03 JUL 2012

Sean Huyton is currently sitting at the top of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge championship tables after winning two out of three races as well as a landing trio of fastest laps at Brands Hatch on June 23/24.

The Academy Motorsport driver has now claimed five race wins, a further three podium spots and six fastest laps from the nine races held so far this season. However, Mike Robinson (TCR) isn’t far behind in the points, having won the first race of the weekend by 0.203 seconds.

Not letting Huyton and Robinson run away with all the glory however, and finishing just 3.5 seconds behind the two frontrunners in race one, was the Piranha Motorsport car of Ryan Ratcliffe and Optimum Motorsport’s Gary Simms who sit third and fourth in the standings respectively.

In the G20 class; a hearty battle between Matthew Flowers (Privateer) and Mark Wania (Academy Motorsport) saw Wania lead the race initially, even managing to wedge a few G40’s between himself and Flowers. However, the lead was short-lived, as Flowers soon caught up and made a move going into Surtees, yet the fight for the win raged until the chequered flag dropped with 0.8 seconds separating them as they crossed the line.

In race two, a broken differential for Simms left him spreading oil around almost the entire length of the Kent circuit at the start of the race, leaving a mass of incidents in his wake. The race was red flagged whilst the Optimum team gave Simms a ‘quick fix’ which allowed him to start from pit lane, however, contact with Kevin Begley (trackcars.net) on the restart ended his race as he had nowhere to go but the tyre wall.

Simms’ teammate Thiago Calvet also suffered the knock-on effects of the oil spill, getting caught up amongst the spinning cars and making heavy contact with another car. With a broken roll bar and a destroyed bonnet, Calvet limped on for two laps, before another spin left him colliding with team mate Lee Mowle and out of the race; and the Optimum team with a full night’s work on their hands.

Huyton however, was in a race of his own as he finished the race almost 7.6 seconds clear of Ratcliffe, whose incredible drive and avoidance of incidents saw him come from tenth on the grid to second on the exit of the first corner. After a brief battle with Huyton, Ratcliffe settled in second, keen to keep Challenge veteran William Burns (HHC Motorsport) behind him.

2012 Ginetta G20 champion Stuart Pearson also brought home his best finish yet as he finished in fourth, narrowly missing out on a podium after crossing the line just one second behind third-placed Burns.

In the G20 class, contact between Flowers and Barker left the former with damage to the suspension, chassis and body, whilst he finished in last place – a lap down on the leading cars - he still managed to bring home some vital points.

Wania avoided the first lap chaos and once again steamed into the lead, and whilst he had to keep an eye on Brian Murphy (Orwin) all the time as he was never far behind, he managed to hold on in there and bring home a first place.

In the third and final race, Wania started from row five, and managed to climb into overall eighth position – ahead of some of the G40’s – before spending the remainder of the race in a class of his own, trying to get out the way of the quicker G40's whilst bringing home his second G20 win of the weekend.

Flowers managed to piece the car back together for the third race, however, without enough time to set the suspension up properly, the car was quite a handful. Undeterred, and starting at the back of the G20's, he worked his way through the field, and claimed second place, and fastest lap!

In the G40 class, Huyton started on pole and had a lights-to-flag finish, pulling out another seven second gap from second place once again, whilst behind him

Despite the problems which marred his outing in the previous race, Simms started from 20thPlace on the grid for the final race of the weekend, but with a fixed car, Simms had a great time carving his way through the field, finishing in sixth place by the end of Sunday’s 15 minute race.

The same can’t be said for his unfortunate teammate Calvet however; having started from the back of the field, he was pushed wide in lap one, hit the grass, lost all grip and was sent hurtling backwards into the tyre wall, despite the incident, Calvet managed to finish the race, albeit in 19th.

Having finished second in the previous race, Ratcliffe started on the front row of the grid for race three, although he didn’t get the lightning starts he had for the first two races, however, a fight with  Mike Robinson (TCR) saw him catch up the young Welshman and through on the inside at Hawthorn Bend, leaving Ratcliffe out wide and losing places in the process. In the end, it was Ratcliffe who finished third, with Burns given fourth place as less than a second separated the second, third and fourth placed cars.

With June having seen some rather dramatic racing at both Rockingham and Brands Hatch for the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge, the forthcoming rounds at Cadwell Park on the 21 and 22nd July look set to see some old scores settled.