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Warren Takes Dominant Double In Ginetta GT Academy Opener

9th May 2022 • Simon Paice

Marc Warren took a brilliant double victory on his debut weekend as the second season of the Ginetta GT Academy got underway on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit (07/08 May).

From a massive grid of 30 identical Ginetta G56 GTA’s, it was Leo Karavasili (Breakell Racing) who kicked off his first ever weekend of car racing with a brilliant double pole position in qualifying. Warren was second quickest ahead of his Raceway Motorsport team-mate Thomas Holland.

The competitiveness of the grid was shown by seven different teams finishing in the top eight on the timesheets, as Mackenzie Walker (Assetto Motorsport) led Danny Dwyer (Xentek Motorsport), Edward Acres (Century Motorsport), Nick White (MRM Racing) and Lee Frost (SVG Motorsport).

The opening race of the weekend began with Warren getting the best launch off the line to lead the field through Copse corner for the first corner. Karavasili slotted into second and that began an exciting duel between the two, as they broke well clear of the pack behind.

After running nose-to-tail for a long spell of the race, their battle unfortunately didn’t have a grand conclusion as a mechanical issue forced Karavasili into an early retirement. Warren therefore picked up the victory by almost 12 seconds, meaning he’s now won races in three different Ginetta series.

Lap one problems for Holland and Walker opened the door for Acres to move up to third in the early stages ahead of White and Frost. While he eventually lost out to White at Copse corner on the penultimate lap, Karavasili’s demise meant both drivers came away with podium finishes.

From back in ninth at the end of lap one, Holland staged a brilliant fightback to fourth ahead of Frost and Michael Johnston. The latter’s Century Motorsport team-mate Tom Hartley Jnr produced one of the drives of the race as he climbed from 16th on the grid to seventh at the finish.

Making similarly great progress to eighth was Richard Sykes (W2R) in his first Ginetta race for nine years, while Julian Wantling (Assetto Motorsport) and Alistair Barclay (SVG Motorsport) rounded out the overall top ten. Ravi Ramyead was next on the road as he took a comfortable rookie class win.

After dropping out of the top ten battle to 16th at one stage, Martin Wills (Assetto Motorsport) regained some ground to 12th ahead of Mark Steel (Toro Verde GT), who gained nine places from his starting position. Assetto’s Robin Grimwood and Mike West were next up.

Datum Motorsport duo Maurizio Sciglio and Marco Anastasi both scored points finishes on their championship debuts, with the British-Italian’s being separated in the final result by SF Racing pair Gary Wager and Shawn Fleming.

Steve Williams (MRM Racing) finished 22nd in his first Ginetta race in 14 years ahead of sophomore driver Lee Goldsmith (Century Motorsport), while Joel Wren (SVG Motorsport) impressed in 24th having only driven the car for the first time on Friday.

Behind Ramyead, it was an action-packed race for the rookie contingent. Jon Kearney and Thomas Shelley both had spells in second place before encountering issues, which meant Dan Rathbone eventually took the spot. Shelley recovered to the podium, with Marc Elman in fourth.

Race two on Sunday afternoon began with Karavasili suffering a second disappointment, as a mechanical failure on the green flag lap meant he couldn’t take up pole position. He did later get out on track and duly posted the fastest lap of the race.

Benefitting most from Karavasili’s absence was Warren, who led the field away from the front row of the grid and didn’t look back. Two seconds clear at the end of lap one alone, he stretched his legs and eventually took his second win by over seven seconds.

Behind, Dwyer and Walker slotted into second and third on the opening lap, before swapping places next time round. As Walker went on to run second to the finish for his first podium of the season, Dwyer eventually slipped out of podium contention as White rose from tenth to third.

An exciting battle in the closing stages saw White having to defend his place from Holland, which he successfully achieved to complete a podium double. Johnston put in a great drive to finish fifth, while Ramyead completed a supreme rookie class double victory in sixth overall.

Wills and Barclay ran nose-to-tail across the line as he contested seventh place, though track limits penalties for the latter dropped him to tenth in the amended result behind Sykes and Dwyer. Shelley just missed out on the top ten as he picked up another rookie podium finish.

Bouncing back from a first race DNF, Sebastien Dubois (Motus One) scored a strong 12th place finish ahead of West and Sciglio. Wren improved to 15th, with Anastasi, Fleming, Hartley Jnr, Acres and Wantling completing the points finishers.

Alongside his GTA class wins, Warren was also a double victor in the Chairmans Cup, a class for drivers aged 45 and over. Four other drivers picked up silverware; Sykes and Wantling in race one, Ramyead and Wills in race two.

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 second round of the 2022 Ginetta GT Academy season is in three weeks’ time (28/29 May) as it once again competes alongside the British GT Championship on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit.