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Steed Extends Ginetta GT5 Challenge Points Lead With Snetterton Wins

9th August 2021 • Simon Paice

Josh Steed has strengthened his championship lead in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge with two wins and a second place finish at Snetterton (07/08 August).

Steed’s title rival John Bennett (Elite Motorsport) started the weekend by setting the pace in qualifying for the second consecutive weekend. Just two tenths of a second adrift in wet conditions was Will Rochford (TCR), with second being his best qualifying result in the series so far.

Fellow Ginetta Junior graduate Will Aspin (Elite Motorsport) was next up, while his team-mate Harley Haughton was another to post a seasons’ best qualifying finish in fourth. Steed (Xentek Motorsport) settled for fifth meanwhile.

All three races followed on Sunday, with Bennett converting pole position into a lights to flag win in the opener. It was close at the end though as he caught a back-marker at the final corner, leading to him just edging out Steed by just 0.033s in a photo-finish.

Steed had fought though from fifth to second within the first few laps, while on a charge through the race was Magnus Kriklywi (Race Car Consultants). From 11th on the grid, he came through to a long-awaited maiden podium finish in third.

Haughton posted the fastest lap of the race as he overcame David Ellesley (Race Car Consultants) just after mid-distance for fourth place. Ellesley’s team-mate Nat Hodgkiss produced one of the drives of the race meanwhile as he rose from 17th on the grid to the top six.

Hot on his heels were Mikey Doble (Xentek Motorsport) and Connor Grady (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport), less than three tenths of a second splitting the trio at the finish, while Aspin recovered from an early incident to finish ninth.

Will Orton (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) completed the top ten on the road, however a five second track limits penalty dropped him behind a recovering Rochford, who had a tough opening few laps from his front row start. Rory McKean (SVG Motorsport) was 12th, his only finish of a day that sadly later featured two DNFs.

The second race of the day featured an epic battle at the front of the field, which ultimately culminated in four different drivers leading the race within the last three laps. Rochford started from pole position and went on to lead throughout the first half of the race from Bennett.

It all changed over the following few laps as Steed and Bennett both moved to the front at points, before Rochford got back ahead. After slipping back to fifth at one stage, Steed produced a superb switchback move through Riches on the penultimate lap to get the lead back from Rochford.

Aspin followed him through at Wilson and then picked off Steed two corners later. He went on to maintain the advantage through a busy final lap to win on the road, however he was later deemed to have gained an unfair advantage with his late move.

Steed was therefore classified as the race winner, with Aspin demoted one position to second. Behind, Bennett emerged from some side-by-side action with Rochford on the final lap with third, the latter running off circuit and falling back to eighth at the flag.

Haughton had joined the leading battle in the second half of the race and was running fourth before a trip across the grass at Hamilton dropped him back. Aidan Hills (Hills Motorsport) therefore secured a brilliant fourth in only his second outing in the series, with Hodgkiss producing another epic drive from 17th to fifth.

Doble rounded out the top six ahead of Haughton and Rochford after their excursions. Orton was ninth on the road, however track limits time penalties dropped him to 14th, with Grady taking the spot. Haytham Qarajouli (TCR) bounced back from a race one DNF and an early spin to finish tenth.

A great 11th on his debut weekend was Danish racer Silas Rytter (Breakell Racing) ahead of Owen Hizzey (SVG Motorsport), who had suffered some issues in race one after a good top ten qualifying result. Ignazio Zanon (Raceway Motorsport) finished 13th, having also had a tough opening race.

Heavy rain was falling for the final race of a busy day in Norfolk, with Steed on pole as the race two result set the grid. He went on to lead throughout for a lights-to-flag victory, his eighth of the season, though it was far from easy as Bennett kept him honest throughout.

A spin for Bennett on the final lap ultimately dropped him to eighth, with Doble capitalising to score his maiden Ginetta podium in second. He’d passed Aspin for third just after the halfway mark, with the latter picking up his 11th trophy of the year in third.

Hodgkiss capped off a hugely impressive weekend in fourth, while it was his team-mate Kriklywi’s turn to produce the heroic drive through the field in this one. From 17th on the grid after a race two retirement, he stormed up the order to fifth.

Hizzey fought his way from 12th to sixth for his best result in the championship to date, while Ellesley was seventh. Behind Bennett, Orton and Haughton rounded out the top ten, the latter having been sixth on lap one before an issue.

 

The Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge returns to the British Touring Car Championship package next for the penultimate meeting of the season at Croft (18/19 September).

Full session results from the Snetterton weekend are available at tsl-timing.com/event/213105

The live streams of all three races can be watched back at youtube.com/ginettatv

Find out more about the championship's title sponsor, Protyre Motorsport, at https://www.protyre.co.uk/