BREEZE KEEPS TITLE HOPES ALIVE INTO FINAL DAY WITH EIGHTH WIN OF 2010 Carl Breeze ensured the fight for the 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup will go down to the final day of the season tomorrow after taking his eighth race victory of the year at ...
BREEZE KEEPS TITLE HOPES ALIVE INTO FINAL DAY WITH EIGHTH WIN OF 2010
Carl Breeze ensured the fight for the 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup will go down to the final day of the season tomorrow after taking his eighth race victory of the year at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 9th October.
Ahead of rounds 27 and 28 on Sunday, which will both be screened live on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4, the Total Control Racing driver has closed Frank Wrathall's lead down to 46 points. Should the Dynojet racer be able to repeat the same sort of top four showing he delivered today though in each of tomorrow's encounters, the title will almost certainly be his.
Breeze did everything he could to keep the championship alive during round 26, having produced an exceptional lap in the closing seconds of qualifying -- with tyres well past their best -- to seal a front row start alongside the impressive Tom Sharp. The IDL driver grabbed pole position by just 0.018 seconds in the end with Breeze absolutely determined to start second on the grid at least.
Benji Hetherington qualified his Century Motorsport car third on the grid ahead of Chris Dittmann, Freddie Hetherington and Wrathall in sixth place. Phil Broad posted the seventh fastest time ahead of 'Guest Car' driver Dave Newsham -- the recently crowned ELF Renault Clio Cup Champion -- Colin White, the lead Chairman's Cup competitor, and Mark Davies.
Unfortunately for Newsham, he wasn't able to take his place on the grid after engine problems in qualifying which came as a result of a trip through the gravel trap. He is expected to take part in both of Sunday's encounters though.
Although the start lights illuminated and went out unexpectedly quickly for the beginning of round 26, Sharp read it perfectly and made a terrific getaway from the notoriously tricky Brands Hatch pole position slot to lead Breeze into Paddock Hill Bend. Behind, the order was unchanged but at Graham Hill Bend on the opening lap, White was forced wide after rubbing panels with Broad.
Several cars then tangled just yards later into Surtees with Dynojet's Adam Morgan and FML's Aaron Williamson both forced into retirement. Broad was also involved and TCR's Joachim Ritter had to take avoiding action on the grass -- a resulting spin for the latter dropped him down the order but an excellent recovery lifted him back into ninth at the finish.
Due to the multi-car incident and Williamson's stranded car at the entry to McLaren, the Safety Car was deployed with the re-start not coming until lap eight. The lead changed hands prior to the race getting back underway though when Sharp's car dramatically slowed as he headed up Hailwood Hill.
Breeze, not quite able to believe his luck, therefore inherited the lead and a few more championship points on the fifth tour with Benji Hetherington moving up to second, Dittmann up to third, Freddie Hetherington into fourth, Wrathall fifth and so on.
At the re-start Breeze kept the younger of the Hetherington brothers at bay but he was pressured all the way to the chequered flag on lap 19. With little more than a few 10ths of a second covering the top three, Breeze drove impeccably to win and also managed to grab an extra point for posting the fastest lap of the race, a new lap record, of 48.969 seconds (88.11mph).
Hetherington finished just 0.5 seconds shy of Breeze to take his 13th podium of the season but was only 0.6 seconds clear of Dittmann, the latter making his sixth visit of the year to the rostrum despite contesting just seven of the 10 race meetings in 2010.
"It's been so close this weekend but it's great to win", said Breeze, "Tom (Sharp) got a better start than me because of the situation with the lights but I felt I was catching him until the Safety Car came out. I knew he had a problem with his car in qualifying though and something went wrong again for him in the race which is obviously a shame for him -- I know how that feels as I've had my fair share of troubles this season which have cost me a lot of championship points.
"I got a reasonable re-start and controlled things from there really. Benji (Hetherington) was quicker than me in some parts of the track and I was faster in others so it was a case of hitting all of the apexes and making no mistakes. We've pulled back some points on Frank (Wrathall) today, it's not really enough but you never know -- it could all change tomorrow but it's in the lap of the gods!"
Wrathall moved into the top four on lap 10 with a good move on Freddie Hetherington which he set up from Surtees on the previous tour. Running tight to the Century Motorsport car ahead, the series leader got a fantastic run through McLaren and Clearways which placed him on the inside line for Paddock Hill Bend on lap 10.
The top six was rounded out by Davies, the 2009 Ginetta G20 Champion in great form and running on podium pace throughout this afternoon's outing, ahead of an impressive Julien Draper (back at Brands Hatch after a G4 Class win in the British GT Championship at the Kent track a fortnight ago in a Ginetta G50) Dan Denis, the recovering Ritter and Broad.
Colin White, meanwhile, fought back through from his lap one troubles to win the Chairman's Cup yet again, the CWS driver moving ahead of Tony Hughes and Ron Johnson at mid-distance.
Round 27 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup will get underway at around 10.40 tomorrow, Sunday, 10th October, with the final race of the 2010 season following at approximately 16.05.
Provisional 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd26 -- inc. drop scores): 1st Frank Wrathall, 701pts; 2nd Carl Breeze, 655pts; 3rd Benji Hetherington, 544pts; 4th Tom Sharp, 455pts; 5th Adam Morgan, 435pts; 6th Freddie Hetherington, 376pts