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Taylor And Malin Battle To Crucial Knockhill GT5 Challenge Wins

31st August 2020 • Simon Paice

James Taylor has moved into the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge championship lead after sharing the race wins with Josh Malin at Knockhill (29/30 August).

The second of back-to-back weekends supporting the British Touring Car Championship took the GT5 Challenge paddock north of the border to Scotland and the popular Knockhill circuit; a favourite for many drivers due to its fast, undulating nature.

In a close fought qualifying session on Saturday morning, Jonny Wilkinson (Xentek Motorsport) edged out Taylor (Elite Motorsport) by seven hundredths of a second to record his first pole position in the championship. On second best times, Taylor secured the race two pole.

A slow launch in the opening race that afternoon for poleman Wilkinson meant it was Taylor who led the field as they launched down Duffus Dip for the first time. Wilkinson settled in second ahead of Gordie Mutch (Fox Motorsport) and Malin (Richardson Racing).

Mutch was determined to put on a show at his home circuit and mounted an early challenge for second, however stuck on the outside he was shuffled back to fifth behind Malin and John Bennett (Elite Motorsport). The latter unfortunately span into retirement soon after.

Following a short safety car period, the action resumed with Taylor having to put on a defensive masterclass to hold a racy pack of Ginetta G40’s behind. Wilkinson continued to lead the charge, with an attempt to gain second place for Malin eventually lost him a spot to Mutch.

Out front, former Ginetta Junior scholar Taylor put his car in the right position at every corner on his way to a brilliant second win of the season so far. Wilkinson posted the fastest lap of the race on the final tour as he took second, with Mutch picking up his coveted home podium in third.

Malin settled for fourth, while Conner Garlick (Xentek Motorsport) emerged in fifth after an action-packed race. Garlick fought it out with Race Car Consultants duo Magnus Kriklywi and David Ellesley throughout, eventually taking the spot by two hundredths of a second in a photo-finish.

Kriklywi rounded out the top six ahead of Ellesley and Jesse Chamberlain (Xentek Motorsport), while Rory McKean (SVG Motorsport) bounced back from an issue in qualifying that left him at the back of the grid to finish ninth ahead of Ashley Marshall (Fox Motorsport) and Charlie Budd (Privateer).

Daniel Budd (Elite Motorsport) was involved in a thrilling finish as he ran three abreast with the leading Am class contenders as they took the chequered flag. By a tenth of a second, Ian Duggan (Fox Motorsport) took the class win ahead of Richard Tetlow (Privateer).

Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) had started from a first ever class pole position, however he lost ground after a moment on lap one. Phil McGarty (Privateer) therefore completed the podium ahead of Sidhu and Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport).

The second race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon and was televised live on ITV2. Taylor led away from pole position ahead of Mutch and Wilkinson, while Malin made early progress to pass Bennett prior to the emergence of the safety car.

Shortly after the racing resumed, Malin made further progress with a brilliant double move on Mutch and Wilkinson. Now in second place, he then capitalised on a mistake from Taylor to grab the race lead on lap seven. While Taylor maintained second, Bennett fought up to third.

After another safety car period late on, Taylor briefly dived down the inside at the final hairpin for the lead, but a cutback for Malin got him back ahead. He remained in front through the closing laps to take a fourth win of the season so far.

Second was enough for Taylor to move into the championship lead though, with Mutch moving up in the closing laps to take his second podium of the weekend. Bennett got ahead of Wilkinson on the final lap for fourth, with Kriklyri, Garlick and Marshall close behind.

Daniel Budd picked up his best result of the season so far in ninth, while McKean rose from the back of the grid to a top ten finish. In the Am class meanwhile, Duggan came through to a fifth win of the campaign ahead of McGarty and Sekkat.

The 2020 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge continues in three weeks’ time as it returns to the British GT Championship support package at Donington Park (19/20 September).