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Jenkins And White Crowned Provisional Ginetta GT5 Challenge Champions

17th October 2022 • Simon Paice

Will Jenkins and Chris White secured title glory across a dramatic final weekend of the 2022 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season at Donington Park (15/16 October).

A double win on Sunday for Jenkins (Elite Motorsport) has provisionally earned him the Pro class title, pending a National Court appeal, while White (Raceway Motorsport) wrapped up the Am class honours with a podium finish in the second race of the weekend.

In the headline Pro class, no less than six drivers headed into the weekend still in mathematical contention for the title. Five of them qualified in the top five positions on Saturday morning, with Mikey Doble (Xentek Motorsport) leading the way for his first double pole of the season.

Harley Haughton (Elite Motorsport), the championship leader heading into the event, was second fastest ahead of Will Orton (Race Car Consultants), Jenkins and Ruben Hage (TCR), while Ginetta Junior graduate Ella Lloyd (Xentek Motorsport) was an impressive sixth fastest on her debut outing.

In the Am class, three drivers maintained title aspirations ahead of the racing. One of those, Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport), set the pace in qualifying ahead of Xentek Motorsport pair Bal Sidhu and Gerson Zarpelao, with points leader White ending up fourth fastest.

Doble went on to lead the field away from pole position at the start of race one that afternoon, as an attempted challenge for the lead by Haughton resulted in him dropping back to fifth behind Jenkins, the fast-starting Hage and Orton.

Following a short early safety car period, the action resumed with Doble under immediate pressure from Jenkins. The chasing pack closed in and the top four were separated by less than a second for a number of laps, as Hage and Orton traded third back and forth.

As Doble edged away to a crucial victory, a dramatic last lap saw contact between Jenkins and Hage send them both off circuit. Jenkins recovered to third across the line behind Orton, with Hage settling in fifth behind the other title contender on the grid, Connor Grady (Xentek Motorsport).

Post-race however Jenkins was deemed at fault for their incident and put below Hage in a revised result, moving Grady onto the podium and crucially elevating Doble to the championship lead heading into Sunday. This was aided by a retirement for Haughton, who suffered a mechanical failure after running across a gravel trap.

Will Aspin (Elite Motorsport), a three-time race-winner at Donington Park in 2021, made a welcome return to the championship for the finale weekend and started with a top six finish ahead of Kian Donaldson (Race Car Consultants) and Dave Sutton (Team Avago).

In his third outing of the season, Oliver Cottam (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) netted his first top ten finish ahead of Lloyd, who impressively fought back from 18th after a first lap spin. Ignazio Zanon (Raceway Motorsport) and Liona Theobald (Elite Motorsport), another Junior graduate making her debut, were next up.

They were split in the final result by the Am class winner Zarpelao. Sidhu had led the way for the majority of the race, however the Brazilian worked his way past for a long-awaited maiden win. Retirements for Sidhu, White and Sekkat meant it was Phil McGarty (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) and Paolo Santi (Raceway Motorsport) who eventually completed the podium.

There were more twists and turns in the Pro class title battle during race two on Sunday morning. Jenkins got the lead from Doble heading down the Craner Curves prior to an early safety car period, with Haughton settling into third position.

At the restart, Haughton made a move on Doble into the Melbourne hairpin and was followed by his team-mate Aspin. Doble briefly lost out to Grady on the next lap too, but fought back and moved himself onto the tail of the top three.

Jenkins and Haughton broke away at the front and duelled it out for the win, with Jenkins keeping him at bay for the victory. Aspin defended hard for third meanwhile as he completed an Elite Motorsport one-two-three, while Grady had fought past Doble for fourth on the penultimate lap.

Grady received a five second time penalty for track limits infringements though, elevating Doble back to fourth and ensuring the top three drivers were split by eight points heading into the final race of the season, with Doble six clear of Haughton at the top.

Hage and Sutton were sixth and seventh on the road, however they both joined Grady in getting track limits penalties, promoting Lloyd to fifth on her debut weekend. Behind Grady, Hage and Sutton, Orton produced a brilliant fightback to ninth after a trip through the gravel on lap one left him 19th.

Theobald picked up her best result of the weekend in tenth ahead of the Am winner Sekkat. Sidhu had led the class early on before a trip to the pitlane, promoting Sekkat to the victory ahead of McGarty, while third place for White secured him the class title with a race to spare.

The final race of the weekend served up plenty more action and drama as the Pro championship got decided. Jenkins led the field through the opening lap, while the driver on the move behind was Doble as he got ahead of Aspin off the line and then Haughton into Coppice corner.

Following a short safety car period, it immediately became a fierce battle at the front of the field. Doble was the driver in the unenviable position of trying to attack and defend at the same time, briefly losing third to Haughton at Goddards before fighting back into the Old Hairpin.

The battling behind allowed Jenkins to break away at the front of the field and he went on to secure a crucial sixth win of the season. In the four-way scrap behind, it was Haughton who lost out as he slipped behind Orton and Hage in the closing laps.

Doble finished second and was provisional champion on the road, however post-race the event stewards deemed his first lap move on Haughton to have taken place under yellow flags and handed him a three second time penalty to put him below Haughton in the result.

The subsequent change in championship points meant it was Jenkins who ended up as the provisional Pro champion, though the race result and final championship standings will remain provisional until Doble’s appeal against his penalty has been heard by the National Court.

Said penalty meant that Orton and Hage ended up completing the overall podium, while a brilliant drive from Cottam netted him a breakthrough top six finish from 11th on the grid. Lloyd finished her great debut event in seventh ahead of Zanon and Aspin, the latter recovering well after being pushed off circuit on lap one.

In the Am class, White was initially on course to sign off his title-winning season with a victory until he suffered a mechanical failure. Sekkat therefore doubled his win tally for the day ahead of Sidhu, with McGarty completed a podium hat-trick for the weekend in third.

In the Pro ranks, Sam Harvey (Xentek Motorsport) finished a weekend high of 11th in class in the last race, while championship debutants Luke Garlick (Xentek Motorsport) and Archie Dunbar-Rees (Breakell Racing) enjoyed best results of 13th and 15th in class respectively.

Will Jenkins, 2022 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge ‘Pro’ Champion: “I can’t believe it! This weekend has been such a rollercoaster of emotions, but I knew I had to go out there and win both races on Sunday and we managed to do it. It’s been a brilliant season and I have to say a huge thank you to Elite Motorsport for all their great work.”

Chris White, 2022 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge ‘Am’ Champion: “We did all we needed to do this weekend. It’s great to have sewn it up and come away with the title. It’s been a fantastic season and a huge thank you to the Raceway Motorsport team.”

Full race results from the weekend can be found at www.tsl-timing.com/event/224105