16-year-old Patrick Kibble scored his first-ever British GT podium at the calendar’s showpiece event in Spa, by finishing third in the GT4 category after a sensational qualifying performance which saw the youngster start on the front row.
Patrick and his TF Sport team-mate Josh Price were rewarded at the two-hour race at the world-famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps race track with a podium, marking their first trip to the rostrum as a duo.
When the time came for qualifying on Saturday, Spa had been hit with rain. However, with the track now drying the teams had to decide whether to use wet or slick tyres. Patrick was the first of the due to take on qualifying, and he headed out onto track with wets.
The only man quicker than him was Jacob Mathiassen who had used slicks which turned out to be superior in the weather conditions. Nonetheless, with a time of 2:47.781s set on his last flying lap, he was just under half a second quicker than the driver in third and the top Aston Martin driver in his group - in what was his first-ever qualifying at Spa.
When Josh’s turn came, he set a time on slicks on a much drier track to go P7 in his category. With a combined time of 5:21.470s, the pair had scored their second front row start of the season - after claiming pole position at Silverstone in June.
In true British GT style, the 120-minute race at Spa was filled with many twists and turns. At the rolling start Patrick moved into the lead at the first corner, but unfortunately he was held up by two slower GT3 cars meaning the competition behind Patrick had a better run into La Source. With the first lap complete, Patrick was now in third position.
The Aston Martin Racing Academy Driver kept out of trouble and produced consistently quick lap times - he even set the fourth-best lap time of the race in his class during his time behind the wheel.
After 60-minutes of racing, the pit-stop window was open and Patrick soon came in for the driver change and refuel. Now in fourth place, a podium was still within reaching distance for the 16-year-old and his team.
With Josh now behind the wheel, Patrick had done all he could to try and score his first podium finish in British GT and it was up to his teammate to continue the fight for the final spot on the podium steps.
Running in fourth place and looking set to finish there, a late twist saw the GT4 leaders collide which allowed Josh to capitalise on his competitor’s misfortune. He held his nerve and crossed the line third, marking Patrick’s first podium in his debut season in British GT.
“I’m extremely happy with the result from Spa,” Patrick said post-race. “The weekend started off well with the practice sessions and we knew that we were pretty quick. Qualifying was more difficult because of the weather conditions and the tyre choice, however, I am really pleased with my performance on the wet tyres.
“I didn’t get the best of starts and I had to make up some ground to make sure we were still in the fight. Josh did a great job in the final half of the race and made sure we were in the right place to capitalise on the drama up the road.
“I am elated to have claimed by first British GT podium. I must say a huge thank you to the team, my sponsors and family for all of their support. Now, we need to carry this momentum forward onto Brands Hatch for the next race and go on the hunt for victory!”
The penultimate round on the British GT calendar will take place at Brand Hatch in just two weeks’ time on the weekend of 3-4 August, with Patrick and Josh currently sitting in ninth in the GT4 standings.