Kellett Snatches GT5 Challenge Lead With Podium Hattrick

Kellett Snatches GT5 Challenge Lead With Podium Hattrick

The Ginetta GT5 Challenge leaves Rockingham Motor Speedway with a new championship leader as a dominant weekend for James Kellett see him top the leaderboard thanks to a pair of wins in Corby.

Former Ginetta Junior competitor Kellett started from pole position for the opening round of the weekend, but a lightening start for Pointon saw him snatch the lead as the cars turned into Deene for the first time. A good comeback by Kellett meant the Ginetta Junior graduate reclaimed his place at the front by lap two.

An equally good start for Chadwick from sixth place saw him move into third by lap two, before he picked up another place on lap four, claiming the race lead on the penultimate lap when Kellett ran wide at Deene, with Chadwick setting the fastest lap and a new lap record along the way.

As the cars crossed the line to start the final tour, Kellett and Chadwick were split by just 0.026s, but contact between the two saw Chadwick slow in order to let Kellett reclaim the lead, where he remained to the flag.

Race two signalled the first wet race of the 2015 Ginetta GT5 Challenge calendar, with Kellett once again starting on pole position with Pointon alongside. The pair dominated the race from the outset, holding their respective positions from lights to flag and leaving the remainder of the field to fight it out.

Zapolski jumped from seventh to third on the opening tour, whilst former Ginetta Junior Championship competitor Ryan Hadfield made an impressive start to move from tenth to fourth by the time the cars crossed the line for the first time.

Despite starting from sixth and being bogged down at the start, Chadwick once again proved himself as a force to be reckoned with, picking up positions over the opening lap to have moved into third by lap three, although with a five second deficit to Pointon in second, the 2014 runner up was happy to settle for a podium finish.

Starting from the pit lane, Stewart Linn had a storming race, having made up 15 places on the opening lap and recovering to tenth by the time the flag fell. Linn’s Optimum Motorsport teammate James Robinson also impressed in the wet conditions, having qualified third an early race skirmish saw him with work to do, but relentless pushing saw him chase down Zapolski for fifth as the race reached its closing stages, and in a lap corner lunge, he was able to claim the position by 0.1s as the pair took the flag.

In the mid-pack, Broster, Taylor and Elshimy had a great fight for 14thplace, with Taylor the eventual victor of their mini-battle, with Broster finishing fifteenth, 0.3 seconds up the road from Elshimy. Whilst in the GRDC+ class, Hyland was looking strong for another class win in the early stages, but his mirrors were soon filled with the white car of 2014 champion Ferguson.

A great battle between the pair saw them trade places before Ferguson moved into the lead, followed swiftly through by Keogh who claimed second. Hyland retired from the race on the penultimate lap, promoting Fleming into third place.

The final race of the day was action packed from start to finish with all 33 drivers putting on a fine show for the Corby fans. A blistering start for Hirst saw him power into the race lead as the cars exited Deene for the first time, despite having started seventh on the grid.

Shuffled down to second, Kellett was eager to make it three wins from three, trading places with Hirst throughout much of the encounter. Behind the top two, Robinson enjoyed a comfortable third place as Pointon, Linn, Chadwick and Zapolski held each other up in the race for fourth.

Linn passed Pointon on lap four to take fourth, with Chadwick following him around the TCR driver at Gracelands and the #7 car losing two spots in one lap. Chadwick was then on a roll, passing Linn at Deene for fourth before he locked eyes on Robinson up ahead.

With the top three all running nose to tail, Hirst tried a lunge going into Deene on lap seven, only to spin and hit the tyres, forcing Robinson to brake heavily in avoidance.  The melee allows Chadwick to breeze past the pair, inheriting second in the process.

It wasn’t long until Chadwick was behind Kellett, taking the race lead for his own on the same lap whilst Linn was left to challenge for second, having been promoted to third as a result of the incident at Deene.

Back on track, Robinson and Hirst passed Plumley for fifth and sixth respectively, but a trip back to the top of the pack was too big of a ask, as Chadwick had already pulled out a comfortable gap over Kellett, who held second from Linn until the flag.

In the mid pack, there was a great squabble between Zapolski and Plumley for fifth, however overcooking the entry into Deene saw Zapolski drop to ninth. Behind him, Taylor, Elshimy and Minshaw were running just seconds apart in their fight for the final place for the top 10 with Taylor claiming the place in the end.

In the GRDC+ class, Hyland was once again on fine form despite starting at the back of the grid. He made good progress to climb to third in class by lap three. Behind him, Wager, Mughal and Flemming had their own race over fourth, with Mughal the eventual winner of that inter-race battle. Keogh was the overall GRDC+ winner, with Hyland finishing second and Ferguson third.

Provisional GT5 Challenge Standings After Six Rounds:

1              KELLETT, James 176

2              CHADWICK, Ollie 150

3              POINTON, Callum 142

4              LINN, Stewart 138

5              HIRST, Luca 122

6              ZAPOLSKI, Nick 106

7              O'BRIEN, Dan 73

8              ROBINSON, Ian 67

9              PLUMLEY, Charles 61

10           ROBINSON, James 60


Provisional GRDC+ Standings After Two Rounds:

1              KEOGH, Rob 94

2              FLEMMING, Shawn 69

3              HYLAND, Ben 65

4              MUGHAL, Usmaan 64

5              BABINGTON, Chris 60

6              FERGUSON, Charles 56

7              STUART, Greg    49

8              MARSHALL, Andrew 42

9              WALL, John 42

10           WAGER, Gary 38