Gordie Mutch (Fox Motorsport) topped the timesheets in qualifying during the 2019 season finale at Donington Park and 12 months on he produced a repeat performance from fellow title contenders Jonny Wilkinson (Xentek Motorsport) and Josh Malin (Richardson Racing).
Mutch led the field through the opening lap of race one on Saturday afternoon, with Malin making early progress to second. The safety car came out immediately though, with Daniel Budd (Elite Motorsport), Richard Tetlow (Privateer) and Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport) hitting trouble.
Once their cars were recovered, it ended up being a three lap shootout to the chequered flag. On the restart lap, Malin dived down the inside at McLeans to secure the lead, with Wilkinson following to demote Mutch back to third place.
Malin went on to lead the remaining laps to continue his record of winning on each race weekend of the season so far, while Mutch fought back past Wilkinson for second place. James Taylor (Elite Motorsport), the points leader heading into the meeting, came home fourth.
Magnus Kriklywi (Race Car Consultants) had moved up to fourth prior to the safety car but had to settle for fifth at the finish ahead of Ashley Marshall (Fox Motorsport), Rory McKean (SVG Motorsport), Charlie Budd (Privateer) and John Bennett (Elite Motorsport).
In the Am class, Ian Duggan had made it a double pole position for the Fox Motorsport team in qualifying, his first in the series. The championship leader lost the lead early on though, with a stunning opening lap from Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) seeing him gain nine places.
Sidhu went on to record his maiden class victory ahead of Duggan. Three Pro class contenders were next up, Blake Angliss (Richardson Racing) and Xentek Motorsport duo Jesse Chamberlain and Conner Garlick, while Phil McGarty (Privateer) completed the Am podium.
Sunday’s opening race was ultimately decided off the start line, as a slow getaway for poleman Wilkinson handed the lead to Mutch. The Scotsman went on to lead throughout for his first win of the 2020 season, having won three times last year including twice at Donington Park.
Wilkinson initially slipped back to fourth place, but he fought back to second by the end of the opening lap and comfortably ran there throughout. Behind, the quick-starting McKean rose from sixth on the grid to third on the opening lap.
Taylor and Malin worked their way past on lap two however, with those three going on to run nose-to-tail in a close battle to the finish. A strong run from Bennett saw him battle through from 11th on the grid to a top six finish ahead of Marshall and Daniel Budd.
The Am class top two Duggan and Tetlow ran closely in the early stages, before the former broke clear for his sixth win of the campaign. Eventually they were split by Pro runners Chamberlain and Angliss by the end, the latter making his debut in the championship.
Mutch completed a perfect Sunday in Leicestershire with a lights to flag victory in the final race of the weekend. A fast-start from Malin saw him move from fourth to second off the line and look to pressure the leader, but Mutch edged clear over the duration of the race to take the win.
Malin was a comfortable second throughout for his sixth podium of the campaign. Behind, Taylor ran third in the opening laps before he was spun around at McLeans, with Wilkinson coming through to complete the podium and move back into the championship lead.
Bennett picked up his best finish of the weekend in fourth ahead of the recovering Taylor, while Kriklywi bounced back from a race two retirement to produce one of the drives of the weekend. From 17th on the grid, he scythed his way through the order to sixth.
Daniel Budd was on course for a seasons’ best fifth place before a last lap spin at McLeans dropped him to 12th. Marshall, Charlie Budd and Chamberlain were next up, while Angliss capped off his maiden weekend with a breakthrough top ten result.
The Am class produced a third different winner from three races meanwhile. Duggan’s early lead ended when he took a trip through the Old Hall gravel, while Tetlow then also hit trouble, so McGarty came through for a brilliant first win of his car racing career.
Full race results for the weekend can be seen here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/fil…
There’s no rest for the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge paddock as they return to the British Touring Car Championship package this weekend (26/27 September) at Silverstone.