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Harry King Takes Championship Lead With Silverstone Double

30th September 2019 • Simon Paice

Harry King will head into the 2019 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season finale as the championship leader after a double win at Silverstone this past weekend (28/29 September).

An action-packed penultimate meeting of the season saw plenty of twists and turns in the title battle, with King (Elite Motorsport) overhauling Will Burns (Rob Boston Racing) to top the standings, while fellow contender Tom Hibbert (Triple M Motorsport) also secured a race win.

King laid down a marker for the weekend ahead by setting the pace in both of Friday’s free practice sessions. He went on to replicate that performance in qualifying, with a blistering effort of 58.185s securing him pole position for a third meeting in a row.

Simon Rudd (Rob Boston Racing) marked his return to the grid with a brilliant seasons’ best second place on the timesheets, while his team-mate and Am Class contender James Kell starred as he finished third overall; the highest qualifying result for an Am driver this year.

Third quickest in the Pro Class was the championship leader heading into the meeting, Burns. He made immediate progress at the start of race one to pass team-mate Rudd for second and slot behind the rear bumper of the pole man.

Around one second separated them throughout the first half of the race, however on lap ten an incident between Burns and Hibbert ultimately led to both drivers dropping down the order and giving King a clear run to a crucial victory.

Rudd benefitted from the incident ahead to come back through to second place for his best result in the championship so far. Carlito Miracco (Privateer) was half a second adrift as he took his fourth podium of the year, with Reece Somerfield (Elite Motorsport) also close behind.

Alan Henderson (AK Motorsport) produced a great drive to finish fifth on his series debut, with Fin Green rounding out the top six in his first race since switching to Rob Boston Racing. Hibbert recovered to seventh ahead of debutants Kris Prosser (Team HARD) and Tom Emson (Elite Motorsport).

The Am Class win was hotly contested through the 16 lap encounter, with a great battle emerging between Kell and Colin White (CWS Motorsport). Those two traded the spot a number of times through the race before an unfortunate moment between them led to a retirement for Kell.

White also lost ground, with Jack Oliphant (Century Motorsport) coming through to a long-awaited maiden class victory. Second place went to his team-mate Nathan Heathcote, who recovered well from a mid-race spin, with White settling for third ahead of debutant Adam Lucas (Privateer).

With the race one result setting the grid for race two, King was on pole once again and he took full advantage. Building a four second lead before a safety car period, he stormed clear again at the restart to take a ninth win of the campaign by over six seconds.

Behind him, Somerfield held second position for a long portion of the race before slipping down a few spots. Hibbert was the driver to initially dethrone him and he went on to take second on the road at the finish from Miracco, though both drivers received five second time penalties for track limit infringements.

Therefore it was Burns who was classified second in the end. After eventually finishing 17th in race one, a determined fightback drive saw him scythe his way through the field from 11th to 4th on the road, a fitting performance to mark his 100th race start in the championship.

Despite his penalty, Hibbert still came away from the race with silverware in third position. Somerfield was next in a hotly-contested Pro class battle, with Henderson completing a fifth place double for the day ahead of Miracco, Green, Rudd and Emson.

Heathcote secured a crucial lights-to-flag victory in the Am Class, his seventh success of the year. It was far from a simple win though, with title rival White putting him firmly under pressure in the closing stages as they continued their duel for the class title.

Oliphant finished third on the road but was another to pick up a five second track limit penalty, which opened the door for Carl Garnett (AK Motorsport) to record his second podium finish of the campaign. Oliphant was fourth ahead of Kell and Jamie Hopkins (Elite Motorsport).

With the number five pulled out of the bag in the reverse grid draw, debutant Henderson lined up on pole position for the final race of the weekend. That took place on Sunday afternoon live on ITV4, with the field greeted by a dry circuit.

King’s pursuit of a coveted victory hat-trick started well as he stormed from fifth on the grid into the race lead within the first two corners of lap one. The Ginetta Junior graduate led through the first half of the race, but was having to check his mirrors as Hibbert moved closer.

At mid-distance Hibbert stormed past at Luffield to seize the advantage and he held the lead for the remainder of the race to take a seventh win of his GT4 SuperCup career so far. Behind, there was a thrilling battle for second, and ultimately the championship lead, between Burns and King.

Burns got ahead into Luffield on the penultimate lap, but a superb move at Brooklands on the final tour secured King the position. Somerfield and Miracco were next on the road, but the latter got a five second track limits penalty which dropped him to eighth behind Henderson, Green and Rudd.

Oliphant took a lights-to-flag victory in the Am class to complete the best weekend of his maiden GT4 SuperCup season so far. He had to work hard for it though, with White and Heathcote running in close proximity throughout – second for White securing him a 90th Am podium result.

Heathcote was third on the road, however a ten second penalty for a false start dropped him a position, with Garnett therefore taking his second podium of the weekend. Ginetta G40 Cup graduate Mike West (Assetto Motorsport) was fifth in class, his best result of his debut outing.

Two drivers return to the grid after missing the last two meetings were Tom Barley (Team HARD) and Peter Bassill (Century Motorsport). Barley took a highest finish of 11th in race two, while Bassill peaked with seventh in the Am class on two occasions.

The 2019 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season finale takes place in two weeks’ time with three races around the Brands Hatch GP circuit (12/13 October). King, Burns and Hibbert head to Kent in contention for the Pro title, while White, Heathcote and Oliphant will battle it out for the Am spoils.