Gary Simms guided his Ginetta G20 to an outright win at Donington Park, yesterday, in the Ginetta Challenge while Mark Davies took two G40 class wins to move himself into the lead of the championship.

Race one

Mike Robinson (TCR) started from pole position and led the pack away on a wet-but-drying road, chased by championship leader Sean Huyton (Academy Motorsport) and Thiago Calvet (Optimum Motorsport). Calvet challenged for second at the Melbourne Hairpin on the opening lap but Huyton tried to retaliate as they flashed past the pits. Behind, Mark Davies (Optimum Motorsport) ran fourth ahead of Clive Richards (Colards) and newcomer Williams Burns (HHC Motorsport). After missing the post-qualifying parc ferme requirement, a number of drivers were forced to start from the back of the grid and it was Burns’ HHC team-mate Richard Sykes who made best progress son the opening lap, moving up from 25th to ninth on just one lap!

Calvet challenged for the lead at Redgate on lap two but Robinson defended, as Davies moved past Huyton for third and then wriggled past Brazilian Calvet. With Huyton needing to stay with championship rival Davies, he pushed too hard at Coppice and slipped into the gravel falling to seventh place, but battled back to fifth by the chequered flag.

Up front, Davies pushed on and caught race leader Robinson, the Yorkshireman moving ahead at Goddards on lap four and then edging away to win by 10 seconds with Robinson second from Calvet.

Dominic Pettit claimed a fifth win in the G20 class having made a break on the opening lap. Behind him, Stuart Pearson bagged second place while G20 pole-sitter Gary Simms took third.

Race two

A wet road again greeted the drivers for the second 20-minute race and Robinson was on pole position once more. He led away from the line but his slick tyres couldn’t cope with the water at Redgate Corner and he promptly spun at turn one casing the pack to dodge around him. That allowed Davies to lead as far as McLeans but an amazing first lap by Gary Simms brought him up from 10th on the grid to lead at McLeans within half a lap of the start. Davies fought back to retake the lead at the Esses, but Simms when back ahead a lap later. Once up front, there was no stopping the Cowbridge-based racer who started to build a lead. With the G20s running on a treaded tyre, the older cars were soon making progress and as Simms pulled clear, Pettit moved into the leading pack chased by Stuart Pearson.

Davies squabbled with Huyton for second place but Sean nipped by at the Esses on lap two with Pettit taking third from Davies. The three continued to fight with Pearson chasing hard in fifth. Simms’ advantage in the lead grew until Pettit moved up to second and then he started to push, reducing the margin to the leader. With Simms having to adapt to the changing conditions, he upped his pace again and kept ahead of the second place fight, which came to a head when Davies was tapped into a spin at the Melbourne Hairpin by Pettit allowing Huyton to move ahead. Davies responded to retake second but Huyton had a wide moment on the last lap at the Esses allowing Pettit through to third overall.

Simms first ever outright win secured a fifth G20 class victory of the season from Pearson and Tom Mallett after Pettit was excluded for his part in on-track incidents. The G40 class fell to Davies, giving him six wins and the championship lead over Huyton with two races to run.

“I’m delighted,” said Simms. “It was really hard in those conditions but the wet tyres helped. I’d have hated being on slicks like the G40s. My first overall win is brilliant and a one-two for Optimum Motorsport is great for the team.”

The next stop for the Ginetta Challenge is Silverstone on October 8/9.