Diego GuggiariDiego Guggiari and Ben Constanduros overcame an eventful curtain-raiser in the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge today (8th September), to seal seventh and eleventh position respectively, as round 16 of the championship got underway at the world-renowned Silverstone circuit.

Starting side-by-side on the fifth row of the grid, Constanduros, renowned for his commentary on the World Touring Car Championship, immediately surged to seventh position as the pack of ambitious racers entered Copse for the first time, leaving a hesitant Guggiari to settle for ninth position at the end of the first lap.

The Scuderia Vittoria pairing who are currently competing their first season in the Ginetta backed championship, continued to progress during the opening stages of the race after an incident involving Rick Parfitt and William Burns, saw Constanduros climb to sixth, with Guggiari close behind in eighth.

With the front five breaking away from the remainder of the pack, thrilling bumper-to-bumper racing soon changed the proceedings further back on lap four, due to Guggiari taking advantage of a tussle between Constanduros and Johnson in front to move up to sixth. Guggiari charged on but Constanduros found himself demoted to eighth position in the shuffle.

Continuing to impress on his first outing at Silverstone, Guggiari was soon caught by a recovering Rick Parfitt in the latter stages of the race. Parfitt took advantage of his experience at the Northamptonshire venue to snatch sixth position from the Uruguayan.

With three laps to go, Constanduros became involved in a tense battle with Gary Simms, Graham Johnson, and Ryan Ratcliffe, dropping to eleventh position in the process, but a red flag situation on lap five of the race involving William Burns at Becketts, ended the race prematurely.

“I didn’t make the best of starts off the line because my revs were too low and there was a lot of action at the first corner,” said Guggiari. “Once I got my head down, I managed to set some competitive lap times which put me back into contention. Overall I’m really pleased with the moves that I made on my championship counterparts.”

“We have set a very good foundation ahead of tomorrow, so I would like to think that we could challenge for a podium before the weekend is over.”

Constanduros said, “I made a very good start and exited copse for the first time in seventh position. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite close enough to the top six to benefit from slipstream on the first lap of the race, and gradually started to lose the tow and momentum.”

“In general I didn’t quite have the pace today and this saw me drop back to 11th which is slightly frustrating, but we start race two in a similar position tomorrow and I’m looking forward to getting back out on track.”

Round 17 of the Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge will get underway tomorrow, Sunday, 9th September, at 09:20, followed by round 18 at 17:10.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.