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Burns Takes Championship Lead With Croft Victories

12th October 2020 • Simon Paice

Will Burns has returned to the top of the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup championship standings with a double victory at Croft, while Adam Smalley also picked up a win (10/11 October).

The weekend began with a qualifying session in tricky changing conditions on Saturday, with rain starting to fall as the session began and getting progressively worse. That meant posting quick laps early on was crucial, with Burns (Rob Boston Racing) doing exactly that.

The two-time series vice-champion scored his second pole position of the season so far, finishing up two tenths of a second quicker than Smalley (Elite Motorsport). Fastest in Pro Am was Tom Emson (Elite Motorsport), while Nick Halstead (Fox Motorsport) set the Am pace.

The rain returned as the field prepared to tackle the opening race that afternoon, but showing no concern for the weather was Burns. Building a 0.8 second gap at the end of lap one, he controlled proceedings for the remaining laps to take first win since the season opener.

Smalley got within touching distance of the leader a couple of times but never close enough to make a move, while Burton remained third throughout. The driver making progress through the race was Joe Marshall-Birks (Rob Boston Racing) on his way to a seasons’ best fourth place.

An impressive run saw Marshall-Birks pick off title contender Tom Hibbert (Triple M Motorsport) and double race-winner Jamie Falvey (Motion Capital Racing) through the race. Falvey went on to finish fifth, while Hibbert recorded his lowest finish of the campaign in sixth.

A faultless performance from Emson netted him a comfortable Pro Am class success, finishing up nearly eight seconds clear of Colin White (CWS Motorsport). White had started third, but got past Chris Salkeld (Assetto Motorsport) on the opening lap.

In the Am class meanwhile, a grid penalty for Halstead meant that Carl Garnett (AK Motorsport) started from pole. He took full advantage to lead throughout from Peter Mangion (Elite Motorsport), while Halstead fought through from the back of the pack to third.

After scoring a milestone 40th overall win for Rob Boston Racing in race one, Burns made it a double in Sunday’s opener. He had to work hard for the success though, with Smalley sticking to his rear bumper throughout but not quite being able to make a successful move.

Burton completed the podium once again, while a first lap move for Falvey over Marshall-Birks netted him fourth place. Hibbert also got ahead for fifth, with Marshall-Birks rounding out the top six ahead of the Pro Am top two Emson and White.

Emson led the class in the early stages but briefly dropped behind White. The Ginetta Junior graduate fought back soon after though to take his fifth consecutive class win, with White finishing second on his 200th start in the GT4 SuperCup.

From pole, Garnett initially slipped back to third in the Am ranks but came back through for the victory. Mangion was second, while Halstead recovered from a spin to take third from Stewart Lines (Triple M Motorsport); those three split by just a second at the finish.

The reverse grid for race three put Falvey onto pole position and a strong start saw him lead the field through the opening lap, while behind Burton lost ground from the front row as Smalley got through at Sunny In and Burns followed at the Complex to take the podium positions.

The top three ran in formation across the first half of the race, before increasing pressure from Smalley resulted in a bold dive down the inside at Tower bend for the lead on lap ten. Burns followed him through to settle into second place.

Smalley went on to post a new championship lap record for the Croft circuit on his way to a second win of the season, while a milestone 60th podium finish in the GT4 SuperCup completed a best ever weekend in the series for Burns. Falvey picked up podium number four of the year.

Reece Somerfield (Privateer) enjoyed a strong run in fourth place early on, however his race unfortunately ended in retirement. Hibbert assumed the position for his best result of the weekend ahead of Marshall-Birks and the Pro Am contingent.

Salkeld started on the class pole position, however White moved ahead on the opening lap. Emson was soon the man on the move however, moving past the top two in quick succession around two-thirds distance for a sixth consecutive class win.

There was an exciting battle in the Am class, with the top four running closely for the majority of the race. A late moment for Mangion dropped him out the lead, with Garnett coming through to an eighth win in a row from Lines, Halstead, Mangion and Lee Goldsmith (Assetto Motorsport).

Full race results for the weekend can be viewed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2020/204103g4c.pdf

Two meetings remain in the 2020 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season, starting with a visit to Snetterton in two weeks’ time (24/25 October).