Season's best for Toth-Jones in Donington Ginetta GT5 finale

Rookie racer Alex Toth-Jones ensured that he saved the best to last after coming agonisingly close to a maiden podium finish as his first season in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge drew to a close at Donington Park.Despite the fact that he initially only planned to contest three meetings with the Corby-based Richardson Racing team, the Donington Park finale capped what would ultimately be a near full season of competition in the British GT-support series for Bradford-based Alex, who would compete in every meeting bar the opening event of the campaign at Brands Hatch.Having shown his potential throughout the season with a number of top ten finishes, Alex headed into the finale keen to try and end his year on a high and qualified in a solid ninth on the grid – despite being faced with wet conditions on what was his first outing on the longer Donington Park GP layout.Although he would lose places in the early stages of race one, a solid recovery drive saw Alex battle his way back into the top ten before the chequered flag flew, leaving him to start the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning from the fifth row of the grid.Ensuring there was no repeat of his start in race one, Alex instead found himself moving forwards through the opening lap as he made up three places to run seventh, and then took sixth spot on lap three.Making up a further place on the penultimate lap, Alex found himself pushing hard in the battle for a place on the podium but despite moving up to fourth on the final lap, he fell just 0.009secs shy of what would have been a maiden top three finish.The result would still prove to be his best of the campaign however, as an unfortunate spin in the final race of the year saw his car beached in the gravel at the chicane and saw Alex forced into retirement.Despite that, he ends his maiden season of car racing 14th in the championship standings and confident that the experience gained over the course of the year will prove to be beneficial in the future.“It’s unfortunate that the weekend ended with a DNF, but on the whole, it was a fantastic way to bring my season to an end,” he said. “It didn’t start in the best way with the rain in qualifying given that I’d never driven the GP circuit before, so I think that P9 on the grid was good when you take that into consideration; particularly as I know I would have been quicker with a few more laps.“I’ll admit that I was caught napping a bit at the start and lost some places, but I think I drove well to get back into the top ten and then race two was great. To come from tenth on the grid to finish fourth was brilliant, even if it’s a little disappointing at the same time to get so close to the podium and just miss out.“We’ve had our ups and downs this season, so I’m ecstatic to have picked up my best result at the final round and it’s a big plus to take into the winter. I had some of my sponsors - and also some potential sponsors - at the circuit with me, so to have picked up a good result in front of them is particularly pleasing as I wouldn't have been on the grid without the support of everyone who has backed me this year. Now the hard work starts to put everything together to return next season.“We’ve ended the season being the quickest we have been all year, and if I can keep developing and learning during the winter, then there is no reason why me and the team can’t be right in the mix at the front of the grid in 2017.”Team boss Gwyn Richardson admitted he was delighted with the manner in which Alex had concluded the season, insisting that the progress displayed over the course of the campaign was a sign that the teenager can be one to watch in the series next year."Having joined us as a rookie, we've been really pleased with the way Alex has performed this season and to end the year pushing for the podium positions is an indication of how he has improved as a driver," he said. "He has integrated with the team better than we ever expected and I think the fact he feels so comfortable with us has been reflected in some of the results he has picked up this year."I have no doubt that the result in race two this weekend is an indication of what he could do next year now he has some experience under his belt, and hopefully we can work on a deal to team up again and fight for the title in 2017."