Motorsport News - Sportscar
Breeze Wins In Ginetta As Dixon Claims Clio Podium
13th August 2012
Snetterton 300 Circuit continued to be a happy hunting ground for Total Control Racing over the weekend, 11th/12th August, with Carl Breeze taking his second Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup win of 2012 and James Dixon claiming the team’s first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup podium of the year.
Just a week removed from race-winning success with Mike Robinson in the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge, the Wednesbury squad earned yet more silverware at the Norfolk track with excellent performances from its Ginetta and Renault squads.
Local racer Breeze, from Kings Lynn, produced one of his best races of the season so far during round 16 of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup on Sunday morning. Starting fourth on the grid, by virtue of his round 15 result from Saturday afternoon, the TCR racer got a sensational launch and quickly took third with a great move at Riches before grabbing second soon after through the infield.
Determined to pressurise race leader and championship rival Tom Ingram, Breeze pushed on but took the lead a little quicker than he would have envisaged when the former had to retire on lap two with engine problems. Leaving the way clear for Breeze to control the race from the front, the TCR man did so despite intense pressure from behind and didn’t put a wheel wrong.
Team-mate Jamie Orton, meanwhile, celebrated his most consistently strong weekend of the season so far with a highlight fifth place finish in round 16. Starting sixth on the grid, Orton moved into fifth when Ingram was forced out and pulled well clear of the chasing pack while also closing on fourth placed championship leader Tom Sharp.
In round 15 on Saturday, Orton’s first race since the Oulton Park event in June having been forced to miss the Croft triple-header on medical instruction following a hefty testing accident, the Londoner showed no signs of rustiness by maintaining sixth place from start to finish.
Breeze, meanwhile, battled through from an uncharacteristic fifth on the grid to finish fourth – just 0.4 seconds shy of the podium – and in doing so set the fastest lap, and new lap record, of 1m56.370 seconds (91.84mph).
Another podium followed for Breeze in Sunday afternoon’s 17th round, an excellent drive from fifth on the ‘reverse’ grid enabling him to consolidate second in the championship which he seized after the first of Sunday’s races.
Orton began the third race on pole but wasn’t able to get the drive he wanted off the line and so slipped to fourth place as Breeze moved up into the top three by the hairpin. Initially held-up by Andrew Richardson, Breeze later settled for third while Orton did a fantastic job over the last couple of laps to fend off a very determined Ingram by a mere 0.006 seconds on the line to retain fourth.
“Carl controlled the second race, he didn’t feel any pressure even though it was close and looked after the tyres as much as he could – it’s a great result for him and the team”, said TCR principal Lee Brookes, “Jamie’s had another strong weekend, he’s improving all the time and the way he held off [Tom] Ingram in the last race was impressive to see.”
TCR back on Renault Clio Cup podium
James Dixon’s second place finish in round nine of the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup on Saturday not only marked his and the team’s first championship rostrum of 2012, it also helped hoist the Kent driver into the top three in the standings.
In only his second race meeting back with the West Midlands team, Dixon qualified a season-best third fastest for the opening race just 0.1 seconds shy of pole position. Although pushed back to fourth initially, he gained two places back on the sixth tour following a tangle between Jack Goff and Stefan Hodgetts.
Team-mates Rob Smith and Nicolas Hamilton were very evenly matched in Saturday’s race, starting 13th and 15th respectively. Hamilton moved ahead of his team-mate on lap one, as Smith slipped back a couple of places, but by lap five the TCR pair were nose-to-tail.
On the final lap, the duo moved up into 11th and 12th respectively and over the last couple of miles there was nothing to separate them. Hamilton defended resolutely and just managed to stay ahead at the finish by a mere 0.001 seconds as he and Smith ran side-by-side up Senna Straight to the flag, the latter taking third in the Rookie Cup.
In round 10 on Sunday, Dixon’s challenge was made all the harder due to a grid penalty imposed after race one. Starting in ninth, he was pushed back to 10th but avoided a multi-car tangle at the hairpin on lap two to move into eighth. Remaining there to the final tour, Dixon profited from contact between Aaron Williamson and James Colburn on the last lap to take seventh.
Smith and Hamilton were both unfortunately forced to retire in separate incidents. The former was the first to come to grief when a lock-up under braking at the chicane led to unavoidable contact with David Grady – subsequent broken steering ending Smith’s race in the pits on lap three.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was running in 15th place and impressively fending off Ant Whorton-Eales on lap five when contact to the rear of his Clio from Ronnie Klos, as the cars rounded Agostini, punted the TCR man into retirement.
“It’s nice for the team to be back on the podium in Clios, it’s been a while but fantastic to be there and just a shame we couldn’t challenge for the win in the end as we felt we had the pace to do that with James this weekend”, said Brookes.
“Rob and Nic have both had some bad luck again this weekend, when you’re in that middle pack there’s always a chance of getting caught up in incidents. Saturday’s race was good though, they both raced well and showed they’ve got the potential to be in that top 10 if qualifying goes right.”
TCR’s Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup squad will be back in action just two weeks from now for rounds 18, 19 and 20 of the season at Knockhill in Scotland over the weekend 25th/26th August. The team’s AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup entry, meanwhile, has six weeks to wait for its next outing which will be on 22nd/23rd September at Rockingham in Northamptonshire for rounds 11 and 12 of its campaign.
2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Driver Standings (after Rd17):
2nd Carl Breeze, 433pts; 9th Jamie Orton, 197pts
2012 AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd10):
3rd James Dixon, 192pts; 19th Rob Smith, 54pts; 23rd Nicolas Hamilton, 36pts
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