Murrells and Pettit take Snetterton wins George Murrells and Dominic Pettit took the victories at Snetterton in three dramatic races in the Ginetta Challenge. Pettit won a re-started opener before Murrells triumphed in race two but on-the-road...
Murrells and Pettit take Snetterton wins
George Murrells and Dominic Pettit took the victories at Snetterton in three dramatic races in the Ginetta Challenge. Pettit won a re-started opener before Murrells triumphed in race two but on-the-road winner Pettit was excluded from the third race giving victory to Murrells.
Pole-sitter George Murrells (Optimum Motorsport) bogged down at the start of race one, which allowed Sean Huyton (Academy Motorsport) to take and early lead, chased by Stuart Pearson and championship leader Andy Richardson. Murrells had a moment that dropped him to 15th place and he began his fightback that was eased on lap three when Richardson stopped at Coram Curve with an electrical problem that caused the car to cut out. He coasted to the pits and into (it seemed) retirement. However, a downpour of rain on lap six brought the race to a halt. The rain arrived without warning and made the circuit awash and visibility non-existent as the rain was driven by a strong wind. The race was halted and, once the rain had abated, restarted over seven minutes from behind the safety car. The restart gave Richardson a chance to rejoin and set about gaining points from his pit-lane start.
Huyton led the restart from Pearson and Dominic Pettit, the Cambridge driver once again in the Dominant Motorsport G20 Junior and the only man with a roof over his head. As Pearson moved ahead of Huyton at Coram, Pettit tried to find a way past the Ormskirk man for second place which he achieved on lap two at the Esses before he closed in on Pearson and made a move at the Esses again to snatch the lead. Pearson fought back and ended the race just 0.143s behind at flagfall, while Huyton took third from Steve Bell and Matt Flowers. Murrells struggled on the wet road and ended the race sixth but with Richardson eighth, the gap narrowed between them in the championship.
Huyton led race two from the line with Pettit slotting in behind him ahead of Pearson and Murrells, but Pettit ran wide out of Coram on the opening lap and, toboggan-like, skated across the grass at Russell. He rejoined the road fourth but lost another place at Riches starting lap two as Richardson dived up the inside to snatch fourth place. Up front, Huyton led but Murrells started to attack and worked his way into second and began reducing a gap of 2.6 seconds. It came down by three-tenths over lap four, with Pearson, Richardson and Pettit chasing him in their own battle for third. Pettit was shown a driving standards warning flag as he pushed on in pursuit of Richardson, while Murrells continued to close on Huyton. On lap eight, the two leaders were together and George challenged at the Esses but Huyton maintained his advantage only for his car to cut out at the end of the lap and he was forced to retire to the pits.
That left Murrells in a clear lead from Pearson while the battle for third came to a head at Russell when Richardson missed second gear and was hit in the back by Pettit. The front of the old-shape Junior was ripped off as the air got underneath the flapping bodywork but even though he scrabbled past Richardson, the Grantham driver retook third place on the last lap and secured the place. Murrells' win brought him to within two points of Richardson in the title race, while behind the top three, Pettit's battle-scarred car was fourth ahead of Matt Flowers and Steve Bell.
Race three (the rescheduled race halted at Oulton Park at Easter) began with Huyton taking the lead from Pettit and Murrells but he lasted only as far as the Esses before he outbraked himself and went off the road, That gave Pettit the lead from Murrells with Huyton outside the top 10. Behind the leaders, Steve Bell snr and Nick Flowers made contact at Sear and a safety car period began as the cars were removed.
After just one lap behind the safety car, Pettit led the restart from Murrells and Richardson with Pearson heading Matt Flowers and Craig McIlvar. Huyton worked his way to ninth on lap three and continued to make progress as Pettit was caught by Murrells and their fight came to a head at Sear on lap six when there was contact and Murrells fell to seventh. That allowed Pettit to pull clear by over three seconds, while Huyton worked his way to second place at Riches ahead of Richardson, but the flying Murrells was soon up with the second place battle and moved ahead of Huyton to bag the place.
Post-race, Pettit was excluded for his part in the incident with Murrells and hence George took a fifth win of the season and with it the championship lead. Huyton was second ahead of Craig McIlvar who took his best-ever finish in a Ginetta Challenge race. So, too, did Harry Whale who was fourth ahead of Richardson and Jake Green. The former Formula Ford racer had his first Ginetta Challenge races, and his first races in anything for four months, and became quicker over the weekend to stay ahead of more experienced Ginetta racers Matt Flowers and James Haynes.
The next stop for the Ginetta Challenge is Brands Hatch on the weekend of September 25/26th.