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Preview: Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Round Seven, Donington Park

9th September 2019 • Simon Paice

With four drivers in contention for the overall title and a three way battle for the Am Class honours, it’s shaping up to be an exciting season finale for the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge this weekend.

The battle for the overall crown sees Scott McKenna (Xentek Motorsport) head to Donington Park as the driver to beat, with the chasing pack consisting of Adam Smalley (Elite Motorsport), Geri Nicosia (Quattro Motorsport) and Gordie Mutch (Fox Motorsport).

McKenna holds a 57 point advantage at the top of the standings after taking at least one race win in each of the last four weekends. Glorious double victories at Snetterton and Zandvoort have been the highlights, while he also won on the championship’s first visit to Donington Park back in June.

Smalley is his chief contender for the crown as the reigning Junior champion looks to make it two Ginetta titles in two seasons. Like McKenna, he’s impressively recorded 10 podiums in the 15 races to date and has notched up four race victories of his own including a double at Oulton Park.

Nicosia and Mutch are in mathematical contention for the title, but it’s a long shot with both sitting over 100 points back. Instead, they’re set for a mammoth contest with Josh Malin (Richardson Racing) for third in the standings, with only seven points splitting the trio.

Nicosia has put together an impressive season with nine podium finishes so far, while Mutch is in good form with six top three results in the last seven races. Both he and Malin took a race win during the visit to Donington earlier in the season; Malin’s first victory in a great maiden campaign.

The battle for the Am Class crown meanwhile comes down to a battle between Dale Albutt (Quattro Motorsport), Wesley Pearce (Elite Motorsport) and James Townsend (Fox Motorsport). Albutt sits nearly 60 points in the clear, with only three points splitting Pearce and Townsend behind.

Albutt has the advantage courtesy of 11 podiums and a consistent run of finishing every race inside the class top five. Pearce has equalled his podium tally while Townsend is the in-form driver with four class wins in the last five races. All three will be giving it everything to emerge as champion.

Away from the title battles, the ultra-competitive GT5 Challenge grid is filled with exciting talents looking to end their 2019 seasons on a high. That includes podium finishers Connor Grady (TCR) and Danny Harrison (Mutation Motorsport), both of whom are targeting maiden race wins.

Katie Milner (Team Merlin) and Gus Bowers (Xentek Motorsport) have been consistent top ten finishers from a fiercely contested midfield pack, with Will Dyrdal (Privateer), Abbi Pulling (Race Car Consultants) and Josh Steed (Mutation Motorsport) having also impressed through the year.

Ryan Firth (Reflex Racing) is full of confidence after a superb sixth place double at Snetterton, while Matt Maxted (Graves Motorsport) and privateer entrants Lewis Ryder and Charlie Budd have also featured in the top ten this season.

Charlie’s brother Daniel and Jesse Chamberlain (Xentek Motorsport) will aim to end the campaign with top ten breakthrough’s, while looking to beat the title contenders and close the season with Am Class silverware will be Phil McGarty (GBR) and Bal Sidhu (Declan Jones Racing).

Three wildcards to watch this weekend will be Magnus Kriklywi (Race Car Consultants), who’s determined to bounce back from a tough debut at Snetterton, G40 Cup title contender Alistair Barclay (SVG Motorsport) who makes a first outing of the year, and a debutant in the shape of GRDC race-winner Chris Threadgill (Xentek Motorsport).

Follow the action across the weekend on social media, @GinettaCars.