Geri Nicosia took an impressive two wins from two at Knockhill this weekend (12 / 13 August) with victory in both the wet and the dry. Two third places for Brown saw him take three points of Stoney’s now 17-point lead headed into their finale next month.
Simon Traves was the man to beat in qualifying, setting the fastest time of the session (1:01.243s) on lap four, which was never topped. The championship rivals, Lewis Brown and Shane Stoney rounded out the session second and third respectively, whilst Nick Zapolski and Oliver Wilkinson rounded out the top five.
As the action got underway, a touch of wheel spin off the line for the pole-man allowed Brown to slip into the lead as they headed into Duffers Dip for the third time, but as the those behind followed them down the hill a coming together in the mid-pack left Seb Perez (who is visiting from the Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup) stuck in the gravel and brought about the safety car.
Racing got back up to full speed on lap three. The leaders instantly pulled a gap on the eight car fight for third, with Nicosia at the helm. A lap later and Nicosia started to reel in Traves, who was dragging bodywork after a tap to the rear at Taylor’s Hairpin left him with damaged bumper. Things went from bad to worse for the pole man though, as he later received a 10s penalty was applied for a false start.
As Nicosia made a move stick, Stoney followed him through and the pair went on the hunt for Brown. As the heavens opened, the action became very much a case of who could keep it on the tarmac (and pointing in the right direction). Nicosia lined up a textbook move on his former Junior rival and soon nipped through into the lead. Not long later, Stoney – a Knockhill stalwart and no stranger to wet weather racing – made a move stick on his points rival and slipped up to second.
After 20 laps, the chequered flag couldn’t come out soon enough for Nicosia, who took the win. Significantly for this weekend’s guest driver, Knockhill was the same circuit he claimed his maiden Ginetta Junior victory. Following him over the line was Stoney in second, with Brown having to settle for third.
Elsewhere, Katie Milner made great progress from her grid spot of 10th, to finish sixth after a great battle for position with Oliver Wilkinson and Nick Zapolski.
Meanwhile in the Am class, a fantastic opening lap for Richard Evans (who started at the very back of the field) made up an impressive 10 places during his first tour around Knockhill. The Quattro Motorsport driver held the class lead for much of the race, until a big spin at Hislop’s on the penultimate lap saw him lose track position to Adrian Campbell-Smith . Nick Halstead joined the pair on the podium after a fantastic race with Jonny Greenwood.
Race two didn’t really get underway until lap four, as a stranded Mike Jarvis brought out the safety car on lap one. Nicosia, who had led the opening laps, locked up and fell to third on the restart as Hadfield and Stoney capitalised on the excursion.
Soon there was a four way scrap for the lead between Hadfield, Stoney, Nicosia and Brown. Stoney found himself elbowed onto the grass, dropping him to fifth but a spin for Hadfield (and trip through the gravel for Brown in avoidance) somehow allowed Stoney to leap into first with Nicosia second and Traves, Zapolski and Wilkinson.
Another safety car period ensued whilst Hadfield was recovered. With nine laps to go, it was all to play for on the restart. Brown soon started to recover and joined the fight for the podium positions. Nicosia found a way past Stoney for the lead, and in his bid to reclaim position, was hit with a five second time penalty for track limits. This promoted Traves and Zapolski into second and third respectively, but in the closing stages, Brown made a move on Zapolski to take the final rostrum position.
Kudos to Perez who had to start the race from the very back of the grid; he made up six positions on lap one and kept climbing throughout the entire race to pick up a total of 10 spots to finish in tenth at the flag. He enjoyed a great race for ninth with Milner in the closing stages, who had been battling with Bird.
Campbell-Smith took another win in the Am class after a dominant race which saw him mixing it with a handful of the Pro drivers. Joining him on the rostrum again was Evans, whilst Greenwood took third in class from Jonny Greenwood.
The drivers now look towards the final rounds of the season at Donington Park on 23 / 24 September. Just 17 points split Stoney and Brown at the top of the championship table, setting the stage for another epic finale in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.