After getting their competitive juices flowing during the GRDC Sprint Event at Blyton Park the weekend prior, a field of 14 drivers came together in Norfolk to battle it out in the first two races of the campaign in their identical road-legal Ginetta G40’s.
It was Craig Cornick who secured the honour of the first pole position of the year in qualifying, though only by the narrowest of margins. His best effort of 2m 41.006s earnt him top spot by just four thousandths of a second from Italian student Ignazio Zanon.
Leading the field through an early safety car period, once the action resumed Cornick soon had his mirrors filled by the G40’s of Mark Sansom and Chris Threadgill. Trading purple sectors between themselves, they enjoyed a thrilling battle to decide the podium positions.
Cornick’s spirited defence lasted until the final lap, when Sansom nipped past to take the opening win of the season. The erstwhile leader came home in second, with former factory motorcycle racer Threadgill in third on his debut in four-wheel competition.
Chris White and Michael Kidson both made impressive early progress to rise up to fourth and fifth respectively and went on to hold those positions throughout, while another man on the move was Harry Ormerod who climbed from 11th on the grid to sixth position.
Harry Mangion narrowly missed out on a top six berth, while Mark Lee had Neil Wallace hot on his heels as he took the chequered flag in eighth. Paulo Scripo rounded out the top ten ahead of Mark Allin, Toby Trice and Nigel Fox.
That finishing order set the grid for the second race of the day, meaning Sansom lined up on pole position. A thrilling start saw the lead pack run three abreast into the opening corner, with the poleman emerging in front from the fast-starting White.
Sansom managed to forge an early advantage out front and posted the fastest lap of the race as he went on to lead from lights-to-flag for the victory. White ran second for a good portion of the race meanwhile, however he eventually slipped back to fifth in the closing stages.
Cornick had fallen to fifth at one stage in the race, but he battled back impressively to take second place, while Threadgill ensured it was a repeat of the race one podium after grabbing third on the final lap, with Kidson just over a tenth of a second behind in fourth.
Mangion got his top six finish this time around as he crossed the line behind White, with Ormerod taking seventh ahead of Lee. Trice made some good forwards progress on his way to ninth, while Scripo was once again the driver to complete the top ten.
After suffering early drama in the opening race that led to an unfortunate retirement, Zanon bounced back to finish in 11th position. Wallace came home in 12th around his favourite circuit on the calendar, while Allin and Fox completed the order.
With a first race meeting of the season under their belts, the Ginetta Racing Drivers Club class of 2019 will now be aiming to use all of the experience they’ve gained and put in strong performances during the next rounds of the series at Silverstone on 08/09 June.