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Hibbert Hits Back With Croft Double In Ginetta GT4 SuperCup

20th September 2021 • Dan Mason

Tom Hibbert ramped up the pressure on Adam Smalley with two Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup wins at Croft (18/19 September) to close to just six points shy of the championship lead.

Hibbert sent out a message on Friday with the fastest time in testing, and the battle between the Rob Boston Racing man and Elite Motorsport’s Smalley went to Saturday’s qualifying session. Both left their best laps until the final five minutes, Smalley briefly disposing of Hibbert before the latter pumped in a time 0.205s quicker to grab his first pole position of the season.

James Blake-Baldwin (AK Motorsport), a race-winner last time out at Thruxton, topped much of the first half of the session but had to settle for third place from Elite team-mates Josh Rattican and Tom Emson. Local racer Carl Garnett (AK Motorsport) laid down a marker by sealing his third Pro Am pole position of the season.

A lightning getaway from Hibbert as the lights went out to start race one of the weekend helped his task at hand, but that early cushion he built was wiped out by a safety car appearance. Smalley gave chase in the closing stages and kept up the pressure, but Hibbert was able to resist for his fifth win of the season by 0.4s from Smalley.

Rattican closed on the pair rapidly late on and rounded out the podium, having made his move on Blake-Baldwin for third. The biggest mover of the race was the returning former race-winner Tom Roche (Rob Boston Racing), who had fallen to eighth but made up three spots in one lap to clinch his finishing positon of fifth.

Reece Somerfield (Breakell Racing) completed the top six ahead of Carlito Miracco (Preptech UK) and Joe Marshall (Team HARD), while the top ten was rounded out by Andy Spencer (Century Motorsport) and Seb Melrose (Team HARD).

In Pro Am, Garnett finally broke his victory duck for 2021 with a lights-to-flag performance from pole position. He kept points leader and season-long class rival Colin White (CWS Motorsport) at bay even with the safety car interruption, White having run wide at the first corner in his attempt to gain ground on the opening lap.

Hibbert doubled up in race two of the weekend the following day, but only after a dramatic conclusion to the race. Hibbert held the advantage from the start, but was caught out by Smalley’s late-braking move into the final hairpin on the very last lap. Smalley would be penalised for the move afterwards though, having been deemed to have gained an unfair advantage, reversing the positions and giving Hibbert a second win.

Third place again went to Rattican with Blake-Baldwin fourth, while Miracco moved up to fifth place after he and Roche passed the fast-starting Somerfield in the second half of the race. Roche would later also be penalised six seconds for gaining an advantage, pushing him to eighth behind Miracco, Emson and Somerfield, with the top 10 rounded out by Marshall and Henry Dawes (Century Motorsport).

In the Pro Am class, White got his revenge as he took the lead early on to deny Garnett two consecutive wins, while third in class went to Garry Townsend (AK Motorsport).

The partial reverse grid for race three drew Miracco onto pole, and a fine start put him on course for what could have been a second victory of the season for the Preptech UK driver. Rattican also wanted his second however, and left it until just before the start of the penultimate lap to make a decisive lunge for the lead into the final hairpin.

Rattican edged clear to clinch victory ahead of Miracco, with Smalley adding a third podium of the weekend to his Croft collection ahead of Blake-Baldwin and Hibbert. Somerfield climbed to sixth place ahead of Roche and Marshall, while Blake Angliss (Century Motorsport) rounded out a difficult weekend with a strong drive to ninth ahead of team-mate Spencer.

Garnett made it two wins from three in Pro Am, while race two winner White unfortunately retired with a mechanical issue. Second in class therefore went the way of Luke Warr (Race Car Consultants), with Townsend rounding out the podium. On his first appearance of 2021, Peter Mangion (Elite Motorsport)

The 2021 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season continues in three weeks’ time at Donington Park in Leicestershire (9/10 October).

 

Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/eve...

Find out more about the championship's title sponsor, Millers Oils, at https://www.millersoils.co.uk/