Ginetta G50 Cup Rd16 PodiumTotal Control Racing’s Carl Breeze raced to a pair of memorable Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup wins at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Saturday, 1st August, to get his title challenge fully back on track and put two very difficult months firmly behind him.

Arriving at his home venue fully recovered – with the exception of a relatively sore foot – from the huge accident he was involved in at Oulton Park at the end of May, the Kings Lynn racer secured pole position starts for all three of the weekend’s Ginetta G50 races before going on to claim victory in rounds 15 and 16 this afternoon.

On a packed day for the championship competitors, Breeze controlled qualifying while chief title rival Nathan Freke suffered a problematic start to his weekend with flat-shift issues leading to a lack of pace. Nonetheless, the Century Motorsport driver managed to take a fifth place start for round 15 and a top four slot for round 16.

At the start of the first race, Breeze got away from the grid very well to lead with the impressive Christian Dick holding second position through Riches Corner after his best ever Ginetta G50 qualifying performance.

Behind the lead pair, Frank Wrathall made the most of an outstanding start from sixth on the grid to take third as the cars streaked down the ultra-fast Revett Straight while Chris Dittmann ran in fourth ahead of Freke. The unfortunate Tom Sharp, meanwhile, picked up bodywork damage and a puncture after opening lap contact which ultimately ruled him out of the race.

As Breeze tried to press home the advantage of being at the front, Dick tried to go with him and throughout the race there was very little to choose between them. The top two remained the same for the duration, Breeze eventually taking the chequered flag on lap 11 by just 0.305 seconds.

On lap three, Wrathall’s challenge began to fall away after he slipped to sixth at Russell Chicane but worse luck followed on the sixth tour when he was forced to pull off the track at Sear Corner with car problems.

After Wrathall’s original issue on lap three, Dittmann assumed the final podium spot and although he came under pressure from Freke he raced well to his second podium of the campaign. Freke pulled out a two second gap over Fulvio Mussi to claim a solid fourth position while Hampus Rydman rounded out the top six ahead of Chairman’s Cup class winner Colin White.

Speaking after his first win since round six at Thruxton, an ecstatic Breeze said: “I got a really good start and initially had enough of a gap to warm the tyres on the back straight. All credit to Christian (Dick), he drove a hard race but I knew he wouldn’t try any silly lunges. It’s good to reward the TCR boys with another win and great to bounce back after the disappointments of Oulton and Croft.”

Ahead of the weekend, Dick announced his withdrawal from competitive action in the G50 Cup to instead concentrate on team management. However, Speedworks Motorsport driver Richard Sykes was unable to make the journey to Snetterton due to business commitments so Dick stepped in.

He commented: “Second is a great result and we had a bit more up our sleeve too. I had a knock into Sear on the first lap so the car wasn’t 100 per cent, it was still great to drive though. There’s no pressure for me this weekend, with Richard (Sykes) unable to race the opportunity arose for me to step into the car and it’s been good to show we can be on the pace and do a very good job.”

Win number six for Breeze
Breeze’s performance in round 16 was much more dominant as he eased to an 11 second winning margin ahead of a very tight, and equally entertaining, five-way battle over the remaining podium positions. Dick and Dittmann were second and third respectively again with Wrathall fourth, Ben Hetherington taking by far his best result in fifth and Mussi rounding out the top six.

Mussi actually took the chequered flag in the runner-up spot after a storming second half of the race but he fell down the final classification after being handed a 10 second penalty for lining up on the grid out of position. Once more, White was the Chairman’s Cup dominator in seventh place overall.

During the early exchanges, Freke held second place ahead of Dick, Mussi, Wrathall, Dittman and Hetherington and the scrap gave Breeze all the opportunity he needed to pull out a sizeable gap.

Nip and tuck all the way through, on lap 13 the battle came to a head when Dick, Wrathall and Mussi exited Sear with nothing between them and the trio ran three abreast down the long Revett Straight making an absolutely awesome sight. Mussi, on the inside line, was able to sneak through into third at the Esses to demote Dick to fourth while Wrathall held fifth position.

Mussi was then quickly onto the tail of Freke but on the 15th tour the latter’s challenge fell apart following a spin at Russell Chicane, a great shame after a textbook defensive performance up to that point. He ended the race on lap 18 in ninth position while Mussi’s indiscretion at the start cost him a potential career best finish in the G50 Cup.

Speaking after round 16, Breeze said: “That was a really difficult race. We made some changes to the car which the TCR boys deserve all of the credit for as it gave us an extra three 10ths of a second and gave me the chance to pull away as they battled behind, it was tough though.”

Double third place finisher Dittmann added: “I’ve had three podiums now this year which is great but I’m still after that elusive first win. I got a bit blocked in at the start but then managed to make a few places up. I’m very happy with third and another podium, all good points for the championship.”

Racing returnee Charlie Butler-Henderson, making his first ever appearance in a Ginetta G50, took a top 10 finish in round 15 before ending the second encounter in 12th position.

The Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup is back in action at Snetterton tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd August, with the 17th round of the season – which will be shown live on ITV4 – expected to begin at around 13.35. Breeze will line up on pole ahead of Dick, Dittmann, Wrathall, Freke, Sharp, Rydman and Mussi.

Provisional 2009 Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd16; Rd11 to be rescheduled):
1st Nathan Freke, 437pts; 2nd Carl Breeze, 410pts; 3rd Frank Wrathall, 373pts; 4th Christian Dick, 309pts; 5th Fulvio Mussi, 228pts; 6th Tom Sharp, 216pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.