Two wins for Freke as Sharp takes back points leadPosted: September 11, 2011
Nathan Freke continued his fine run of recent form in the Ginetta GT Supercup by taking two victories in three races at Knockhill in Fife, sharing the spoils with Tom Sharp who moved back into the championship lead after his first win since April.
2009 Ginetta G50 Cup champion Freke started from pole position after out-qualifying Sharp on Saturday by 0.143s before making the perfect start in round 18 to lead the field through the opening lap of the race with Sharp on his tail.
Behind them however there was early drama when the superb qualifying efforts of Fergus Walkinshaw who started from third on the grid came to a disappointing end when he was part of a multi-car incident that brought out the safety car and reduced Freke’s brief lead cushion.
On the restart leader Freke remained under pressure from IDL’s Sharp and couldn’t manage to shake off the orange car for the rest of the race, but Freke never made a mistake and was able to hang on and claim the first win of the day by o.528s from Sharp who marked a sudden return to form with second place.
Sharp also narrowly gained on the points lead of championship leader coming into the weekend Carl Breeze, who followed the pair home after a fairly undramatic race to take his twelfth podium of the season ahead of Adam Morgan in a distant fourth, .
Star guest for the weekend, American Le Mans Series driver Marino Franchitti took fifth place on his guest appearance in the G55 at his home circuit, while Colin White had a similarly exciting race to what he experienced in race two at Snetterton as he fought throught the somewhat slim 15 car field to finish in sixth place having started from the pitlane.
In the G50 class Aaron Williamson took his third win of the season after a race-long dice with Tom Ingram and Jake Hill, Ingram losing out on the last lap to finish third ahead of title rival Jody Fannin.
On Sunday morning the dominance from Freke continued as he launched himself into the first corner from the pole position into the lead once again, followed by Sharp. There was a sense of deja vu again as Sharp really put the theplayer.co.uk/Century Motorsport driver under untense pressure, but was again bot able to find a passing opportunity to take the lead.
This time Freke eased the pressure as he put the hammer down and edged away from him as the 24 laps clicked away, and in the end went on to win the race by 2.1s at the chequered flag for his sixth win in the season.
Sharp took another second place while his championship rival Breeze had been running in third place, before Morgan got past the Total Control Racing driver at the halfway point on lap 12 to take his thirteenth podium of the season.
The drive of the race went to G50 class winner Fannin who was celebrating his 18th birthday, and duly took his third win of the season in the G50 Cup with a superb fifth place overall. Fannin overtook the early class leader Williamson on lap 13 to claim the win, while the class podium was completed again by Ingram, who finished ahead of the G55’s of Walkinshaw and a disappointed Franchitti.
The reverse grid for round 20 saw the top five cars inverted from the previous race, meaning Fannin’s birthday got even better when he found himself on pole position, the first time for a G50 car this season. He then duly made a fantastic start to lead the way by a couple of car lengths ahead of Morgan, who had taken advantage of a slow start from front row starter Breeze to move up into second place.
Breeze immediately tried to fight back and made a late-braking lunge up the inside into the hairpin which looked to have payed off, but his mysteriously appeared slow to pull away on the exit of the corner and meant he was tapped by Morgan and into a spin around the front of the Cicely Racing driver into the gravel, severely denting his championship lead.
After Fannin’s blistering opening laps he was finally being caught by Sharp, now in second as Morgan was delayed from the incident with Breeze, before Fannin’s lead was completely wiped out by a brief safety car period to clear Breeze’s car beached car which, having recovered to the track again, had gone off into the same gravel trap a lap later.
Fannin then made a crucial mistake at the restart by outbraking himself at the hairpin before they crossed the line, handing Sharp the race lead on a plate and dropping to fifth overall.
Sharp took the opportunity with both hands and went on to take his seventh win of the season after a long dry spell dating back to the second meeting of the season at Donington Park in April. Freke capped off a superb weekend with a second to add to his double win, ahead of an inspired Franchitti who fough his way up to third from ninth in front of Morgan and Lee Pattison, while poor Jody Fannin finished down in ninth after a tough end to what had been a promising start.
One of the cars that got past him was G50 rival Williamson who now lead the class, before Fannin then lost another place to Ingram not too long after. G50 class points leader Ingram chased after Williamson for the lead, and made his move stick on lap 16 to go on to win the class, Williamson finishing third after losing a place to Hill later in the race who had come through the field to take hard-earned second place, seventh overall.
The misfortune for Breeze has seen a change in the championship table as Sharp now takes the lead from the TCR man by 18 points, while Freke continues to haul himself back into championship contention with seven races still to go.
Ginetta GT supercup G55 standings after round seven:
1: Tom Sharp 515
2: Carl Breeze, 497
3: Adam Morgan, 488
4: Nathan Freke, 462
5: George Murrells, 315
Ginetta G50 standings after round seven:
1: Tom Ingram, 503
2: Jody Fannin, 494
3: Aaron Williamson, 435
4: Jake Hill, 409
5: Andrew Richardson, 260