James Kellett today (September 13) claimed his second Ginetta Championship in as many years after claiming the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge title after an phenomenal fight with Ollie Chadwick and Callum Pointon.
Kellett arrived at Donington Park with a 34 point advantage over rival Chadwick, but after failing to finish the opening race that gap was slashed to just two, and the race for the title was well and truly on.
Race two saw Chadwick finish up the road from Kellett, handing the Xentek driver the championship lead by seven points ahead of the last race and everything still to play for. Although the pair jostled for position throughout the final encounter, a problem for Chadwick forced him to pull off circuit. Try as he might to work out the issue underneath his car, he was forced to retire from the race, thus handing the title to Kellett.
In the races, Luca Hirst led into Redgate as the first event got underway, but it was Chadwick who crossed the line leading the pack after the opening lap. The opening lap melee saw a number of cars scattering across the circuit, with Nick Zapolski and Russ Simpson forced to retire, whilst a tag from behind for Kellett propelled his Ginetta G40 into the gravel at the Old Hairpin, ending his race.
After a brief safety car period to remove Kellett’s car, racing resumed on lap four. Pointon was quick to pull away once the circuit went back into race mode. Behind, it was a four-way fight for third position, with Chadwick having to defend hard from his very quick teammate Hirst.
It was soon all change again though, as Stewart Linn cut past Hirst to move into second, leaving the latter to fend off the advances of James Robinson, Matt Palmer and the closing Ryan Hadfield. At the drag race to the finish, Robinson retained his position, whilst Hadfield passed Palmer to move into fifth with Hirst following him through to take sixth.
Just two points split the pair going into the second race, and it was an unmissable encounter. Kellett, Chadwick and Pointon each led during the 12 lap race with Kellett the early favourite until Chadwick and Pointon swept through at the halfway point, although it was the latter who managed to retain the position until the flag.
With the top three preoccupied with each other, it allowed Stewart Linn, James Robinson and Ryan Hadfield to latch onto the leaders. With Chadwick and Kellett forced to defend, Pointon was able to pull a small gap over the quintet.
Kellett found himself shuffled down the order as Hadfield stormed into third and as the race drew to a close it was the second win of the weekend for Pointon, whilst Chadwick’s second place moved him to the top of the championship by a handful of points.
The final race of the weekend was a return to the exciting for the Ginetta GT5 Challenge is known for, as position-swapping was rife throughout the field. Understandably, the early laps were all about the championship battle. Pointon led the early stages, but crucially for the title, Chadwick was directly in front of Kellett.
After a safety car period to recover the car of Alexis Taylor who had become stuck in the gravel on lap one, racing got underway again with just seven minutes left. Pointon got the break, whilst Chadwick kept Kellett at arm’s length until he was forced to pull off the circuit with a suspected prop shaft failure.
With Chadwick out, Kellett could relax safe in the knowledge he just had to score eight points. At the complete opposite end of the scale meanwhile, Hadfield had his debut car racing win in his sights. After climbing to second, Hadfield hassled Pointon throughout before snatching the lead with just seconds remaining on the clock.
It wasn’t just the Ginetta GT5 Challenge championship being settled though. In GRDC+ want2race teammates Rob Keogh and Ben Hyland were embroiled in an equally exciting championship battle. Running together throughout each of the three races, the championship went down to the wire.
Good friends off track, the pair were incredibly respectful of each other despite racing hard in the finale. Hyland led the race, and Keogh was stuck in third for quite a while, before he found a way around Charles Ferguson to move into second. As the flag fell, Keogh’s position was enough to hand him the inaugural GRDC+ title.