for second time• Fifth podium of season for Davies helps seal fifth in driver standings• Desperate luck for Junior pole qualifier Wooder after huge accident
Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup entrant Total Control Racing secured its second team championship title during the final event of 2016 at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 1st/2nd October, with Mark Davies and Callum Pointon ending the year fifth and sixth in the driver standings.
In the sister Ginetta Junior Championship, realistic hopes of a top three finish in the title race for Dave Wooder at his ‘home’ track were dashed on Saturday when the pole position qualifier was pitched into a heavy accident and retirement at the first corner of the opening race – an incident which ruled the TCR driver out of both of the weekend’s contests.
“We’re obviously very pleased to have won the team championship in the GT4 Supercup again, it’s good we’ve done that and just a shame we weren’t a bit higher up the driver standings with Mark and Callum as they’ve both shown good pace this year”, said TCR boss Lee Brookes.
“Obviously, we’re gutted for Dave as he did a fantastic job to qualify on pole and two wins could have been on the cards for him this weekend, and third in the championship. It wasn’t to be in the end. When you look at it, we’ve had a good year in the Supercup, Juniors and the Ginetta Challenge but we’re a bit disappointed as we always want to win everything we do – that’s why we go racing!”
Podium silverware for Davies and brace of fastest laps at Brands Hatch GPMark Davies lined-up third on the grid for the first Ginetta GT4 Supercup race on Saturday which took place in very slippery conditions. Making a good start, the TCR driver initially followed the two cars ahead before slicing through into second and then mounting a major challenge for the lead.
Getting alongside Will Burns through Clark Curve and over the start/finish line into lap two, Davies took the lead into Paddock Hill Bend and then reeled off a couple of fastest laps as he opened a small gap at the front. On lap seven, though, Burns managed to move back ahead at Paddock and Davies remained in second to the finish – also securing fastest lap too.
In the sister TCR car, Callum Pointon faced a tall order from 12th on the grid but he produced an outstanding first lap to scythe his way through into seventh position before grabbing sixth on lap two where he stayed to the conclusion.
For round 22 later in the day, on a drier but still damp track, Davies was due to start second on the grid but he pitted at the end of the formation lap to switch to treaded wet-weather Michelins as a result of the Grand Prix loop being too wet for slick tyres.
Running a minute down on the rest of the pack after his pit-stop, the TCR driver set about trying to reel in the cars ahead and he immediately set the fastest lap of the race, a full three seconds faster than the race leader. His cause was then aided by the deployment of the Safety Car on lap four.
Davies was just 3.5 seconds adrift of the pack at the time of the re-start and rocketed from 16th into 13th place in the space of just a single lap, before gaining two more places the next time around and then taking ninth at Clearways on lap nine where he ended the race.
Pointon, meanwhile, was edged back from sixth to ninth on the first lap before working his way back into seventh place on the second tour prior to the first Safety Car. At the re-start on lap six, Pointon hustled his way through into fifth but was re-challenged into lap seven and slipped to sixth. He was then edged back to seventh on lap nine before the finish came under a second Safety Car period.
For the final race of the season, Davies lined-up eighth on the grid with Pointon 10th as a result of a three place grid penalty. The latter delivered a very strong performance, and a cracking first lap, to leap into eighth early on ahead of Davies before ultimately finishing in sixth place. Davies, who dropped to 10th on lap one, battled through into the top six but was forced to retire on lap eight.
Misfortune for pole qualifier Wooder costs near certain top three in JuniorsMultiple Ginetta Junior Championship race winner Dave Wooder produced a stunning performance in qualifying on Saturday at his ‘home’ track, the Chatham-based driver securing pole position for the penultimate race of the Junior season by a full 0.2 seconds.
Taking place at the end of the afternoon on Saturday, round 24 began with Wooder losing traction off the start but he still remained in contention into Paddock Hill Bend before contact from a rival pitched the TCR car into a heavy accident and luckless first corner retirement. The severity of the impact required a visit to the circuit medical centre but, fortunately, Wooder was declared OK.
The incident led to red flags and, with the circuit curfew rapidly approaching, officials opted to move the race to Sunday morning. Wooder’s team-mates Jordan Collard and Connor Grady had started from ninth and 12th respectively, the former enjoying a particularly strong qualifying run.
Wooder, of course, didn’t feature in the re-run contest on day two so Collard was the best placed TCR driver in eighth on the grid, fourth highest Rookie, and he climbed into seventh, third in class, prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap two. Grady, meanwhile, held his grid slot of 11th.
Driving well just outside the overall top six, Collard maintained his placing but on lap four he was bundled back to 10th position and his race then came unstuck on the subsequent tour when pushed wide onto the grass at Surtees. Dropping to 13th position, Collard eventually ended the race in the top 12 and sixth in class. Grady, meanwhile, held onto 11th place to the flag.
For the final race of the season, round 25 on Sunday afternoon, Wooder was absent as a result of Saturday’s accident so Grady started as the best placed TCR runner on row six with Collard just behind on the grid. Putting together an excellent first lap, Collard sliced through into ninth place overall, fourth in class, while Grady was edged back to 12th position.
Following an early Safety Car period, Collard held eighth and an improved third in the Rookie classification but on lap four he was shuffled down to 12th place and then slipped two more positions after a moment on lap five. Grady worked his way into the top 10 on lap four and remained there to the finish on lap eight.
Final 2016 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Team Standings:Champions: Total Control Racing, 775pts
Final 2016 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Driver Standings:5th Mark Davies, 392pts; 6th Callum Pointon, 373pts
Final 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings:4th Dave Wooder, 479pts; 12th Connor Grady, 232pts;16th Jordan Collard, 153pts; 17th Max Bird, 141pts
Final 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship Team Standings:4th Total Control Racing, 823pts