BREEZE TAKES G50 CUP LEAD AS WRATHALL SUFFERS TERRIBLE LUCK Two victories, pole position and fastest race lap during the seventh round of the season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 1st May, added together to give...
BREEZE TAKES G50 CUP LEAD AS WRATHALL SUFFERS TERRIBLE LUCK
Two victories, pole position and fastest race lap during the seventh round of the season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 1st May, added together to give Total Control Racing's Carl Breeze the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup points lead for the first time in 2010.
On a day of dreadful misfortune for chief title rival Frank Wrathall, Breeze made the most of the opportunity open to him and extended his winning tally to three for the year while also opening up a 31-point lead in the championship standings over the Dynojet driver.
Forced to retire from the first of the weekend's races, round seven, due to a fuel leak before the action had even got underway, Wrathall did produce a typically stunning effort in round eight when he carved his way through the order from the back of the grid into a fourth place finish. In the process, he also set the new lap record of 1m32.578 seconds (89.47mph).
On a day of tremendous performances throughout the field, IDL's Tom Sharp certainly delivered some of the highlights with a pair of outstanding second place finishes -- his round eight drive particularly impressive, taking the chequered flag just 0.2 seconds behind Breeze.
Commenting on his terrific start to the weekend, new series leader Breeze said: "It's been a great day, two wins, pole position and the championship lead -- I'm very pleased. It's never easy around this track, Tom (Sharp) is always very quick here and he really pushed me all the way in the second race. This is what we have to do, consistency is what we need to try and win the championship".
In qualifying, there was nothing to choose between Breeze and Wrathall with the former just edging pole position for round seven by a mere 0.021 seconds. Chris Dittmann posted the third fastest time with a great effort, just a further 10th of a second adrift, while Sharp was fourth quickest, fifth on the grid went to Benji Hetherington and Joachim Ritter was an excellent sixth.
As the cars lined up on the grid ahead of the formation lap for the first of the day's G50 Cup races, Wrathall's car had to be wheeled into the pitlane and it quickly became clear the fuel leak meant he would be unable to start the race.
This lessened the pressure on Breeze to some extent but Dittmann, Hetherington and Sharp were all away well. Breeze's start was the best of the lot though and he eased into a good lead through Paddock Hill Bend for the first time.
For team-mate Ritter, the race took a turn for the worse when contact to the left-hand side of his car pitched him into the barriers on the inside of Hailwood Hill. Although managing to recover, the TCR man was a long way down and with his car suffering the effects of the impact he did very well to bring his Ginetta G50 to the finish in 13th place.
As Breeze and Dittmann started to break away slightly from their pursuers, Sharp applied pressure to Hetherington and managed to move ahead into the final podium spot on lap three at Druids. As the race progressed, the top four paired off with Breeze under serious attack from Dittmann and Sharp having to work hard to keep Hetherington at bay.
Into the last lap, Breeze's bid for victory was sealed at Surtees when Dittmann pulled off the track with a problem so the TCR racer won by five seconds from Sharp and Hetherington. Tyldsley took a very strong fourth place ahead of Adam Morgan with Aaron Williamson a fine sixth. Colin White won the Chairman's Cup class in seventh position, just edging Alice Powell after a great scrap.
Round eight served up an unbelievably close fight between eventual winner Breeze and a truly inspired Sharp, the latter really solidifying a fantastic start to his weekend. As the lead pair ran almost nose-to-tail at every corner, Wrathall mounted an incredible charge from last on the grid to scythe his way through the order brilliantly.
Inside the top 10 by lap four, Wrathall pushed on and eventually managed to get into a position on lap 13 to challenge Williamson for fourth place. Pressurising the Ginetta Junior graduate hard through Westfield, Wrathall took the place into Sheene to cap off a very strong performance.
Behind Breeze and Sharp, Hetherington took his second third place of the day to consolidate his top four championship position with Wrathall just edging out Williamson. Tyldsley finished a distant fifth ahead of Morgan, Mark Davies, Freddie Hetherington and Julien Draper.
Chairman's Cup pace-setter White enjoyed another excellent battle, this time with Tyldsley, but the former's challenge for a top six placing overall ended on the last lap when he dropped back to an eventual finish of 15th place. That meant 'guest car' driver Simon Hill, ITV4 raceday commentator for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support categories, took the spoils in 14th.
Double second place finisher Sharp said: "I'm really happy to have been on the podium twice today, Carl (Breeze) is a very experienced racer and a great talent so to finish so close to him is a great result for me. Hopefully we can try and do the same tomorrow."
Benji Hetherington added: "We've had a string of podiums now so I'm really happy. We're not looking at the championship, we're just taking things race by race and trying to score as many podiums and good finishes as we can."
The ninth round of the 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup is timetabled to get underway at 14.45 tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd May, and will be featured live on ITV4 as part of the channel's afternoon broadcast from Brands Hatch.