take action to avoid. He had soon re-established himself in third, however, with season-long rivals Ingram and Crees separated by fractions at the head of the field.
All looked set for a grandstand finish, however unfortunately there was an off for Guy Redwood on lap four at Luyendyk corner that first brought out the safety car, and then the chequered flag, when it became clear his car couldn’t be recovered safely under yellows.
So it was Crees, Ingram and Keogh first, second and third, with Holloway coming out best from a scrap with Jack Oliphant for fourth, Fleming claiming sixth and Team County End’s Phil McGarty seventh. The top 10 was rounded out by Optimum’s Ron Linn, Ginetta’s Nick Portlock and County End’s Richard Tetlow.
Sunday sees two more races for the GRDC+ grid to round out the weekend’s action from Zandvoort.