Slippery Snetterton Sidelines Bentwood

Hale-based racing driver, Michael Bentwood had another frustrating wet-weather race at the Snetterton round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship (June 7-8).

Having suffered so badly with wet weather grip at the previous round, Bentwood and returning teammate, Tom Alexander were praying for sunshine. Unfortunately their prayers went unanswered and they arrived at the circuit to torrential rain, which continued through practice, qualifying and race one. In the wet the team were finding it impossible to get the rear tyres beyond 40 degrees and the resulting lack of grip dangerous. Both qualifying sessions were contested in the wet, and both Bentwood and Alexander struggled to keep the car on the track, with the rear spinning up almost without provocation.

Race one on Saturday was set to be another wet event and with wet grip still almost totally absent, Bentwood and Alexander joined the Cadena team in withdrawing their Aston Martins. The decision not to contest the race was a tough one for a born competitor like Bentwood, but with the DBRS9 having no grip in the atrocious conditions, the ex-BTCC ace felt there was nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Race two saw much brighter conditions, and Bentwood set about the Sunday event with relish. The early part of the race saw Bentwood carving through the field, heading towards the top ten, where the ex-F3 driver is more normally found. One of his braver moves saw Bentwood going round the outside of another experienced former BTCC racer, Tom Ferrier in the Lamborghini Gallardo.

The 22GT racing team decided to keep Bentwood out until the last possible point in the pitstop window, before he handed over to his gentleman driver teammate, telecoms CEO, Tom Alexander. Bentwood pitted in fourth by virtue of the other teams pitting earlier, but impressively Alexander still emerged in fifth. Once the pitstops had all been completed, historic racer Alexander was eighth and despite a valiant drive, the effects of pneumonia caught up with Bentwood’s teammate and he ended the race 12th.

Afterwards Bentwood had mixed emotions commenting: “It is totally alien to me to withdraw from a race, but we decided that we were on a hiding to nothing starting from 18th when we knew how badly the car would handle in those conditions. One of the issues we face is a very dated traction control system, which helps to control the big V12 in the wet, it is very unsubtle in its action and really kills forward momentum. In the dry we were much better, but we are still struggling to get the power down.”

On the performance of his teammate, Tom Alexander, Bentwood added: “Tom made a superhuman effort to keep the car on the track this weekend. The conditions were horrific in the wet and even without considering the after effects of his pneumonia, he did well.”

Bentwood is back in action on the 28th June at the super-fast Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.

More information on this event will appear soon.

Check back closer to the event date for an update.

Thank you for your interest in 22GT Racing.

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