ADVANTAGE BREEZE AS TITLE RIVALS CLASH AT SILVERSTONE Round 19 of the 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup at Silverstone today, Sunday, 22nd August, provided another twist in the season-long battle between title protagonists Carl Breeze and Frank ...
ADVANTAGE BREEZE AS TITLE RIVALS CLASH AT SILVERSTONE
Round 19 of the 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup at Silverstone today, Sunday, 22nd August, provided another twist in the season-long battle between title protagonists Carl Breeze and Frank Wrathall when contact between the pair on lap two led to the latter's second non-finish of the year.
Having moved to within 10 points of the series lead following his round 18 victory on Saturday, Wrathall's retirement from the second encounter -- which came as a result of his bid to prevent Breeze from taking the lead around the outside at Brooklands -- now means he has dropped 28 points behind in the championship chase.
The contact between the pair, which also led to a spin for Breeze although he did recover into the top six, gave Century Motorsport's Benji Hetherington a golden opportunity to challenge for his maiden Ginetta G50 Cup victory which he wrapped up almost two seconds ahead of Phil Broad.
With recent exams completed, Hetherington is able to focus more on his racing and he certainly produced his best drive of the season so far to see off the challenge of team-mate Broad as the pair finished well clear of third placed Tom Sharp.
"Phil (Broad) was right behind me and it was a real cat and mouse sort of game, he was a bit quicker than me through the first sector and I was probably a touch quicker in the second", said the round 19 winner, "The gap was ever changing, a 10th of a second here and a 10th of a second there, so it was really close racing. To get my first win is amazing."
Second placed Broad added: "This result is confirmation of our pace from Snetterton, we carried on here where we left off and it's great to be on the podium again. Unfortunately I won't be around for the next few rounds but hopefully we won't lose too much momentum and we can come back and maybe even go a step higher on the podium at Brands Hatch at the end of the season."
Wrathall made a good getaway from pole position at the start while Breeze battled side-by-side with Hetherington through Copse. The points leader made second his own into Becketts as Hetherington slotted into third ahead of Matt Blyth Motorsport's Dan Denis.
On lap two, Breeze closed the early gap Wrathall had managed to open and into Brooklands the Total Control Racing driver attempted to go for the lead on the outside line. Edging ahead on the exit of the turn, Breeze looked to be making the move work but the cars touched and they both ran wide onto the grass at the entry of Luffield.
The initial contact left Wrathall with a broken right-rear upright and he was powerless to prevent his Dynojet car ending the race stuck in the gravel on the outside of Luffield. Breeze, meanwhile, was pitched into a spin and although slipping to 17th position he managed to mount a sterling recovery.
With the two leaders coming to grief, Hetherington took full advantage and assumed the lead ahead of Broad, Denis, Sharp, Adam Morgan and Nigel Moore -- the 2008 G50 Cup Champion having risen impressively from 12th on the grid.
At the front, Hetherington and Broad traded faster lap times but the gap remained relatively constant at just over a second. On the fourth tour Sharp took third off Denis at Becketts and just behind, Moore deposed Morgan for fifth. Moore then latched on to Denis' car on lap five and into Brooklands he grabbed the place with a quality pass up the inside.
With Wrathall's car having been unable to be extricated from the gravel at Luffield, the Safety Car was deployed on lap six and this enabled Breeze -- in 16th position -- to close up on the cars ahead before the re-start on lap nine.
When racing resumed, Morgan took fifth from Denis at Becketts while Moore continued his progress with a cut-back at Brooklands to take third off Sharp. Unfortunately for the Tockwith driver, a power steering failure which surfaced on lap 11 led to a rapid retirement and as he toured back to the pits his slowing car caught-out Chairman's Cup leader Colin White who had a spin entering Luffield.
White recovered well though and within a couple of laps he had caught and passed Chairman's Cup rival Tony Hughes to regain the class lead. There wasn't such good news for Mark Davies though, the reigning Ginetta G20 Champion having been forced to retire with damage incurred as a result of White's earlier moment when the cars clipped each other.
Meanwhile, Chris Dittmann -- the round 18 pole sitter -- was forced to start round 19 from stone last having been forced out of Saturday's race before the start with a driveshaft failure. He raced well through the order into the top six but after gaining fifth robustly from Denis by tagging the rear of his car on the final lap, he was later handed a six second time penalty.
Hetherington did everything right to take the win, 1.9 seconds ahead of Broad, with Sharp a further 6.5 seconds adrift in third place -- his seventh rostrum of the year. Morgan finished close behind in fourth ahead of Freddie Hetherington with Breeze storming through the order into sixth.
Knockhill Circuit in Scotland hosts the next event on the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup calendar two weeks from now, 4th/5th September, for the category's annual visit north of the border in support of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Provisional 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd19): 1st Carl Breeze, 543pts; 2nd Frank Wrathall, 515pts; 3rd Tom Sharp, 365pts; 4th Benji Hetherington, 332pts; 5th Adam Morgan, 310pts; 6th Freddie Hetherington, 264pts