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Category: Ginetta Championship

Diego GuggiariScuderia Vittoria’s Ben Constanduros and Diego Guggiari took positive strides forward in their TOTAL Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge campaigns this weekend (4/5 August), at Norfolk’s renowned 2.969 mile Snetterton 300 circuit.

The pairing, both in their first season of racing in the series that supports the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, started the weekend well, immediately at home with the G40 machinery on their first attempt at the technical 300 layout.

Qualifying for the weekend’s two races saw WTCC commentator, Ben Constanduros, edge into the top ten on his return to action after missing the Cadwell Park meeting due to commentary commitments in Curitiba, whilst despite suffering a clutch issue for the majority of the session, Guggiari was able to bank one fast lap of 2 minutes 13.969 seconds to complete the session in 13th position. Second fastest times from the session would see Constanduros and Guggiari line up in 12th and 20th respectively.

With monsoon rain over the circuit, the TOTAL Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge got underway in wet conditions. Constanduros immediately placed himself on the attack as the lights went out, and having overtaken three cars into the first corner and a fourth at the hairpin, Constanduros would complete the first lap in sixth position with Guggiari in ninth after a good opening lap also.

As the race progressed, Constanduros soon came under increased pressure from Rick Parfitt Jnr, and despite showing real determination to defend the position to seal his best finish in the championship to date, Parfitt would edge his way past followed by the recovering G40′s of Lee Mowle and David Barker, leaving Constanduros to settle for ninth at the chequered flag.

Despite making a solid start to the 20 minute race, Uruguayan Guggiari was left unable to halt the charge of Brad Bailey, and would complete the first race of the weekend in 11th position as the track started to dry out, affecting the set -up of the car.

Race two would see the pack of Ginetta’s take to the track in dry conditions, and as the lights went out it was Guggiari who shone on the opening lap, working his way through the field from 20th position to complete the first lap in tenth, meanwhile Constanduros weary of the incoming cloud approaching the circuit, fought his way up to a creditable fifth.

The Scuderia Vittoria challengers remained on the move but as the race went on Constanduros soon found himself in a tussle with Rick Parfitt Jnr for sixth position, causing the renowned commentator to miss his braking point at Riches, leaving him wide on the grass and only able to recover to eighth position by the finish line.

After displaying the outright pace that he possessed at Snetterton over the course of the weekend, Guggiari brought home his Ginetta in tenth position to seal another top ten placing to add to his recent collection.

“This weekend has definitely been a very positive one, it’s been my strongest weekend to date in the series,” said Constanduros. “Scuderia Vittoria have had the car running very well and we have dealt with the tricky conditions out there very well together.”

“We share a very common goal of moving forward and I’m really looking forward to moving on to Silverstone now as it is a track that I know very well, I think that the results will be very strong.”

Guggiari remained pleased with the way that his weekend had gone despite being unable to show his pace in Free Practice during qualifying.

“Our pace was very strong in testing on Friday which was very encouraging,” explained Guggiari. “It was great to be back racing with Scuderia Vittoria this weekend but unfortunately the rest of the weekend didn’t go quite to plan. I am however looking forward to heading to Silverstone where I believe that I can really push for some top six finishes.”

The TOTAL Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge will now move to Silverstone for more bumper-to-bumper action in five weeks time on 8/9 September.

For more updates throughout the race weekend, please like Scuderia Vittoria’s Facebook page or follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Diego GuggiariNext Wednesday Diego Guggiari is traveling to England, where this Friday will begin his 2012 sporting activity at Oulton Park for the first round Ginetta GT5 Challenge Championship.

On Friday the IRWIN driver will have 7 rounds of training of 25 minutes each. The uruguayan must adapt himself to the circuit where he already tested on February 29, and also to an 0km car where Diego and Scuderia Vittoria will have hardwork to set up for Saturday qualy.

“Anxiously I’m looking forward to this Friday and getting started with the Scuderia Vittoria team. It´s not easy at this time knowing how I´ll qualify, but my strategy in classification will be going step by step”.

On Saturday Diego will have a qualify session of 20 minutes at 10:40am UK time, followed by 3 final races. First race starting at 13:05 (UK). Second one at 15:10 (UK) both of 15 minutes (8 laps approx.) and then the last race will be starting at 17:55 (UK) of 20 minutes (approx. 10 laps). The finals will be on Saturday because Sunday is “Easter Sunday”.

