Seventh podium of Junior season for title challenger Wooder Grady stars with career-best top six finish in final race of weekendFirst outright GT5 podium for Robinson plus two more ‘Am’ wins Double ‘Am’ class podium for ever-improving GT5 rookie Collinson
Total Control Racing claimed another haul of silverware over the weekend, 18th/19th June, at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire with podium finishes in both the Ginetta Junior Championship and the sister Ginetta GT5 Challenge.
Ian Robinson took his season’s tally of ‘Am’ class wins to nine in rounds 12 and 13, while also claiming his maiden outright podium, with fellow amateur racer Dan Collinson recording a double class podium. Front-runner Matt Chapman had a mixed weekend with a brace of seventh places.
In Ginetta Junior, title contender Dave Wooder raced to his seventh podium of the season during the third race of the weekend and Connor Grady starred with a career-best top six finish in the same contest after a superb drive. Team-mates Max Bird and Jordan Collard posted best results of 12th and 16th respectively.
“It’s been a bit of a mixed weekend for us but we’re pleased to see Ian and Dan doing so well in the amateur class in the Challenge and for Dave to be up on the podium in Juniors”, reflected team principal Lee Brookes, “Connor raced well all weekend and his drive in the last one was fantastic, he’s getting better and better all the time. Obviously we’re disappointed for Matt, and Max and Jordan didn’t have the most straightforward weekend, but there are positives for us to take away.”
Robinson continues impressive GT5 Challenge runAmateur driver Robinson was the fastest of TCR’s Ginetta GT5 trio in qualifying on Saturday morning, securing fourth on the grid for race one a mere 0.033 seconds shy of the top three. Chapman, who missed Friday testing and for whom qualifying marked his first appearance at Croft in a GT5 Challenge car, was a lower than expected eighth while Collinson was 12th overall – second in ‘Am’.
Making an excellent start to Saturday’s race, Robinson climbed into third overall and although elbowed back to fourth at Tower on lap one he was elevated back into the top three on corrected times soon after as a result of a time penalty for Ryan Hadfield.
On lap six, an excursion for Jonathan Hadfield then hoisted Robinson into the outright top three again and second on corrected times and he ultimately ended the race third overall, with Ryan Hadfield earning the 10 seconds back, to secure his first overall podium and a clear Am victory.
Collinson climbed into the overall top 10 on corrected times by the end of lap two and ran as high as ninth overall, before Hadfield’s time recovery edged the TCR driver back to 10th overall. Enjoying one of his best performances of the season, Collinson held second in class until the penultimate tour on lap 11 when he slipped to third in ‘Am’ and 11th overall behind rival Glen Broster.
For Chapman, race one was a frustrating encounter. Making a great start from the line, he was delayed by a slower car immediately ahead but quickly moved up into seventh place and then sixth as a result of Hadfield’s time penalty. Although edged to seventh, he earned his top six spot back before an unfortunate excursion on lap eight and ultimately ended the race seventh overall.
Robinson began race two on Sunday from third but was bundled back to sixth on the run into the first corner. Remaining there to lap seven, the slightest drift offline at Hawthorn meant his pace was compromised and Robinson slipped to seventh before then being passed for eighth into Tower as a result of his lost momentum. He eventually finished the race in ninth, but with another ‘Am’ win.
Team-mate Chapman started the contest in seventh but hopes of making progress through the first corner were hit, literally, after some contact. Although able to thread through Clervaux intact, the TCR driver held position to the end of the lap but was passed under yellow flags at the hairpin, which dropped him to 10th. Determined to hit back, Chapman ended another frustrating race in seventh.
Collinson produced another strong performance and his second ‘Am’ podium with a great second place in class. Lining-up in 11th position overall, the first year Ginetta GT5 driver held station for almost the entire 15 lap duration and was only shuffled back to 12th place on the penultimate tour.
Grady impresses with season-best in Ginetta JuniorWooder began Saturday’s first Ginetta Junior race from third on the grid, qualifying just 0.2 seconds shy of pole, and made a good getaway. Disappointingly, though, a first corner incident not only badly delayed the TCR car but also resulted in damage which ultimately led to his retirement on lap two.
Grady was the highest placed of the TCR contingent following Wooder’s demise, holding 12th position after climbing through from 15th on the grid on the first lap, and during the early going he ran just ahead of team-mate Max Bird in 13th – up from 16th at the start.
By lap six, Grady had emerged through a huge multi-car battle around the top 10 actually in 10th place but he was put onto the grass at the end of lap five out of the hairpin and so slipped to 11th but was then bundled back to 17th on the last lap before the finish. Bird, meanwhile, ran well in the same tight pack and although down to 14th place on lap six, he stayed there to the end.
Team-mate Collard moved up two places into 16th position on the first lap and despite being shuffled down to 18th place by the midway point of the encounter, he climbed into the top 15 on the penultimate tour before taking the flag in 16th spot.
For round 11 later in the afternoon, Bird was the highest placed TCR driver on the grid in 14th position with Collard 16th, Grady in 17th place and the luckless Wooder 21st and last on the grid after his race one retirement.
Determined to make up as much ground as possible, to limit the damage to his title bid, Wooder starred by scything his way through the order to finish inside the top 10 after a hugely impressive drive. Climbing through into ninth position, a gain of 12 places, his best lap of the race was just a couple of hundredths of a second shy of the fastest of the contest.
Grady managed to work his way into 14th place, taking the flag just 0.4 seconds ahead of Bird, with Collard finishing the race in 17th position – the latter working his way back up from 19th place at the end of lap one.
Wooder started Sunday’s race from ninth on the grid and brilliantly sliced his way through into the top four on lap one. After a Safety Car period, racing resumed on lap four and he grabbed third into the complex with a great pass before consolidating the place to the chequered flag.
Grady absolutely starred in the live televised race, carving his way through from 14th on the grid into the top six to secure a tremendous career-best finish in Ginetta Junior. Breaking into the top 10 on the opening lap, climbing into ninth, he then grabbed eighth as soon as the Safety Car period ended and took seventh on lap five before capping a sensational drive with sixth on the penultimate tour.
Rookie drivers Bird and Collard started in 15th place and 17th position respectively, the former rapidly progressing into the top 10 where he stayed for the majority of the nine-lapper. Edged back to 12th on the penultimate lap, Bird was also fourth in the Rookie class. Having managed to climb impressively into the outright top 12, Collard’s race frustratingly ended with retirement on lap five.
Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium is the next destination for TCR and its Ginetta GT5 Challenge squad on Friday, 8th July, and Saturday, 9th July. The Ginetta Junior Championship will resume after a six week summer break over the weekend 30th/31st July at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk.
Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd12):4th Dave Wooder, 244pts; 11th Max Bird, 114pts; 14th Connor Grady, 97pts; 18th Jordan Collard, 52pts
Ginetta Junior Championship Team Standings (after Rd12):4th Total Control Racing, 405pts
Ginetta GT5 Challenge Driver Standings (after Rd13):4th Matt Chapman, 293pts; 6th Ian Robinson, 208pts; 17th Dan Collinson, 64pts