Fresh from a terrific hat-trick last time out at Snetterton, Harry Mangion (Elite Motorsport) continued his championship fightback in North Yorkshire. He started brightly with a fifth pole position of the season on Saturday, beating class points leader Chris White (Raceway Motorsport) to the top spot.
The war waged between the top two in the opening race of the weekend later that afternoon, White initially grabbing the upper hand with a better launch as the lights went out to steal the early march on Mangion who chased hard to recover the lead.
Despite a last-lap lunge under braking on the outside at Tower Bend, Mangion could not quite usurp his man as White celebrated a fifth win of the season by less than half a second. Third place went the way of Mike Doble (Xentek Motorsport) who tailed the leaders all the way until the chequered flag.
The second race was more dramatic, won by Paolo Santi (Raceway Motorsport) from a lowly sixth place on the grid initially. He took advantage of a first lap shuffle ahead of him for several competitors, with Doble unfortunately one of those to lose out as he retired from the race.
A safety car followed, with Santi now in a surprise lead which he would hold until the race was stopped after eight laps to confirm a third victory of the season in the Am class.
Mangion was a further five seconds adrift but at the time of the red flag was classified second ahead of Elite Motorsport team-mate Karim Sekkat, while Sean Peters (Breakell Motorsport) evaded the trouble ahead of him to climb up to 16th overall and fourth in class.
Mark Steel (Toro Verde GT) had qualified a strong fourth in class but lost out from there. On his first weekend with Alastair Rushforth Motorsport, Ginetta veteran Phil McGarty scored a best of seventh in race one, while Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) sadly failed to reach the finish in either race.
A hotly-contest qualifying session in G40 Pro went down to the wire. Top of the times for the second time in 2021 was Nick White (MRM), narrowly edging out Tom Holland (Raceway Motorsport) by 0.021s by the chequered flag. Championship leader Marc Warren (Raceway Motorsport) would start from fourth on the grid.
The White and Holland battle continued in the first race later in the day, and it was the latter who came out victorious in another tight scrap for honours. Holland headed a train of G40 cars and used a safety car interruption to his advantage as he held off the attentions of White for his fourth win of the year.
Warren recovered to third place for a podium to limit the damage done in the championship fight, disposing of Bren Maude (CTS Motorsport) who was hindered by a post-race penalty.
White returned the favour in the second race on Sunday though, despite pressure being put on him throughout by Holland in the continuous duel for supremacy. Maude rounded out the podium, while a rare spin for Warren at Sunny In corner cost him, although he continued to fourth place despite a rear-end brush with the tyre barriers.
Privateer Andrew Willis showed that his Snetterton performance was a sign of things to come by grabbing his second class pole position of the year, beating class championship leader Rupert Laslett (Raceway Motorsport) with a scorching lap that was over half a second quicker than his rival.
The battle continued in the opening race between the pair, Willis initially holding onto his grid advantage to fend off Laslett as the race settled in. The pair were never separated by anything other than a paper’s width for much of the race, Willis holding on after the safety car came in to beat Laslett by 0.377s – his third triumph in the class this year.
Laslett’s Raceway team-mate Brenden Haffner rounded out the podium ahead of privateer Steven Davies, with the top five being rounded out by SVG Motorsport team-mates Stephen Moore and James Turner.
Willis proved unstoppable in the class as he doubled his tally live on ITV4 with a controlled performance the following day, finishing over two seconds to the good over his nearest rival, Haffner.
Laslett lost ground in the lap one battles but still rounded out the class podium to maintain a slender points lead of 15 over a closing Willis, with Turner and Davies completing the finishers.
The Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge returns to the British GT Championship package next for the final meeting of the season at Donington Park GP (16/17 October).
Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/eve…
Find out more about the championship’s title sponsor, Protyre Motorsport, at: https://www.protyre.co.uk/