“For the races, strategy will be clear different from the one used during the qualy. It´s a must for me staying on track until the end, and all efforts will be headed to finish in points area. I´m focus on the Championship and in spite of this every race is a final race for me”.

Diego GuggiariScuderia Vittoria will challenge for the teams championship with Uruguayan Diego Guggiari who recently tested at Oulton Park. The 24 year old has been racing in South America since 2008, but will move to England full time to take part in the 2012 Total Quartz Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

Team boss Piers Masarati is excited about expanding to another championship, saying; “We are delighted to announce our campaign and we hope to use this as a platform to build a successful 2012. This series is a nice stepping stone to BGT for our drivers. Following our debut season success in British GT, Clio Cup and Porsche club championship with 14 race wins in 2011, we hope to achieve much the same in 2012.”

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.

Mark Davies and Sean Huyton shared the wins at Oulton Park today, Saturday, in the opening rounds of the Ginetta Challenge in their Ginetta G40s. Gary Simms won both races in the G20 class.

Davies took the win in the opening 20-minute race but retired from race two after contact with Clive Richards at Island Bend. Huyton starred taking the win from sixth on the grid.

Race one
Mark Davies (Optimum Motorsport) qualified on pole position for the opening race and darted away from the opposition to lead Mike Robinson (TCR) into Old Hall Corner. Behind ran Richard Sykes (HHC Motorsport), Clive Richards (Colards Motorsport), Ryan Ratcliffe (Piranha Motorsport) and Phil House (HHC Motorsport), but House moved ahead of the Welshman at Hislop’s.

Tree surgeon Richards moved up to third at Old Hall while House moved ahead of his team-mate Sykes at Cascades, who in turn started to feel the pressure exerted by Sean Huyton (Academy Motorsport). The Ormskirk driver wriggled past Sykes while Ratcliffe had a spin at Knickerbrook, which dropped him to 16th place. House needed to take the grass in avoidance and he, too, lost time.

Up front, Davies led but Robinson was caught by Richards for second place, the former Caterham champion snatching second at Shell Oils Corner. Once ahead, Richards tried to catch Davies who was 8.5 seconds up the road, but the gap was too great. Behind Robinson, Huyton set the fastest lap and was closing on Robinson for third.

Behind the leading quartet, Sykes and House engaged in a fierce fight for fifth place, Sykes keeping the former Volkswagen champion at bay until the end.

Davies ran out the winner by 6.9 seconds from Richards with Robinson third ahead of Huyton, Sykes and House.

The battle for honours in the G20 class, for the older 1800cc open-top cars, was as frantic as ever. Stuart Pearson led but was immediately under pressure from Gary Simms (Optimum Motorsport) and Matt Flowers. When Pearson ran wide at Cascades on lap four, Simms moved himself in to the class lead but was chased to the end by Pearson, while Flowers fell back behind some of the slower G40s.

Race two
Davies made a good start from pole position to head the field into old Hall, but Sykes braved it out on the outside diving into the first corner. Eventually, Sykes ran wide and lost ground allowing Clive Richards and a quick-starting Sean Huyton ahead, while Sykes regrouped in fourth spot. His team-mate Philip House was in trouble, though, as he coasted out of Britten’s and into retirement – a fuse blew which in turn supplied the majority of the power to the dash. House was out on the spot.

As Davies led, Huyton was the star turn: he bagged second place at Cascades on lap two from Richards and then charged after Davies. He caught the leader on the run to Hislop’s and a stunning move around the outside gave him the race lead. Davies tried to stay with him but he was caught by Richards and Robinson, despite Davies having impressive car speed out of Old Hall, which lap after lap allowed him to close on Huyton.

Matters came to a head on lap six when Davies, Richards and Robinson tried to go three-wide towards Hislop’s. They survived but a lap later Richards and Davies went side-by-side into Island Bend but, with only room for one car, Davies ran off the road and into retirement.

That allowed Huyton to bag the win with Richards and Robinson repeating their race one finishing positions of second and third. Sykes took fourth ahead of Scotsman Rory Bryant (Piranha Motorsport), with Ryan Ratcliffe in sixth.

“The team gave me a really good car today,” said Huyton. “It was a great race and I have to say thanks to Mark (Davies) because he gave me room when I challenged for the lead. This is a great result!”

