Carl Breeze leaves Thruxton at the head of the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup thanks to a pair of lights-to-flag victories and a clean sweep of podiums as the British Touring Car Championship support series visited the high-speed Hampshire track
Topping the timing sheets in qualifying, Breeze had the advantage of being the only racer on the grid to have won a Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup race at Thruxton before, and made sure his rivals knew it too, enjoying a dominant lights to flag victory which saw him cross the line a huge eight seconds over his HHC Motorsport Jamie Orton in second place.
Although Orton took second position from Will Burns, there was a fantastic fight between the HHC Motorsport teammates as they fought tooth and nail over the biggest points haul, whilst behind, Tom Oliphant bided his time in fourth place, hoping for an opportunity to pass the pair, albeit one which never materialised.
Michael Caine had qualified his Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer Ginetta G55 GT4 car on second place, but a ride height issue in scrutineering saw him demoted to the very back of the grid with a 10 second penalty, although a strong race saw him recover to sixth.
After shaking off Ollie Jackson in the fight over fifth, Bradley Smith was left to race with Mitchell Hale, with the two running just up the road from Team LNT Ginetta-Nissan LMP3 driver Gaëtan Paletou, who had made good progress, having started from 10thplace after problems in qualifying.
Despite starting from the pit lane following a mechanical issue, Colin White drove a great race in the opener to recover to an AM class runners up spot, crossing the line behind class winner Osamu Kawashima.
Starting from pole position for the second outing, another lightening start for Breeze saw him lead into Allard for the first time, an advantage that couldn’t be broken during the ensuing 16 laps. For the rest of the HHC Motorsport squad, it was a different story however, as Burns found his way around Orton to snatch second place over the opening laps, but struggling with tyres, Orton soon began to come under threat from Oliphant, and rescinded the position a few laps later.
Previous race winner Reece Somerfield stormed his way through the field, climbing from sixth to tenth over the opening lap, all the while being chased by his race one rival, Caine. The pair passed Bradley Smith on lap two to claim fifth and sixth respectively. Caine kept his foot in and managed to take fifth into Allard for the sixth time, soon reeling in Orton as the pack began to encounter back markers, and snatching the position on lap 10 in a similar style.
Meanwhile, Wrigley, Jackson and Paletou all found themselves in a close fight over eighth position. Whilst Wrigley led for most of the race, running wide on lap 13 allowed Jackson and Paletou to pass, although Wrigley managed to claim one of the two positions back before the flag.
The reverse grid draw saw Caine promoted to pole position for the final race of the weekend, but it was Burns who took advantage of the start, powering into the lead as the cars entered Allard for the first time and demoting Caine to second with Breeze right behind.
It looked like we were in store for a five way fight for the lead as Orton and Oliphant joined in the melee, but problems for the two championship protagonists saw both forced into retirement on lap two and lap six respectively, Orton as a result of contact which caused suspension damage.
Oliphant’s demise called for a three lap safety car period, giving the pack seven laps in which to make their mark on the third meeting of the weekend. A fine battle between leader Burns and Caine behind left fans guessing until the final lap, when Caine finally made a move stick at Allard and snatched what looked set to be an almost certain win from an exhausted Burns.
The action wasn’t just at the front of the field however, as Somerfield, Smith, Paletou, Hale and Jackson enjoyed a fantastic race over fourth place. Whilst Somerfield has the early advantage – leading the pack for much of the race – a mistake on lap 12 dropped him down the pack and allowed Hale to pick up a handful of places and slip into fourth – setting the fastest lap of the race to boot - whilst new driver Paletou followed him through, just up the road from Smith and Jackson. The battle between the quintet continued to rage until the flag, but ultimately finished in that order until post-race enquiries deemed Paletou to have overtaken before the start/finish line under safety car, and pushed him behind Jackson in the result.
In the AM class, Colin White was once again on top form, leading for much of the race, his advantage bolstered when Robertson retired from the action after 10 laps. It was another podium for Japanese racer Osamu Kawashima, whilst Colin’s brother Keith joined the pair on the rostrum.
The results see Breeze leave Thruxton with the championship lead, having pushed teammate Orton down to second by an advantage of 34 points. With two races set for Oulton Park in just over a month, make sure you don’t miss a moment!
Provisional Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Standings After Nine Rounds.
1 BREEZE, Carl 271
2 ORTON, Jamie 237
3 BURNS, Will 233
4 OLIPHANT, Tom 203
5 CAINE, Michael 193
6 SOMERFIELD, Reece 164
7 JACKSON, Ollie 130
8 WRIGLEY, Tom 112
9 HALE, Mitchell 106
10 SMITH, Bradley 104