In one of the most exciting battles this season, Carl Breeze has drawn level with Tom Sharp on championship points during the penultimate round of the 2012 Ginetta GT Supercup.
Elsewhere, Mark Davies claimed his third Ginetta championship title in four years, after winning the G50 Ginetta GT Supercup series, whilst his team, Richardson Racing also secured the Teams Championship.
Qualifying saw Andrew Richardson emerge triumphant, as the main championship protagonists failed to qualify in the top three. Starting the race from pole position Andrew Richardson had his sights firmly set on a win in the first race of the weekend at Silverstone.
As the lights went out, a good start for Richardson saw him lead the race for the first lap, until a move by Jake Hill from second place saw him take the lead at Copse on lap two. A rather less impressive start for Colin White from third saw him tumble down the order into sixth.
In the G50 class, Mark Davies retained his usual position at the front of the G50 pack, whilst problems for Rob Gaffney saw him fall to the back of the field on lap two with what looked like damage to the rear of his car, leaving Somerfield to join Davies and Harry Cockill in the top three.
Back in the G55 class, Jamie Orton’s race came to an abrupt end in the gravel at Luffield, whilst up ahead, the running order still sees Hill leading from Richardson with the three championship leaders, Breeze, Ingram and Sharp right behind.
Lap five saw Cockhill take a drive-through penalty from second place after being deemed as starting the race outside his pit box, meaning the order of the G50’s was reset to Davies, Declan Jones and Reece Somerfield.
By lap six, the leading trio had begun to run clear of the battling Toms, as Breeze sets the fastest lap; keen to bring home a win and keep his championship fight open at this crucial stage. However, with Richardson responding with his own fastest lap one tour later, the chase was well and truly on for the win.
Richardson’s efforts were rewarded on lap 11 as he retook the lead from Hill into Copse Corner, whilst Breeze cut down the gap between himself and his old Tollbar Racing car to just 0.1 seconds, a gap he made even shorter as he took second place around the outside of Copse on lap 13 – an impressive recovery drive after starting from sixth on the grid.
Harry Cockill’s day got even worse as he retired his G50 into the pit lane with a gearbox problem, whilst Davies was more than five seconds ahead of the second placed car of Jones, who, in turn, was 1.5 seconds ahead of Somefield.
On lap 14, Richardson had etched out a 2.1 second lead, whilst just down the road, Sharp is 0.5 seconds behind Ingram for fourth place, a gap he brings down to 0.2 seconds over the course of the lap. Two laps later and only 0.7 seconds separated Hill, Ingram and Sharp, whilst Richardson runs 3.1 seconds ahead of Breeze, who in turn is 3.1 seconds head of Hill.
The final laps saw Hetherington reeling in Walkinshaw, whilst his teammate Hunter Abbot landed sixth overall on the final lap from Colin White, and as the flag dropped it was Richardson from Breeze and Hill.
The second race of the weekend saw Carl Breeze take the lead from Andrew Richardson going into Copse Corner, whilst - seeing his championship lead hanging in the balance - Tom Sharp ploughed through the field from fifth place to take third by the end of the maiden lap. Having rather a less successful start was Freddie Hetherington, who suffered from a spin and tumbling down the order to last place.
Lap four saw familiar battles emerge as Colin White, Hunter Abbott and Fergus Walkinshaw squabbled over the midfield positions, whilst G50 driver Harry Cockill came into the pits and retired from the race.
A few laps later and both Tom Ingram and Mark Davies receive a black and white flag for exceeding the track limits – a warning they each appear to ignore, resulting in a pair of five second penalties later on in the race; dropping Ingram to sixth in the G55 class, and Davies second in the G50s.
On lap seven, Sharp found a way past Richardson for second places, and began to chase down the advancing car of Breeze, who was just seven points behind as Sunday’s racing began and, if the positions stayed as they were on track – with Breeze also taking fastest lap – the two drivers would be tied on points heading to Brands Hatch, prior to dropped points.
Meanwhile, a little down the order, teammates Abbott and Walkinshaw had dropped White from their three-way fight, and were having a fantastic race for over seventh place as Andrew Richardson became another driver to be shown a black and white flag.
Over the final laps of the race, Ingram worked his way into the Richardson and Hill battle, taking third place on the track from Hill on lap 22, although he was still in sixth overall with the corrected times, just 0.1 seconds behind White – a gap he managed to eliminate on the final lap.
As the flag dropped, Breeze took the win from Sharp, but failing to score the fastest lap means that Sharp still technically leads the championship going to Brands Hatch, albeit by two points once dropped scores are taken into consideration.
It was a different story in the G50 class however, as a second place for Mark Davies was enough to secure him his second Ginetta title in as many years following his 2011 win in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, an added bonus to Richardson Racing’s already successful weekend following them claiming the Teams Championship following Saturday’s race.
Davies' earlier penalty also afforded Declan Jones his first win of the season, marking the young driver – who still technically qualifies for the Ginetta Junior Championship – as one to watch for next season.Jones said; “To take the win on Sunday was great. It is a massive confidence boost for me. All through the race I was matching Mark’s times and I was either a bit quicker than him or he was a bit quicker than me. We were within hundredths of each other."
As the drivers now look towards the final round of the season in a fortnight’s time, there will surely be fireworks on track in Kent, as three races stand between Breeze and Sharp and one championship title.
Provisional points following Silverstone;
Position - Name - Total - Penalties - Drop - Drop total
1 Tom SHARP IDL UK 664 -9 16 639
2 Carl BREEZE TCR 655 0 18 637
3 Tom INGRAM JHR Developments 587 0 0 587
4 Andrew RICHARDSON Richardson Racing 417 0 0 417
5 Colin WHITE CWS 378 -6 0 372
6 Hunter ABBOTT Century Motorsport 354 -6 0 348
7 Jake HILL Tollbar Racing with WIRED 319 -6 0 313
8 Fergus WALKINSHAW Century Motorsport 273 0 0 273
9 Jamie ORTON TCR 259 -6 0 253
10 Josh WAKEFIELD theplayer.co.uk/Century 240 0 0 240
11 Marcus HOGGARTH JHR Developments 236 -6 0 230
12 Nathan FREKE theplayer.co.uk/Century 84 0 0 84
13 Freddie HETHERINGTON theplayer.co.uk/Century 53 0 0 53
1 Mark DAVIES Richardson Racing 766 0 23 743
2 Rob GAFFNEY Meridian Motorsport 632 0 18 614
3 Reece SOMERFIELD Privateer 410 0 0 410
4 James OWEN Sherwood Racing 356 0 0 356
5 Max COATES Redbrick Racing 272 0 0 272
6 Louise RICHARDSON Richardson Racing 258 0 0 258
7 Declan JONES Century Motorsport 192 0 0 192
8 Ian PARSONS Privateer 79 0 0 79
9 Brad BAILEY Privateer 78 0 0 78
10 Ian WHITE Privateer 78 0 0 78
11 Harry COCKILL HE Racing 48 0 0 48
12 Connaire FINN Privateer 46 0 0 4613 Giles DAWSON Richardson Racing 40 0 0 40