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Rianna O'Meara-Hunt claims maiden victory in GT Cup

Forsetti Motorsport's Rianna O'Meara-Hunt secured her maiden victory in the GT Cup Championship with a stellar weekend at Snetterton, which saw the New Zealander running at the top of the GTH class with a win and two second places.

Rianna O'Meara-Hunt, Forsetti Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4, GT Cup Championship, Snetterton 2024
Photo credits:

Rianna O'Meara-Hunt collected her first victory in GT Cup Championship following a remarkable weekend at Snetterton, where the driver of the Forsetti Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 ran at the front of the GTH class in every session, eventually completing the third round of the season with an impressive three podiums thanks to a win and two second places over the endurance and solo sprint contests.

On her first racing season in the UK, O'Meara-Hunt has made impressive progress over the first three racing weekends and continues to climb the ranks in a series that is proving to be a great springboard for sportscar talents. After a very positive debut season in GT4 machinery - which also saw O'Meara-Hunt claiming two race wins in the highly competitive Pirelli GT4 America - the young Kiwi embarked on her first European campaign, first with appearances in the GT Winter Series, before entering the stable of Forsetti Motorsport.

The new team is taking the world of British sports car racing by storm, with crews at the top of their respective classes in both GT Cup and British GT, on its debut season. Rianna teamed up with Jodie Sloss in the opening two rounds of GT Cup, in an all-female duo that immediately enjoyed a superb debut at Donington with a treble podium.

Jodie and Rianna were back on the podium at Brands Hatch, with a runner-up finish in the second endurance race of the event.

While Sloss was unable to join her at the third round at Snetterton, Rianna O'Meara-Hunt would tackle the third round of the season sharing the #10 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 with Marc Warren. With heavy rain marking the first day of testing at Snetterton, O'Meara-Hunt focused on learning the circuit despite the tricky conditions - and she was already up to speed in the official free practice session on Saturday morning, with a second fastest time in the GTH category.

Rianna took over driving duties for the first qualifying, where she ultimately showed her pace: her best lap of 1:55.456 placed her second on the grid, just three tenths of a second behind the sister car of Mikey Porter, who grabbed pole position - and almost a second to the third placed Paddock Motorsport McLaren Artura - despite having a lap time disallowed for exceeding track limits.

Rianna would be behind the wheel for the first race of the meeting - the 25 minute solo sprint race. She retained second place at the start, in a Forsetti Motorsport 1-2. O'Meara-Hunt soon opened a gap on the third-placed #72 BMW M3 GTR, following GTH leader Porter, a couple of seconds up the road.

The New Zealander kept improving her lap times and was soon under the 1m57 mark; she set a new personal best on lap 6 in 1:56.400, keeping the gap stable to Porter.

On lap 8, having again lowered her benchmark to a 1:56.355, Rianna was lapping faster than her teammate; however, she couldn't get under the 4 second margin as the race entered its final minutes.

After a superbly consistent run, Rianna O'Meara Hunt completed her solo race of the weekend in second place, behind the #9 Forsetti Motorsport sister car of Porter and equalling her best result from the Donington round.

Her pace, though, clearly suggested that a first victory would be on the table for the pit stop races.

Marc Warren took the start for the first stint - and he immediately snatched the lead in the GTH category, as the sister car of Higgins dropped down the order.

In clear air, Warren was by far the fastest driver on track in class and, by the second lap, he already enjoyed an over 8 second gap to the closest GTH competitor.

He would put a couple of GTC class cars in between him and the closest rival, as he continued to extend his gap by almost 3 seconds per lap. As the pit window approached, Warren kept up the pace and climbed the field all the way up to first overall before the #10 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 took the way of the pits with 18 minutes to go and Rianna O'Meara-Hunt got behind the wheel with a healthy margin.

Rianna settled in her pace and despite some pressure from the lapped #50 Aston Martin of Stuart Hall, who tried to unlap himself, the Forsetti racer had everything under control: with one full lap of advantage over the GTH second-placed #11 McLaren Artura GT4, the Kiwi took no unnecessary risks, drove a clean stint and crossed the finish line to secure her first victory in the GT Cup Championship.

It was Rianna's third victory in two years at the wheel of an Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

Rianna O'Meara-Hunt, Forsetti Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4, GT Cup Championship, Snetterton 2024
Photo credits: GT Cup Championship

With now such an achievement unlocked, there was more silverware to collect on Sunday - and Rianna O'Meara Hunt and Marc Warren were again up to the task, with more superb performances on the second day of racing at Snetterton.

Warren set the early pace in the second qualifying, with a 1:54.951 that remained unbeaten and resulted in pole position ahead of Sunday's 50 minute endurance race.

A three-car contact into turn one saw Charlotte Gilbert, Shamus Jennings and Chris Murphy coming together and the accident brought out the safety car.

The driver of the #10 Aston had kept the top spot after the hectic start, ahead of the sister car of Matthew Higgins and James Townsend's Ginetta. The green flag flew after the recovery of the stricken #33 Porsche and Warren led the GTH pack, opening a small safe margin to his Forsetti teammate.

The pit window opened and Marc Warren pitted on lap 10, handing over to Rianna O'Meara-Hunt from the class lead. With a 15 second success penalty at the pit stop for the previous day's victory - and with the early safety car adding a further challenge - O'Meara-Hunt emerged third in class, behind Liona Theobald and Mikey Porter.

Just a few laps into her stint, though, the New Zealander was the fastest in class and significantly closed in on Liona Theobald after the latter had lost the lead to the #89 Forsetti Aston. A couple of seconds per lap faster, Rianna had ten seconds to close but running on par with the race leader, she obliterated the gap and caught the #86 Ginetta. She completed a pass for second and then opened a gap, showing again remarkable race pace.

Keeping her pace consistent until the chequered flag, Rianna O'Meara-Hunt completed her weekend with another trophy, as she collected second place in the second pit-stop race and more vital points for the championship.

Her teammate would then get behind the wheel for the final contest of the weekend - the second sprint race. From pole, Warren held off Higgins, as the two pulled away from Theobald. The two Forsetti Motorsport's Aston Martins fought for the GTH class victory throughout the race - and Warren eventually had the upper hand, taking the chequered flag 0.253 of a second ahead, thus claiming victory to round out a stellar weekend.

Second in the championship standings, Rianna O'Meara-Hunt will now aim to carry momentum into the next round of the GT Cup Championship season, which will be held at Oulton Park International on June 29th.



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