WRATHALL HITS BACK WITH SIXTH WIN OF SEASON Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup title contender Frank Wrathall returned to the top step of the podium at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Sunday, 8th August, during an action-packed 17th round of the season to ...
WRATHALL HITS BACK WITH SIXTH WIN OF SEASON
Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup title contender Frank Wrathall returned to the top step of the podium at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Sunday, 8th August, during an action-packed 17th round of the season to close to within 17 points of championship leader Carl Breeze.
Although Breeze had opened up a 34 point cushion on Saturday with a brace of victories, a post-race penalty led to his advantage being cut by 10 points. So, heading into this afternoon's 'reverse grid' race the two title protagonists were determined to be back on the podium to maximise their scores.
Building to a potential grandstand finish, Wrathall led going into the 11th tour of the scheduled 18 laps with Breeze closing quickly in second place -- having started sixth on the grid. However, a heavy accident at Sear involving guest car driver Adrian Newey, Julien Draper and Tony Hughes resulted in red flags being shown and the classified order declared after 11 racing laps.
Having locked up under braking, Draper's Barwell Motorsport car tagged Newey's G50 into a spin and the unsighted Hughes had nowhere to go, making hard contact with the 'VIP' car of the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team's chief technical officer. Newey was taken to hospital for precautionary checks but there were no serious injuries -- testament to the strength of the Ginetta G50 Cup car.
Century Motorsport's Freddie Hetherington started round 17 on pole position with Dynojet's Wrathall alongside. Row two comprised Optimum driver Mark Davies and Dynojet's Adam Morgan while the third row featured IDL's Tom Sharp and Total Control Racing's Breeze.
Hetherington made an excellent start to lead while Davies too benefitted from a good launch and he quickly passed Wrathall for second as Sharp took fourth from Morgan. Into the Esses, Davies staged a challenge to the leader and although the move was unsuccessful some slight contact at the exit enabled Wrathall to shoot past into first place.
Davies dropped down to the tail of the top 10 while Hetherington held second from Sharp, Morgan, fifth placed Breeze and Aaron Williamson up into sixth for FML. Then, on lap three, it became clear Breeze had a dislodged bonnet but the problem didn't affect him at all as he continued to pressure the cars ahead.
On lap four Breeze took third from Sharp and the latter came under further attack from Morgan on the fifth tour at Riches but Morgan ran wide on the exit and slipped to seventh. Back at the front, Wrathall led well by almost one second from Hetherington but Breeze was right there and it only looked to be a matter of time before the two series leaders would be nose-to-tail.
Into lap eight, Breeze really started to hustle Hetherington for second but the Century driver did a great job of keeping his more experienced rival at arm's length. At the Esses though, the points leader moved ahead with a strong pass.
Further behind, Morgan -- recovering after his earlier spin -- had another moment while dicing with Benji Hetherington over seventh place and the contact led to Morgan being forced to retire after hitting the barriers fairly substantially at Riches.
Into lap nine just over a second separated Wrathall from Breeze with the TCR driver charging, but the race stoppage followed just a couple of laps later meaning Wrathall took the victory by 0.8 seconds from his chief rival with Freddie Hetherington securing a very well deserved, and highly competitive, maiden podium finish in third place.
Williamson took fourth, having been involved in contact with Sharp at the Esses just before the enforced finish, with Chairman's Cup dominator Colin White an outstanding fifth overall ahead of HHC Motorsport's Stephen Tyldsley who produced a stunning drive through from 18th on the grid.
Dan Denis steered his Matt Blyth Motorsport entry to seventh place ahead of an under-the-weather Joachim Ritter in eighth, Davies in ninth position and Draper rounding out the top 10. Sharp finished in 12th place but retained third in the championship.
Speaking on the race, Wrathall -- for whom the victory marked his first since the end of May -- said: "I really didn't mind the fact the race ended early because we won. We changed the car quite a bit for today's race, I just wanted to be consistent even if we weren't the quickest out there. It's been a rollercoaster weekend but I've kept my head and rounded it all off with a win so I'm pleased."
Series leader Breeze commented: "I get great support at Snetterton from the home crowd so I want to thank everyone. It's been a great weekend, two wins and a second is fantastic but it's a shame today's race was red flagged as I was catching Frank (Wrathall) and our car was on-song."
Freddie Hetherington, speaking on his maiden podium, said: "I've been close to this for a while but finally we've finished on the podium -- I'm really happy. Snetterton suits my driving style, it's not too tight and twisty and there are some good fast corners which I like. All in all, I've really enjoyed it."
There are just two weeks to wait for the next instalment of Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup action which will take place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire on 21st/22nd August.
Provisional 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd17): 1st Carl Breeze, 495pts; 2nd Frank Wrathall, 478pts; 3rd Tom Sharp, 328pts; 4th Benji Hetherington, 285pts; 5th Adam Morgan, 272pts; 6th Freddie Hetherington, 232pts