#DoningtonDecider: We’ll be flat-out - Keen

#DoningtonDecider: We’ll be flat-out - Keen

GT3 championship leader Phil Keen says he and co-driver Jon Minshaw have no plans to adopt a conservative approach during this Sunday’s British GT title showdown at Donington Park.


The Barwell Motorsport duo hold an 11.5-point lead over Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam, while Rick Parfitt Jnr and Seb Morris - currently 27 points adrift - are the only other pairing still able to claim the crown.


That means the #33 Lamborghini Huracan crew can win the GT3 drivers’ title by finishing behind both of their rivals, and perhaps even in the outer reaches of the top-10, although that would depend on other results going their way.


A 20-second pit-stop success penalty for winning race two at Snetterton also ensures Minshaw and Keen will be held five seconds longer during their mandatory driver change than the #17 TF Sport Aston Martin, while Parfitt Jnr and Morris - who must win to retain any chance of pinching the championship - race handicap free.


Keen therefore has no intention of taking it easy, given that the championship permutations could change lap by lap during Sunday’s two-hour race.


“We fully intend to turn up and do the same job as always; Jon will be flat-out over the first hour,” he confirmed. “We’re going to treat it just like any other race, but also understand that the 20-second penalty means I’ll have some work to do during the second stint. We know the Aston is likely to be ahead after the stops, which is fine. We can afford to finish behind. It just depends how many cars are between us.”


The 32-year-old hasn’t written off Team Parker Racing’s chances, either, and acknowledges Parfitt Jnr and Morris are likely to be running near the front given their lack of success penalty.


“I couldn’t choose between them,” he replied when asked which of his championship rivals posed the biggest threat. “We’re expecting both the Bentley and Aston to be quick at Donington but obviously Jonny and Derek have the penalty, which probably removes them from the overall reckoning. 


“But the Bentley’s more than likely to finish in the top-two. Of course, it needs to win and they’ll know that. But I’m hoping our team-mates [Liam Griffin and Alexander Sims] can do us a favour by beating them and removing one of the variables. Barwell are also going for the teams’ title so there’s an incentive across the board to do well. Then we can just focus on the Aston. 


“I reckon Jonny and I will be running something like seventh and eighth after the stops, which won’t be enough if the Bentley wins. So we’ll need to get our elbows out!”


Finally clinching the GT3 drivers’ crown would be just reward for Minshaw and Keen who have proven a consistent threat and race winners since joining forces at Trackspeed in 2013. Somehow, though, bad luck has never been too far away.


“Yeah, we’ve had our fair share over the years,” reflected Keen. “I remember we were leading during the closing laps at Brands Hatch in 2013 when a puncture cost us the win. Without that we’d have gone to the final round top of the points. We couldn’t seem to get a break last season and even at the start of this we didn’t score a point at Brands after Jon was taken out.


“But I’m actually a big believer in fate. If it’s your time it’s your time, and if it doesn’t happen for us this year I’m sure we’ll be back to have another go. But obviously that’s not the plan!”


Keen will be hoping his Goodwood Revival outing on Friday evening heralds the start of a successful weekend. He and another British GT winner, Ollie Bryant, are teaming-up aboard a Jaguar E-Type for the Kinrara Trophy race, which caters for closed-cockpit GT cars that competed before 1963.


“I’ll drive anything with four wheels!” he joked. “We’re racing a newly-restored Jaguar E-Type, which is a bit different to the Lamborghini I’ll be in at Donington on Saturday morning!”


This Sunday’s #DoningtonDecider will be shown live on Motors TV from 12:30.