Tim Harvey takes popular Ginetta win as Freke does doublePosted: June 22, 2011
A dramatic three races at Croft last weekend for the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup saw three different winners including a popular win for the wildcarding Tim Harvey, while Carl Breeze took over the lead in the championship for the first time.
Ex-BTCC and two-time Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Harvey had started last on the grid for the second of the three races at Croft, after an incident in the first race with Stefan Hodgetts in the heat of a thrilling scrap for third place between a number of cars meant Harvey ended up clipping the tyre barrier at the chicane and damaging a front steering arm which put him into retirement.
Former Finetta G50 champion Freke took a lights to flag victory in the 12th round of the championship at the Yorkshire circuit for his second win of the season. Having led fellow front row starter Adam Morgan into the first corner in tricky conditions, the pair then built up a gap at the front which left a pack of cars battling it out for third place. Harvey initially held the position, but quickly lost out later in the first lap to Hodgetts.
Harvey re-took the place before being aggressively squeezed against the pit wall by JHR Developments driver Hodgetts, which dropped the Harvey behind his Total Control Racing team-mate Breeze as he was forced to back out of the throttle. Harvey quickly fought back by overtaking his team-mate at Tower bend, before having his coming together with the tyre stack on lap four attacking Hodgetts for third again.
Hodgetts luck ran out when he suddenly slowed late in the race before retiring on the penultimate lap, while championship leader Tom Sharp had a disasterous start to his weekend when he has handed a drive-through penalty for being out of position at the start of the race. Freke meanwhile went on to take his second win of the season by 3.1s from Morgan, with Colin White passing Breeze for a well-earned podium finish.
Harvey and Hodgetts couldn’t have had a bigger reversal of fortune in race two as the track on Sunday had begun drying out from a shower earlier in the afternoon, and as cars peeled off into the pits including Nathan Freke and Adam Morgan who should have been starting on pole after they finished first and second respectively in race one, it left 10 cars on the grid for the start with Colin White – effectively now on pole – leading the way from G50 class winner and leader Tom Ingram in second place.
Ingram gambled on wet tyres however and so begun to slip back as Tom Sharp made his way past Breeze through the Jim Clark Esses, before taking Ingram for second and then the lead from White braking into Tower on the next lap of the race.
Harvey, often a master in the rain and a fan of driving in tricky conditions, had made a great start up to fifth place after lap one, and at the hairpin on the second lap he made his move on Breeze to snatch fourth place, as the rain then began to return ominously as the field started their fourth lap.
Harvery continued his charge by passing White for third place at the exit of Sunny Out allowing Breeze to then threaten the CWS driver into the Complex, but Breeze was instead boxed up behind White and lost fourth place to Hodgetts, who drove around the outside of him heading into the penultimate corner.
Mayhem then ensued on lap five at the entry to the Complex when leader Sharp ran wide and spun through the grass, scraping the rear of his car against the tyre barrier before rejoining in second behind Harvey. White also went off and straight on into the tyre barrier at the same corner, followed by three G50s as Ingram went off on his own, while Jody Fannin and Lee Pattison came together and also spun off into the tyres.
Harvey therefore claimed his first win in a Ginetta G55 on his one-off outing, 0.934s ahead of the charging Hodgetts who claimed a well-deserved second place, while Andrew Richardson claimed his first G50 class win by staying out of trouble which made up for his team missing the last round at Oulton park.
The final race of the weekend was another eventful affair in dry conditions, with Breeze taking the lead of the race having started from pole after a top five reverse of the grid, but he cracked under pressure from Freke on lap four when he ran slightly wide at Hawthorn and opened the door for Freke to take the lead into the chicane.
Contact at the first corner saw White spinning into the gravel after contact from Fannin’s G50 who also spun onto the grass in the collision while Aaron Williamson led the G50 class in seventh place overall. Class championship leader Ingram had charged up to second in class from the back of the field as a result of the action ahead of him, however he didn’t stay there for long as he spun off into the barriers again at the Complex, tearing the back of his car off before retiring despite continuing after being shown the black and orange flag for the damage.
Morgan began pressuring Sharp for fourth place, but that was halted when the bonnet of Morgan’s Ciceley Racing G55 began lifting up and blocking his field of view dramatically, dropping him down the order. The were more casualties to come as Sharp then began catching third-placed man Hodgetts, and having caught him on lap eight he got a run exiting Sunny Out and dived up the inside at the Complex, making contact which sent both spinning out of the race, also bringing out the safety car.
On the restart, Harvey attacked his team-mate Breeze for second around the outside into the hairpin, but he was turned around by a tap from George Murrells who had stuck his nose up the inside. The former BTCC champion pulled into the pits soon after and retired.
White then mae his way past Murrells at Tower for third on lap 16, before trying the same move on Breeze on the final lap. Unsuccessful, he braked late at the final hairpin, but spun on the outside line. There was even more chaos as Alistair James and Murrells made contact and spun off the road at the Complex, James spinning into the barriers.
Freke was clear of the carnage and took a comfortable 9.4s win at the flag ahead of new championship leader Breeze, while G50 class winner Williamson took a sensational outright podium after all the incidents around him for the the first time this season that a G50 had finished in an overall podium position.
Ginetta GT supercup G55 standings after round five:
1: Carl Breeze 361
2: Tom Sharp, 348
3: Adam Morgan, 331
4: George Murrells, 270
5: Nathan Freke, 262
Ginetta G50 standings after round five:
1: Tom Ingram, 365
2: Jody Fannin, 323
3: Aaron Williamson, 296
4: Jake Hill, 274
5: Rob Gaffney, 186