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Kellett takes Pole, Stoney wins Race 1 at Knockhill

25th August 2018 • Stephen Kilbey

Saturday’s Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge track action at Knockhill saw the 30 drivers fight for pole and then a win in the first race of the weekend. And in the opening sprint race of the meeting, it was Shane Stoney who steered his #89 Quattro Motorsport Ginetta G40 to a surprise win.

The day began for the GT5 Challenge drivers with a frantic 20-minute Qualifying session, which was interrupted twice due to offs from a couple of drivers.

In the end it was championship leader James Kellett who emerged as the fastest driver on the circuit in the #13 Century Motorsport G40 GT5, setting a 56.234 to take the top spot by just over two tenths. Behind, Charlie Digby took second for HHC Motorsport, with a 56.458 and Declan Jones slotted in third after a 56.474.

The session saw multiple changes to the running order throughout the opening minutes, with Matt Rainbow, Katie Milner and Shane Stoney among others trading fast times, before Kellett took command of the top spot just before the 10-minute mark.

His original provisional pole time was a 56.855, which he improved on to secure the result shortly after. Eventually, Max Bird ended up fourth ahead of Connor O'Brien who rounded out the top five.

In Am meanwhile, James Townsend looked set to took class pole, before he had an off into the gravel bringing out the first of the two red-flags. But, his 57.937 wasn't good enough, as Adrian Campbell-Smith bettered his time just before the aforementioned off-track excursion with a 57.558 in the #16 W2R Motorsport G40 GT5 to snatch the place.

Then in the race, Kellett was unable to convert pole into a win, instead, Shane Stoney who scored an unexpected victory in the #89 Quattro G40. 

Kellett made a perfect start from pole position, while Declan Jones made a move on Charlie Digby to vault his #6 W2R Ginetta to second. Third place didn’t last long either for Digby, as the Hampshire native continued to fall down the order a few laps later to fifth, when Max Bird and Shane Stoney muscled past after running three-wide; he eventually finished 26th after losing further places at the end of the race.

With just seven laps run, the Safety Car made its first of two appearances, due to an incident involving Matt Konczos’ #53 Fox Motorsport G40. That nullified Kellett’s 1.2 second lead, which he built over Jones.

When the race went green again, Kellett held station at the restart, but eventually fell down to fourth, after Jones tried to take the lead from him, running side-by-side. The move allowed Stoney and Max Bird to seize an opportunity to pounce and take first and second. With the order changed, the Safety Car was then called upon again just on Lap 16, after a coming together between Will Dyrdal and Carlito Miracco which left both cars stranded.

With the clear up complete by the marshals there was time for just one short burst of racing, but no real chance for Jones nor Kellett to re-take their places up front. Kellett did however finish with the race’s fastest lap, a 56.391, a new lap record for the GT5 Challenge at Knockhill, beating the 57.519 set by Geri Nicosia last year.

Behind Kellett, it was Nicosia who finished fifth, a stunning result for the Surrey native, after he started the race down in 12th place and managed fight his way to the front despite the two Safety Car interventions.

Alex Toth-Jones crossed the line sixth, ahead of Scott McKenna and Katie Milner who ended up finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

In the Am class, it was a hard-fought race for the win, with Adrian Campbell-Smith taking the victory from second place on the grid.

Pole-sitter James Townsend fell to second and was forced to retire after an off into the Gravel at Leslie's after just 10 laps, leaving the other two spaces on the podium up for grabs. They were filled by Townsend’s Fox Motorsport teammate Nick Halstead (who scored his fifth straight class podium as a result) and Weslet Pearce.

Race 2 tomorrow is set to begin at 12:30 local time.