Franchitti Rounds-Out Ginetta Gt Debut With Podium

Scotland's Marino Franchitti rounded-out a highly competitive one-off debut in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup with a fantastic third place finish for Total Control Racing during round 20 of the season at his local track, Knockhill in Fife, on Sunday, 4th September.Despite living in Edinburgh, the successful sportscar ace hadn't competed at the nearby 1.3-mile circuit for some 10 years prior to the weekend's action but the 'guest' racer quickly got up to speed and adapted to the Ginetta G55 impressively.After a top five finish on Saturday, 3rd September, Franchitti posted a ninth place result in the first of Sunday's two encounters after some closely contested action but the best came in the third and final race with a tremendous performance.Lining up ninth on the grid, the American Le Mans Series star made good early progress by climbing into the top seven and after a brief Safety Car interlude - required to recover the stricken car of very unlucky team-mate Carl Breeze - Franchitti pressed on and made his way into the top six.Moving into fourth on lap 18, the podium was certainly in his sights as he began to reel in third placed Adam Morgan who started to struggle with a lack of grip. Hunting down the GT Supercup regular, Franchitti was right on Morgan's rear wing into the final lap and after pressuring hard he delivered a sensational late cut-back into the hairpin to take third on the inside - a superb move."The TCR guys have been unbelievable all weekend", said Franchitti, "It's been very hard with wet sessions, dry sessions and for me to just get a feeling for the car. We worked away, chipped away and tried some stuff and found quite a sweet set-up. I've really enjoyed the racing, it's been great."For TCR's championship contender Breeze, the second day at Knockhill started well enough with a fine fourth place in round 19 which maintained his position at the top of the driver standings with a cushion of 18 points over closest rival Tom Sharp. In round 20 though, it all went wrong for the multiple race winner through no fault of his own.Lining up second on the grid, Breeze's start wasn't the best and he slipped to third but into the hairpin at the end of the opening lap the Kings Lynn driver shot up the inside of second placed Morgan to brilliantly grab the position.On the exit of the turn though, Breeze was tapped into a spin which sent his Ginetta G55 off onto the gravel on the outside of the corner. Managing to recover to the track, albeit a long way down on the rest of the pack, Breeze continued but on lap three he had another excursion into the gravel when his car mysteriously lost power. Retirement followed soon after.Having failed to score for only the second time this season, the non-finish could prove costly but such was Breeze's total prior to the third race, he still holds on to second in the championship 19 points adrift of new leader Sharp. "We're obviously really gutted for Carl", said TCR team principal Lee Brookes, "What happened in the third race was really unfortunate but he'll be back fighting at the front at Rockingham in a couple of weeks, I'm sure of that. Marino had a great weekend, he did a fantastic job and worked well with the team. He deserved at least one podium so we're delighted he managed it in the last race."Rockingham International Sports Car Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the next instalment of Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup action a fortnight from now with rounds 21 and 22 set to take place over the weekend 17th/18th September. Total Control Racing's AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK squad will return to the track at the Corby venue too for the penultimate two rounds of its 2011 campaign.