While Huyton was a clear winner in the G40 division, the G20s were won by Gary Simms after a very hard fight. Matt Flowers led initially but Simms found himself boxed in behind a number of G40s. Having worked his way on to the tail of Flowers, light rain for a couple of laps made the track difficult. The treaded tyres on the G20s allowed Simms and Flowers more traction than the slick-shod G40s, and they were able to move up the overall order but Simms finally usurped Flowers for the class lead. On the last lap, though, Simms lost third gear and needed to make the car extremely wide to keep Flowers behind him.

“I went into Old Hall and found neutral, not third,” explained Simms. I found fourth and came out of the corner but Matt had the speed on the last lap and I really had to work to win that one!”

Richards’ two second places give him a one-point championship lead over Huyton with the next brace of races at Snetterton on May 14/5.

Sean HuytonAughton racer Sean Huyton came within one hundredth of a second of a podium finish in the penultimate round of the Ginetta Cars Texaco Havoline Championship at Brands Hatch.

The 19-year-old claimed two fourth place finishes at the Kent circuit, finishing just 0.03 and 0.01 seconds behind third in races one and two respectively.

Both results enabled Huyton to close the gap on fourth placed David Jackson in the championship to just 18 points with two races left.

September sunshine illuminated the Kent circuit for both races and Huyton climbed from eighth place on the grid to fifth place after just two laps of race one.

He continued to press and his determination and superb lap times were almost given the perfect reward at the chequered flag with a podium finish. But he finished less then a tyre width behind Andrew Richardson.

In race two Huyton was involved in a four-way fight for the lead all the way to the chequered flag, finishing less than half a second behind the winner.

However the dramatic four-way finish at the line separated him from a podium finish by just a matter of inches.

Sean said: “I thought I couldn’t get any closer to that elusive podium place, but in race two I managed to do that!

“The points have given me a good chance of finishing the season in fourth place overall, hopefully the two places today are a subtle hint.

“The improvements in the car since Silverstone have made the difference and I know my pace and car are able to challenge for a podium and even a win.

“I’d like to again thank my increasing number of supporters for coming along to Brands Hatch and look forward to seeing everyone in Belgium for the final meeting.”

Sean’s next race and final meeting of the season will be at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium on 3rd and 4th October.

Mark Davies scored two more wins and the Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship crown at Brands Hatch yesterday. The Yorkshireman came out on top of a four-way battle in race one and had a slightly easier time in race two to claim the title with two races to spare.

Qualifying

A single qualifying session was held of the cars to determine the grid places for both races. Dominic Pettit had topped the time by seven-tenths of a second in free practice from Mark Davies and Matt Bell making his Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit debut third fastest. George Murrells suffered a hefty off at Westfield but was able to repair the car in time for qualifying.

Davies looked likely to secure two pole positions as he had the top two times under his belt as the chequered flag was prepared. However, a storming last lap from Pettit allowed him to sneak ahead by just 0.283 of a second with Davies’ best time giving him pole for race two. Andrew Smith took a brace of thirds with Bell fourth on the grid for both races. After his damage, Murrells found himself on the back row for both races.

Race one

As the lights went out, Pettit made a slow start from pole position and fell to third place on the run to Paddock Hill Bend, although retaliated to grab second at Surtees as the cars, headed by Davies, plunged down to Hawthorns for the first time. Davies led at the end of the lap from Pettit with bell third from Smith. Behind them, a gap had opened up before David Jackson and Russell McCarthy rounded out the top six.

Smith, needing to outscore Davies to keep his championship hopes alive, was inspired: he battled up from fourth to first on the second lap, securing the lead with a bold move approaching Stirlings to head Pettit, Bell and Davies over the line. With Davies and Bell battling, Smith started to edge away from Pettit for the race lead, while Russell McCarthy took fifth around the outside of David Jackson at Paddock, the pair being pressured by Sean Huyton and Andy Richardson in another fierce four-way fight.

Pettit clawed back the time lost to Smith to challenge again on lap four but ran wide at Druids allowing Smith to extend his lead and to give Davies a chance to challenge for second place with Bell snatching third at Graham Hill Bend. All of that allowed Smith to extend his lead as Davies, Bell and Pettit traded places behind him. Pettit, though, wasn’t done and charged back up to second place on lap six and with clear road ahead of him set the fastest lap of the race to close on Smith.

With the clock ticking towards the end of the 20-minute race, places were changing at almost every corner: Pettit lost second to Bell who made an inspired move to leap from fourth to second exiting Paddock, but Davies regained second place at Surtees. Pettit then made another push and grabbed the lead on lap 10 with Smith falling to third.

