While Malin’s sixth and seventh race wins of the 2020 season have moved him to the top of the overall standings ahead of the season finale, a seventh success for Ian Duggan (Fox Motorsport) has provisionally secured him the Am class title with a weekend to spare.
On a sunny but chilly Saturday morning, Jonny Wilkinson (Xentek Motorsport) kicked off proceedings in superb fashion in qualifying by posting three lap times faster than anyone else, leading James Taylor (Elite Motorsport), Malin and John Bennett (Elite Motorsport).
While that should have secured Wilkinson a double pole position, a three place grid penalty carried over from the previous rounds at Donington Park meant he dropped to the second row of the grid for race one, with Taylor inheriting pole position.
Taylor’s advantage was short-lived however as a great opening lap from Malin saw him take the lead. The second year contender soaked up some early pressure before breaking clear, going on to record a brilliant victory by nearly five seconds.
As Malin continued his record of winning a race on each of the meetings so far this season, Taylor produced an impressive defensive drive to fend off a group of cars to the finish. Wilkinson had led the chasing pack for a long spell, however a spin at Brooklands late on cost him ground.
That left a duelling Bennett and Magnus Kriklywi (Race Car Consultants) to decide third place, with the former coming through to record his first podium finish in car-racing. Kriklywi took his best result in the championship to date in fourth, with Wilkinson settling for fifth.
One of the most exciting battles of the race came between Gordie Mutch (Fox Motorsport) and Rory McKean (SVG Motorsport). From the second lap onwards they swapped places numerous times, with their duel ending in a stunning photo-finish as McKean took sixth by 0.003s.
An impressive performance from Josh Steed (Mutation Motorsport) saw him rise five places from his grid position to eighth in his first race of the season, while Blake Angliss (Richardson Racing) picked up his first top ten finish in his second outing in the series.
Angliss got the spot after emerging from a great scrap in the midfield that also featured Jesse Chamberlain (Xentek Motorsport), Ashley Marshall (Fox Motorsport), Charlie Budd (Privateer) and Conner Garlick (Xentek Motorsport) and Daniel Budd (Elite Motorsport).
In the Am class, Karim Sekkat (Elite Motorsport) was on course to top qualifying for the first time this season until the closing moments of the session. Richard Tetlow (Privateer) edged him out with his final flying lap, while champion-elect Duggan was only fifth quickest.
In similar circumstances to the front of the field, poleman Tetlow had to serve a three place grid penalty for race one though. Sekkat took full advantage of the inherited pole position, leading from lights-to-flag to record his first win of the season.
Duggan put in a good drive to fight through to second place, while Bal Sidhu (Xentek Motorsport) ran in the podium positions for the first half of the race before losing ground. Phil McGarty (Privateer) therefore secured the final podium spot ahead of Tetlow and Sidhu.
The second race of the weekend was televised live on ITV2 and Wilkinson got the early spotlight as he led away from pole position. There was no change in the top four across the opening couple of laps, before Malin dived down the inside of Taylor for second at Brooklands on lap three.
The lead quartet was soon joined by Mutch, who had fought his way from eighth on the grid to fifth in the early laps. The Scotsman picked off Bennett and Taylor in consecutive laps to move into third, though Taylor quickly fought his way back past.
The decisive move for the race lead came on lap seven, as Malin got a good run out of Copse and slid down the inside at Becketts. His work was far from done though, as Wilkinson led a pack of four cars looming in his rear view mirrors and he made a challenge back at Copse.
That opened the door for Taylor to grab second place though and an attempt to regain the place by Wilkinson soon after resulted in a spin down to fifth. Malin had benefitted from their duel to edge away and take the win by over two seconds at the finish.
Taylor fended off a late challenge from Mutch to record his ninth podium of the season, with the latter losing a spot on the final lap as Bennett completed a third place double for the weekend. Wilkinson was fifth, while Angliss scored a breakthrough top six finish behind.
Steed capped off his return weekend in style by climbing from 16th on the grid to seventh place, while Kriklywi came through from 18th at the end of lap three to eighth. Garlick and Marshall completed the top ten ahead of the final Pro finisher, McKean.
In the Am class, Duggan headed into the race knowing that simply a race finish would be enough to provisionally crown him champion. After moving up to third early on ahead of Sidhu, events then fell in his favour as the race progressed.
A sideways moment for Sekkat whilst challenging for the class lead dropped him back, before Tetlow unfortunately retired whilst out front. Duggan therefore came through to a seventh win of the season, with McGarty taking his ninth consecutive podium finish in second ahead of Sekkat.
Full results from the weekend can be viewed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2020/203903gin.pdf
The 2020 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season comes to a close in six weeks’ time, returning to Silverstone to compete on the full Grand Prix circuit alongside the British GT Championship (7/8 November).