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Orton And Jenkins Win In Exciting Ginetta GT5 Challenge Weekend

9th May 2022 • Simon Paice

Will Orton and Will Jenkins shared the race wins on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit as Connor Grady became the new championship leader in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge this past weekend (07/08 May).

For the second meeting in a row, it was Harley Haughton who topped the timesheets and secured a double pole position in qualifying on Saturday. He was a quarter of a second quicker than Jenkins, who made it an Elite Motorsport front-row lockout for both races.

Grady (Xentek Motorsport) grabbed third on the grid for race one with his final lap of the session, with Race Car Consultants’ early season race-winners Nat Hodgkiss and Orton both finishing in the top six, split by Mikey Doble (Xentek Motorsport).

In the Am class, Karim Sekkat made it a double-double pole for Elite as he superbly finished over half a second quicker than his closest rivals. They were early class points leader Chris White and his Raceway Motorsport team-mate Paolo Santi.

The opening race of the weekend followed that afternoon, with Haughton leading away from pole position. As Jenkins dropped back to fifth, Hodgkiss rose from fourth to second on the first lap, before taking the lead from Haughton at Club corner the next time round.

As positions changed behind him, Hodgkiss maintained his lead until lap four when a moment with Jenkins led to him retiring from the race. Haughton emerged back in front from Orton and Doble, with a three second lead just shy of the halfway mark.

Orton was on a charge though, posting back to back fastest laps as he hunted down the leader. Within four laps he was on Haughton’s tail and got ahead on the penultimate lap to ultimately secure a second race win of the season, to add to his Donington Park success.

Doble pressured the leader on the final lap as he secured a seasons’ best second place finish, while Jenkins completed the podium after fighting back well from eighth at one stage. Haughton meanwhile had to settle for fourth at the flag.

Grady as fifth on the road, however a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him back to seventh. TCR duo Ruben Hage and Sam Smith therefore rounded out the top six, the latter having run as high as fourth at one stage.

Aidan Hills (Aidan Hills Motorsport), Harry Mangion (Elite Motorsport) and Kian Donaldson (Race Car Consultants) picked up top ten finishes, with the competitive Pro entry being rounded out by Dave Sutton (Team Avago), Ignazio Zanon (Raceway Motorsport) and Sam Harvey (Xentek Motorsport).

Sekkat enjoyed a dominant victory in the Am class meanwhile, leading from start to finish for his first victory of the season. White ran second through the opening lap, but an issue dropped him to sixth on lap two, promoting Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) to the position which he held to the finish.

White fought back well to third at the chequered flag, having passed Gerson Zarpelao (Xentek Motorsport) on lap six of eleven. Phil McGarty (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) was fifth ahead of Santi, who spun out of third early on, and Neil Finnighan (Xentek Motorsport).

Race two began with Jenkins getting the jump on pole-sitter Haughton heading into Copse for the first time. That proved to be the decisive moment of the race, as Jenkins benefitted from battling behind to pull clear of the pack and become the first driver to reach three race wins this season.

It was a titanic scrap for second place, with six cars in contention at one stage. Hodgkiss was in the prime seat for the first half of the race before Haughton took over, however a moment between them late on dropped them both out of podium contention.

Orton took full advantage to back up his race one win with a second place finish, though he had to work hard for it as Grady challenged him right to the chequered flag. Hage rose from eighth on lap one to fourth ahead of a recovering Haughton and Hodgkiss.

Doble was on the fringes of the podium battle throughout as he finished up seventh ahead of Mangion and Donaldson, with Hills surviving a high speed trip across the gravel to complete the top ten from Sutton, Smith and Harvey – Smith having featured in the top six early on.

White led the Am class over the opening five laps, however a moment at Luffield dropped him down the field, before his race unfortunately ended in a last lap retirement. Sekkat moved to the front in his absence and took a second win, moving him into the class points lead in the process.

Sidhu and McGarty were fourth and fifth in the Am class early on, but seized the opportunities that presented themselves as others hit trouble to come away with podiums. Santi was less than a second adrift of the podium, while Finnighan completed the class finishers.

Full race results can be found at https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/221805

Race two can be watched back at https://www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv

The 2022 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season continues in three weeks’ time (28/29 May) alongside the British Touring Car Championship at the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton.