Wrathall & Freke lead from the frontMichelin Ginetta G50 Cup dominator Nathan Freke all but secured the 2009 title at Rockingham in Northamptonshire this afternoon, Sunday, 20th September – the Century Motorsport racer requiring just 10 more points to clinch the championship with three races remaining.

After finishing runner-up to closest title rival Frank Wrathall in Saturday’s 10-lap race and then dropping out of contention in this morning’s 24th round with alternator problems, Freke scorched to a clear victory in the third of the weekend’s races to lead home team-mate Benji Hetherington in the first ever one-two finish for the EOS Productions-backed squad.

Wrathall had closed down Freke’s advantage to 64 points with a superb win in round 24, capitalising well on the car problems encountered by the championship leader. But the Dynojet racer was sent spinning into retirement at Deene Hairpin on the opening lap of this afternoon’s race, the result of contact from behind, to leave his slim title hopes in tatters.

While it is still mathematically possible for Wrathall to win the 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup, the odds are stacked massively against him and Freke will only need an 11th place finish in the first of the trio of races at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit next month to seal the title victory.

Freke’s 12th win of the season in round 25 came off the back of a controlled drive from pole position but he may have had to fight harder for the spoils had Fulvio Mussi not made contact with the rear of Wrathall’s car at Deene on lap one, ruling the multiple race winner out on the spot.

Following a short Safety Car period, which came as a result of the aforementioned incident, Freke led the field away ahead of Hetherington with G50 Cup debutant Adam Morgan flying the flag for Dynojet as he moved into the top three with a good pass into Deene on Christian Dick. Tom Sharp then managed to battle his way past the Speedworks driver to grab fourth at Pif-Paf.

Morgan started to come under serious pressure from Sharp but he held firm for several laps, giving a very good account of himself on his first weekend in a G50. The breakthrough for Sharp, however, came on lap seven at Deene and then Morgan slipped back to fifth after running wide at Yentwood.

The top five positions remained static from that point on with Freke winning by 1.3 seconds from Hetherington, Sharp taking his IDL car to third and Dick crossing the line just over a second clear of the impressive Morgan. Mussi, who was delayed in the lap one incident with Wrathall, fought back in his damaged yourracingcar.com G50 to take sixth ahead of Chairman’s Cup winner Richard Sykes.

Further behind, the move of the race came from Total Control Racing’s Carl Breeze when he managed to grab eighth position from Colin White. Held up in the lap one skirmish at Deene, Breeze tumbled down the order. His move around the outside of White though, which started at Pif-Paf and continued along Steel Straight, through Gracelands and into Tarzan, was a memorable effort.

Speaking after round 25, Freke said: “This win makes up for the problem in the previous race. I didn’t get the best start while Frank (Wrathall) got away well, but then at Deene all I could see behind was carnage. My car was sublime, the team has done a fantastic job all season and I’m ecstatic to see Benji (Hetherington) on the podium too; a one-two for Century Motorsport, it can’t get any better.”

Round 24 was all about Wrathall as he cruised to a 13 second win to perfectly back-up the success he enjoyed in Saturday’s outing. Getting away from pole position cleanly, Wrathall headed Freke and soaked up huge pressure from the points leader as the top two pulled clear of the rest initially.

Sharp made a good start from fourth on the grid to move ahead of Breeze into third but contact part way around the opening lap led to a shake-up in the running order with Breeze, White, Sykes and Sharp all suffering in a series of incidents.

Back at the front, Freke continued to pressurise Wrathall for the lead while Mussi ran in third position ahead of Hetherington, just half a second splitting the second pairing. On lap eight though, Freke started to slow as an alternator problem impeded his pace and he was forced to pit at the end of the 10th tour having already slipped to fifth.

He did manage to rejoin and take the points for 10th place as the last of the classified finishers though, three laps down on Wrathall, with Hetherington taking second place – and a new Ginetta G50 Cup lap record of 1m23.894 seconds (83.24mph) – ahead of Dick, Morgan and Joachim Ritter.

Tony Hughes took his maiden Chairman’s Cup win with a fine sixth place while Mussi could only manage eighth, behind Julien Draper, having been forced to pit with damaged bodywork at the back of his car which was rubbing on the rear tyres.

Commenting at the end of round 24, Wrathall said: “I think I had it pretty easy in this race. Early on, the car was moving around a lot but as soon as Nathan (Freke) dropped back with his problem I could get into my rhythm. It’s great to take another win.”

There are just two weeks to wait until the season finale of the 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup with rounds 26, 27 and 28 taking place over the weekend 3rd/4th October at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.

Provisional 2009 Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd25):
1st Nathan Freke, 746pts; 2nd Frank Wrathall, 645pts; 3rd Carl Breeze, 583pts; 4th Fulvio Mussi, 429pts; 5th Tom Sharp, 394pts; 6th Christian Dick, 389pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.