Motorsport News - Sportscar
Double Oulton Podium For TCR On GT Supercup Return
11th June 2012
Total Control Racing made a successful return to the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at Oulton Park over the weekend, 9th/10th June, with Carl Breeze recording two second place finishes in rounds 10 and 11 of the campaign.
After missing the first three events of the year, the West Midlands squad recently agreed fresh deals with 2011 drivers Breeze and Jamie Orton – each having raced elsewhere at the beginning of the season – and both competitors shone back at the wheel of a TCR-run Ginetta G55.
Breeze, who was unable to start his 2012 title bid with TCR due to budget restrictions, produced his most consistently strong performance of the year so far to give Lee Brookes’ squad a podium finish on its first outing in the series since last October.
After qualifying fourth fastest for round 10 in the wet on Saturday, the Kings Lynn driver went on to take an excellent second place result and also post the fastest lap, and new lap record, of 1m25.726 seconds (93.47mph).
Scorching off the line at the start, Breeze saw-off the battling Tom Sharp and Andrew Richardson at Old Hall to quickly move into second place before closing-in on pole-sitter Tom Ingram. Pressuring the race leader and also edging clear of Sharp and the rest, Breeze set the new lap record on the seventh tour but settled for a nonetheless superb second place during the closing stages.
Team-mate Orton, who made a single appearance for TCR last year, made a terrific start himself by leaping from sixth on the grid into the top four. Initially seeing off the attentions of Hunter Abbott, Orton looked very comfortable indeed. At mid-distance though, Abbott closed back in and managed to edge past into Cascades on lap 12 to push Orton back to fifth place.
In round 11 on Sunday, Breeze was again second but had a harder time maintaining the position with brake problems and a sticking throttle. Coping with the issues brilliantly, he fended off Abbott and series leader Sharp to cap his most competitive weekend of the season to-date.
Orton, starting in fifth for the second encounter, held position off the line and remained there until lap seven when an unfortunate spin at the chicane dropped him back to seventh. Managing to stay ahead of Colin White on the road, the London driver was actually promoted from seventh to sixth at the finish due to a five second penalty for Josh Wakefield.
“Two podiums is great for our first weekend back”, said team principal Brookes, “In the second race Carl had a problem with the throttle sticking flat out, he had to flick it back after braking and then get it ready for the corner – really well done to him for that. Jamie is on the pace now, if we can get him that little bit further up in qualifying he’ll be fighting for podiums so it’s all looking good.”
Dixon returns as Smith delivers best weekend of season
In the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup, multiple race winner James Dixon returned to the TCR fold this weekend having contested the first six races of the season elsewhere. Although the damp qualifying session didn’t go to plan, the Kent driver still managed to secure third row starts for both races but had to settle for a seventh place result in round seven and sixth place in round eight.
Bundled down to eighth at the beginning of Saturday’s encounter, the TCR returnee moved into seventh at the expense of a retiring Paul Rivett on lap seven and although glued to the rear of Ant Whorton-Eales’ car for the duration he just couldn’t prise open the required gap.
In Sunday’s eighth round, Dixon slipped from fifth to seventh at the start but quickly got into his stride and pressured sixth placed Josh Cook heavily at mid-distance. Then, on lap 12, fifth placed Mike Bushell had a moment at the hairpin which promoted Dixon into sixth.
Rob Smith delivered his best performance since round two of the championship at Brands Hatch during the first Oulton Park race on Saturday, racing through from 13th on the grid into 11th place and just 0.9 seconds shy of the top 10.
Leaping into 11th off the start, the first year Clio Cup racer did rise as high as 10th on lap six but soon after he slipped back to 11th after being passed by William Davison. Over the final few laps, Smith mounted a fresh challenge for the top 10 but 11th was still an impressively strong result at his ‘home’ track. He then bettered that effort by climbing from 17th place to 11th in round eight.
Team-mate Nicolas Hamilton, starting round seven from an uncharacteristic 20th on the grid after a tough run during the damp and greasy qualifying session, wasn’t able to show his true pace in the race itself when he was caught-out in a multi-car accident at the first corner, Old Hall, on lap one.
Hoping to redress the balance on Sunday, the Hertfordshire youngster again missed out on the chance to fight for points when he ran out of road at Cascades while dicing for position. After being assisted back onto the track out of the gravel trap, Hamilton disappointingly retired to the pits.
“Rob’s had a massive step forward this weekend, I’m really pleased he’s got two consistently good results”, added Brookes, “It was unfortunate with James, fifth isn’t where we should have been in qualifying but we just got caught out. We had a couple of issues off the start but we’ve collected some good points with him. It’s been a tough weekend for Nic but he’ll be back fighting next time.”
Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire will host rounds 12, 13 and 14 of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup two weeks from now on 23rd/24th June. AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup, meanwhile, now heads into a nine week break with rounds nine and 10 taking place on 11th/12th August at Snetterton in Norfolk.
2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Driver Standings (after Rd11)
3rd Carl Breeze, 253pts; 9th Jamie Orton, 137pts
2012 AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd8):
4th James Dixon, 150pts; 17th Rob Smith, 47pts; 23rd Nicolas Hamilton, 28pts
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