Determined to make a triumphant return to the track following his accident at Knockhill four weeks ago Tom Ingram arrived at Rockingham with a win in his sights, and after a fantastic race with Carl Breeze, he certainly returned in style.
Current championship leader Tom Sharp was forced to start from sixth on the grid, but as the lights went out, his eyes were trained on the front pair, and he stormed up into fourth by the first corner, making light work of Jake Hill and Jamie Orton.
A massive start for Breeze and Richardson saw them immediately take first and second place, with Ingram in third. Hill tried to find a way past Sharp into the final corner, but as they crossed the line for the first time, Sharp held onto fourth by 0.311 seconds.
In the G50 class, Reece Somerfield found a way past Davies and Gaffney to lead the race, but it wasn’t long until Davies picked off the Forkers car to claim his regular spot at the front of the field.
As they completed their third lap, the leading three cars of Breeze, Richardson and Ingram seemed to have settled into a steady lead up the road, whilst the fight over fourth is raging between Sharp, Hill and Orton with 0.7 seconds separating the threesome.
Going into Chapman Curve, Hill finally made his move on Sharp, passing the championship leader for fourth and drawing out a one second lead over just a few corners before setting a steady gaze on the rear of Ingram’s G55.
After changing the car setup after qualifying, Abbott battles with the control of his Century Motorsport car and spins through the second half of Pif-Paf after hitting the apex: The ensuing chaos lead to unavoidable contact with the JHR car of Marcus Hoggarth; bringing both drivers’ race to an early end.
Elsewhere, championship leader Sharp’s day also ground to a halt at Brook corner as he ended up beeched in the gravel, whilst Orton retired just one corner later leading to a safety car period as the four cars are cleared. This plays right into the hands of Hill who inevitably finds himself on the tail of the top three at the restart, with the pair of them forcing their way past Richardson into Tarzan.
Not long later, another retirement comes from the unfortunate car of Fergus Walkinshaw at the end of lap seven - after being forced onto the grass during the earlier fracas between Abbott and Hoggarth, the debris collected in the radiator resulted in an overheating G55.
At the end of lap 15, Ingram is just 0.1 seconds behind Breeze, but with Sharp out and an increased chance of bringing home the 2013 championship title, Breeze refuses to let the High Wycomb youngster past without a fight.
As the cars enter their last lap, the duo are side by side with just 0.001 seconds separating them as they cross the line, however, Ingram makes the move stick into Deene in an exceptionally brave move on the experienced racer.
Down the field, White passes the suffering car of Hill for fourth place in the G55 – whilst the G50’s of Davies and Gaffney also cross the line ahead of the Tollbar Racing with WIRED driver. Somefield also limps across the line with what looks like a dislodged wheel.
With Sharp out of the points, it was a significant result for Ingram and Breeze, who each take yet another chunk out of the championship lead, opening the door for a new championship leader a little bit wider. Now just 23 points behind Sharp, another race like todays could see Breeze leave Rockingham at the top of the points table.
He said; “It was a little disappointing to lose out on the last lap, but without the safety car we would have won the race without question. However, with Sharp in the gravel we knew it would be a great opportunity to bring back some points and it puts us on the front row for the race tomorrow and Sharp at the back and we know coming through the field he could always get caught up with other cars, and this championship could still be ours.”
With it all still to play for, Ingram added; “There is always a glimmer of hope, so why not go for it?” One thing is for sure, tomorrows Ginetta GT Supercup is certainly going to be one well worth watching.
See the full results and points here