Impressive pace secures double podium for 2 Seas Motorsport at Snetterton
The 2 Seas Motorsport team was back to a two-car entry for this weekend’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship double-header event at Snetterton. Series regulars James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson were, once again, joined by former champions Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam, and the two line-ups showed significant pace but also were both hit with bad luck during the sprint races. Each of the pairings suffered tyre-related bad luck, but both scored a front row grid slot during one of the closest qualifying sessions of the year so far and both took a podium finish.
Having delivered good pace during the opening practice sessions, James and Flick took on the opening qualifying run which would set the grid for the first of the two hour-long sprint races the following day. As Flick made only her second series appearance since claiming the title back in 2018, she was immediately lighting up the timesheets, challenging at the top. As she continued to improve her laptimes, James was also delivering strong sector times and also looked set to be a contender for pole position. As the clock ran down, one final lap saw Flick improve further and take provisional pole before a very late run saw her end the session in P2, missing out on the top spot by just 0.048s. James had continued to improve his laptimes, and his final effort showed further gains before a late lock up saw him secure P3, separated by just 0.089s.
The second of the qualifying sessions saw Jonny and Lewis battling it out for fastest lap, and the tables turned as the clock clicked down. First blood went to Lewis on his initial flying lap, and he continued to push, making marginal improvements. Jonny was close behind his Scottish countryman as they battled hard, and as the final laps were completed Lewis made a further improvement to secure the front row, just 0.113s off the top of the timing sheets. Jonny concluded the session in P4.
The opening laps of the first race saw Flick maintain position, while James looked to ensure his championship challenge remained intact without putting his DK Engineering-backed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in harm’s way. While sacrificing a position initially, James was among the quickest cars on track, trading fastest sectors with Flick in the sister car. At quarter distance, James’ patience paid off as he moved back up to the final podium spot following one of the lead trio losing control and spinning off track. Flick then capitalised on clear air, running in P2, setting the fastest lap of the opening stint before pitting to switch for Jonny. Looking to make the most of the opportunity and splitting the strategy, James ran a lap longer, initially taking the race lead before coming into the pits.
A perfectly executed pitstop by the team saw Jonny quickly back out on track to leapfrog the leader. Following the podium result last time out, the Lewis had to serve a 7-second pitstop success penalty which dropped him back out of the podium contention as he exited the pitlane. The pace of the two Pro drivers remained strong, and Jonny replicated Flick’s earlier performance to set the consistently quickest sectors worked on extending the lead. The pair negotiated the traffic well, and Jonny was clear out in front while Lewis was quickly on to the tail of fourth place. However, as the end of the race approached, Jonny was managing a slow puncture over several laps while also maintaining his pace at the front of the field, but disaster struck just minutes from the end as the tyre couldn’t hold out any longer, forcing the #75 to retire from the lead. This misfortune promoted Lewis, who was engaged in his own battle, fighting hard to make a pass as the laps counted down. At the line, Lewis secured the final podium position in the Pro-Am class, P4 overall.
Race 2 would see the fortunes switch again. Despite Lewis making the stronger start and Jonny sustaining damage on the opening lap, it would be another tyre-related incident which would determine the outcome of the race. Holding position off the start, the team identified that Lewis had also suffered a puncture to a rear tyre, although this time just minutes after the start. This forced the yellow and red Mercedes-AMG back to the pitlane, but hopes of a strong result looked to be over as they dropped to the back of the GT3 field. After being tagged on the opening lap, Jonny was also running slightly hampered with minor damage in the top-5.
Lewis continued to push, and the pace seen all weekend was still clear to see as he was posting times comparable to the overall race leaders. At middle distance, Lewis handed over to James and he joined the battle still down the order, in P15 overall, but now in contention to start making some progress. Again, with a split strategy, Jonny ran slightly longer before Flick returned to the blue and black #75 for the final stint. More quick work by the pitcrew saw Flick gain a position before joining the track, and she was immediately on the rear wing of the McLaren, showing a fighting spirit and determined to take the final overall podium position. Shortly after this, Flick made the pass and set about closing the gap ahead, posting consistently quicker laptimes than the leaders. Meanwhile, James continued an impressive recovery drive as he completed several passes over as many laps and was the fastest car on track by some margin in the process.
“Overall, it was a really strong performance by the whole team over the entire weekend, but we just had two minor things which made a big difference, unfortunately. James showed fantastic pace during every session and throughout the races alongside Lewis, especially the second one to recover back up to P7. It was also great to see how strong Flick and Jonny were running, and their potential just keeps getting stronger with the more time they have in the car. While we didn’t get the results we would have hoped for, things are moving in the right direction, and the team did a great job all weekend. Next up is Spa, and we are pushing to be back at the front again.”
Nick Cristofaro, team co-owner, 2 Seas Motorsport.
At the line, Flick secured P2 in Pro Am, P3 overall, while James’ damage limitation drive moved him firmly into the top-10 to claim P7 overall, P5 in the Pro Am class.