BREEZE EXTENDS G50 CUP LEAD WITH PAIR OF HOME WINS Total Control Racing's Carl Breeze increased his lead in the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup to 34 points at Snetterton in Norfolk this afternoon, Saturday, 7th August, thanks to a brace of contrasting...
BREEZE EXTENDS G50 CUP LEAD WITH PAIR OF HOME WINS
Total Control Racing's Carl Breeze increased his lead in the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup to 34 points at Snetterton in Norfolk this afternoon, Saturday, 7th August, thanks to a brace of contrasting race victories -- his sixth and seventh successes of the season.
Qualifying on pole position for the first event of the weekend, round 15, at his home track, the Kings Lynn racer held off a determined challenge from title rival Frank Wrathall by just 0.4 seconds -- the race punctuated by a Safety Car period on lap four which wiped out Breeze's two second lead.
In round 16, which took place on a drying track after earlier rain, Breeze again emerged victorious but this time the winning margin was over 10 seconds. Although over-shooting the Esses on the first lap, Breeze rejoined the track with his advantage over Wrathall intact.
Running nose-to-tail from that point on, the fifth lap brought some controversy when the pair made contact in the braking area for Sear Corner. While Breeze was able to continue in the lead, Wrathall's car was pitched into a spin and he had to battle back from 13th position. Doing so fantastically well, the Dynojet driver finished fifth in the end -- just 0.6 seconds shy of the podium.
"In the first race I felt I had good control of everything, I had enough of a gap down both straights to stay ahead but Frank was pushing hard", said Breeze, "I did have quite a commanding lead originally until the Safety Car came out so after that it was much more of a fight. In race two it was tough weighing-up where to brake in the conditions and Frank unfortunately caught the back of me."
Wrathall responded: "I don't know if that's Carl's normal braking point into Sear but I thought he braked far too early for the corner while I was so close behind, I locked-up and caught the back of him which put me off. I'm not that happy about it but I did come back through pretty well."
Century Motorsport's Phil Broad made his first ever visit to the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup podium in round 15 with a superbly competitive drive to third place behind the two main title protagonists. In great form throughout the 14-lapper, Broad applied huge pressure to Wrathall and finished just 0.4 seconds adrift -- only 0.8 seconds splitting the top three.
"I'm really pleased with that", said Broad, "I'm more comfortable with the car now, I come from a Caterham background and these Ginetta G50s are very different. I've started to really click with the car and understand what the car wants from me now so it's really built my confidence too."
Tom Sharp and Adam Morgan, both winners at Croft prior to the seven-week summer break, made a return to the podium in round 16 in second and third place respectively, Sharp's result -- added to a top six finish in round 15 -- lifting him into the championship top three ahead of Benji Hetherington.
Hetherington had a torrid time of things in both races today, a bitterly disappointing conclusion for the Century Motorsport driver having run tremendously well in qualifying. Missing out on the top spot by only 0.037 seconds, Hetherington was the only driver to get close to Breeze in qualifying.
At the start of round 15, Breeze got away well from the line while Hetherington held on to second ahead of determined third-place starter Mark Davies. At the Esses though, Hetherington slid wide as he and Davies battled and the resulting delay enabled Wrathall to move through into second place.
Hetherington, although recovering, dropped well out of contention and eventually finished in 16th place after another moment later in the race. At the front though, Breeze seized the chance to open up an advantage of two seconds but the deployment of the Safety Car on lap four eroded that gap.
Contact on lap three at Riches between VIP 'guest car' driver Adrian Newey -- chief technical officer of the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team -- and Ginetta G50 regular Julien Draper led to the cautionary period and although the latter was taken to hospital he was thankfully discharged soon after. Newey, meanwhile, received a points penalty on his licence for his part in the collision.
At the re-start on lap eight, Breeze had Wrathall and Broad right with him but there was no change in the order to the finish on lap 14. In contrast to his brother, Freddie Hetherington had a much better time of things with a fine fourth ahead of Davies who, in turn, headed home Sharp, Stephen Tyldsley and Morgan.
Just outside the top eight, Matt Allison -- former British Touring Car Championship driver and Renault Clio Cup front-runner -- made a solid return to racing after a two year hiatus with a strong run on his G50 Cup debut at his local circuit.
Although the round 16 contact between Breeze and Wrathall did enable the series leader to drive into the distance in the drying conditions, the fight for the remaining podium placings was very tight.
Offering great entertainment, Sharp and Morgan battled hard and as the race progressed they were joined by Davies and the recovering Wrathall. In the end, Sharp pulled out a one second gap to take the runner-up spot while Morgan had to drive with one eye firmly planted on his mirrors.
He took third by only 0.3 seconds while Davies was an even smaller margin ahead of Wrathall, the latter also posting the fastest lap a few tours from the finish. Freddie Hetherington again did well in sixth while the Chairman's Cup victory in each race was taken commandingly by Colin White.
Round 17 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup will take place at 13.30 tomorrow, Sunday, 8th August, and will be screened live on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.
Provisional 2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd16): 1st Carl Breeze, 475pts; 2nd Frank Wrathall, 441pts; 3rd Tom Sharp, 319pts; 4th Benji Hetherington, 285pts; 5th Adam Morgan, 272pts; 6th Freddie Hetherington, 206pts