FIRST GINETTA GT4 SUPERCUP VICTORY OF 2016 FOR DAVIES AND TOTAL CONTROL RACING
• Team-mate Callum Pointon unfortunate to miss out on TCR one-two• TCR opens up huge lead in GT4 Supercup team championship• Ginetta Junior delivers best of P7 for Wooder and P9 for Grady
Total Control Racing scorched to its first victory of the 2016 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup season at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday, 28th August, with Mark Davies claiming his, and the squad’s, first category success in three years.
Returning to Ginetta’s flagship national championship full-time this year for the first time since 2013, the Lee Brookes-led squad made a very welcome return to the top step of the podium in a dramatic final race of the weekend at the Corby venue’s International Super Sportscar Circuit,
Starting on pole position for round 17 with team-mate Callum Pointon alongside, Davies was challenged by the sister TCR machine at Deene and Yentwood following an early Safety Car period but contact at the latter pitched Pointon into a spin – he eventually carved back through to eighth.
In the weekend’s Ginetta Junior Championship contests, TCR didn’t enjoy quite the same level of success with Dave Wooder claiming a best result of seventh place in round 18 and Connor Grady also finishing inside the top 10 in rounds 18 and 19, with ninth position results.
“It’s absolutely fantastic for the team to be winning again in the GT4 Supercup, it’s been a while so we’re absolutely over the moon”, said team principal Brookes, “It’s really unfortunate the way things turned out for Callum, we were looking at a one-two there and either of them could have won that race. We’re delighted to be back on the top step with Mark, hopefully this is a bit of a breakthrough.
“We didn’t have one of our better weekends in the Juniors, it all went wrong in qualifying and after that it was always going to be difficult for all four lads to come through. They did a good job, though, and all four will definitely be looking to hit back stronger at Silverstone.”
Davies back on top step of Ginetta podium at RockinghamRace one of the weekend for the GT4 Supercup competitors took place in very wet conditions on Saturday, 27th August, with Pointon lining-up a season-best third on the grid, thanks to an excellent run in qualifying, and Davies two spots further back in fifth.
Frustratingly for Pointon, he slipped back to sixth on the first lap but Davies enjoyed a more fruitful tour to climb into the top four. Running within just 0.3 seconds of third place, Davies was then elbowed back to fifth by Carl Boardley on lap two but the TCR driver refused to be dropped.
Following a Safety Car period between laps five and seven, required when Tom Wrigley’s Ginetta G55 ground to a halt, Davies and Pointon resumed racing in fourth and fifth respectively and the former tried everything to break into the podium placings but ultimately finished just 0.8 seconds shy of the rostrum. Pointon, meanwhile, maintained fifth to the chequered flag on lap 12.
In round 16 on Sunday in the dry, Davies was edged back from fourth to sixth at the start, and then seventh at Tarzan Hairpin, while Pointon managed to surge ahead of his team-mate to leap into the top four. Initially running close behind the top three, Pointon was edged back to fourth on lap four and then fifth on lap 10 before the race was red flagged due to an incident at Chapman Curve.
Davies managed to battle his way through into sixth before the late-race stoppage, which elevated the Total Control Racing duo into fourth and fifth respectively as officials counted the result back to the end of lap 13.
Lining-up on the front row of the ‘reverse’ grid for round 17 later in the day, second placed starter Pointon made the better launch to nose ahead around the outside at Turn One but Davies held the line into Deene. With nothing to split the team-mates, racing then fell under Safety Car conditions on lap five and at the re-start a lap later Pointon challenged again.
Looking to the outside at Deene, the TCR duo ran door-to-door to Yentwood but into the braking zone contact triggered a luckless spin for Pointon. Dropping outside the top 10 as a result, he battled back well into eighth place with some impressive overtaking while Davies won by 1.2 seconds.
Tough qualifying impacts TCR’s potential in Ginetta JuniorRookie racer Max Bird, making his return to action in Ginetta Junior after foregoing the visit to Knockhill in Scotland a fortnight ago, was the best of the TCR quartet in qualifying to secure ninth on the grid for round 18. Grady and Wooder qualified just behind, in 10th and 11th respectively, while Jordan Collard lined-up for race one in 15th position.
Frustratingly for Bird, he was shuffled back to 12th place on the opening lap but managed to break back into the top 10 before the conclusion on lap eight to also secure a top three result in the Rookie class. Grady gained three positions on lap one to move into seventh, and although edged back to 10th after a close battle with team-mate Wooder, the second year driver ended the race in ninth.
Wooder battled through into seventh position in the end, TCR’s best placed driver, after something of a see-saw contest. Moving into ninth place by lap three, Wooder was shuffled back to the tail of the top 10 soon after but, during the final couple of laps, he produced some strong racecraft as rain started to fall and made conditions very challenging.
Team-mate Collard had a mountain to climb following an unfortunate moment on lap two, but the first year car racer produced a good recovery from 19th place to work his way into 16th overall and seventh in the Rookie class.
Round 19 was also scheduled to take place on Saturday but very heavy rain, and a loss of light, led officials to move the second Ginetta Junior contest to Sunday morning. From seventh on the grid, Wooder’s hopes took a hit on lap one after a tangle and he had to settle for 15th place. Bird, meanwhile, was edged back to 14th position and he ultimately ended the race in 13th spot.
Grady and Collard enjoyed better, finishing ninth and 11th respectively. Climbing as high as seventh on lap one, a moment at Pif-Paf on lap three dropped Grady to ninth where he stayed to the flag. In the meantime, Collard impressed by working his way into the top 10 from 16th on the grid before being elbowed back to 11th late on – fourth in the Rookie class.
Frustratingly for Grady, a mechanical issue just prior to the start of round 20 meant he was unable to take part in the encounter. Wooder charged through the tightly packed midfield to finish ninth, from 14th on the grid, while Collard and Bird were 12th and 13th after a hugely entertaining battle.
Silverstone National Circuit is the next venue on the schedule for the Ginetta Junior Championship and Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, over the weekend 17th/18th September. Before then, TCR’s successful Ginetta GT5 Challenge team will be back on track for the finale of its season on 10th/11th September at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit in Leicestershire.
Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd20):4th Dave Wooder, 385pts; 11th Connor Grady, 204pts; 16th Max Bird, 141pts; 18th Jordan Collard, 112pts
Ginetta Junior Championship Team Standings (after Rd20):4th Total Control Racing, 667pts
Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Driver Standings (after Rd17):4th Mark Davies, 317pts; 7th Callum Pointon, 280pts
Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Team Standings (after Rd17):1st Total Control Racing, 597pts