It all came to a head on the last lap: Pettit led Davies and the two were side by side approaching Hawthorns. They ran alongside each other through the corner and through Westfield, too, but as Pettit ran wide, forcing Davies to go even wider, Smith made a run up the inside. The three cars overlapped into Sheene Curve …. and only two survived. Smith was off the road (“I got Dominic-ed!” he would say later) and Davies led a battered Pettit and Bell. Matt had the run approaching Clearways but there was more contact as Pettit tried to defend ended up in the tyre wall, Bell being caught up in the melee and spinning into the gravel. That left Davies clear in the lead as Bell dug himself out of the gravel to take second. “I was in a good position after the incident at Stirlings,” said Matt, “but then I just got driven off the track.”

If it had been tight at the top, the fight for the new third place was even more so: Huyton and Richardson emerged from the last corner side by side and Richardson squeaked ahead by 30-thousandths of a second to take the last podium place ahead of Huyton, McCarthy and Jackson.

Other notable drives came from George Murrells who despite his damage fought up to 11th and the battle for penultimate place fell to Ginetta’s Jamie Robinson in his first outing of the season who held off racing rookie Syd Coombes by just a tenth of a second after a race-long place swapping duel. Coombes, on his first visit to the demanding Grand Prix circuit, raced well and equalled his second-best result of the season in 14th place.

Race two

After his driving standards in race one deemed not to have been compatible with general safety, Dominic Pettit was excluded from the event meaning the outside of row one was empty for the second 20-minute race.

Davies, with his eyes on the championship and an eighth race win, grabbed the lead away from the lights to head the pack into turn one. Smith slotted into second place with Matt Bell third from a charging Sean Huyton keen to score his first podium finish of the season.

Bell grabbed the lead at Paddock on lap two but Davies repassed Matt a corner later at Druids as the leading quartet pulled clear of the pack. Bell and Davies continued to argue over the lead but Smith regained his momentum and attacked Bell for second place. That he achieved on lap four and set off in pursuit of Davies, the two scrapping for the lead. Davies always seemed to have the upper hand to hang onto the lead to take his eighth win – and the title – as he crossed the line.

Davies won by just a tenth of a second from Smith with Bell third. Huyton ran on the pace of the leaders to take fourth, although was never quite fast enough to mount a challenge for the podium, but he finished well clear of Freddie Hetherington and Andy Richardson.

Emily Fletcher had a spin exiting Graham Hill Bend mid-race and a second one whilst tussling with Syd Coombes but she still secured 13th place after Coombes lost time in the same incident. However, Syd achieved a better lap time than he had in race one proving that he was becoming more confident with the challenging circuit on his first visit. Ahead of them, a fine fight for ninth went the way of jeweller Mark Wania who had Jamie Robinson and Matt Flowers all over him like a rash as they crossed the line.

Davies, though, can head to Spa pressure-free for the final two races. “That win has sorted the championship for me so I can just go and enjoy Spa now. It has been a great season, really enjoyable.”

Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2009 Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship will take place over the weekend of October 3/4 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

After round 14, the top six in the championship are: 1 Davies 451, 2 Smith 361, 3 Pettit 286, 4 Jackson 228, 5 Huyton 210, 6 McCarthy 187.

Mark Davies has headed the Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship since Oulton Park, but the gap is shrinking as the series heads to Silverstone this weekend.

Davies has been an impressive newcomer to the Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship this season. The former Renault Clio racer made his Ginetta debut at the end of last season and was bang on the pace, carrying that same form into this year’s main championship. A win came at Oulton Park, another at Rockingham, followed by one at Knockhill and Snetterton meaning that at each event he had bagged a race victory. Then came the unthinkable: he failed to score a win at Donington Park. Whilst Davies’ points tally is still enough to keep him in the lead of the title race, he is now just 26 points ahead of Andrew Smith. With 37 points available for each race, that means Davies is on the back foot for the first time all season. Expect him to fight back at Silverstone this weekend but life won’t be easy.

Smith took a win at Rockingham and then again at Snetterton to move himself into contention. Granted, he struggled for pace in the second Donington round but should go well at Silverstone – like Davies he has scored in every race so far this season but, unlike Davies (and nearest pursuer Dominic Pettit), he hasn’t been docked points for driving standards offences. That means that everything Smith has scored, he has kept.

Pettit has been the only double-winner of the season when he took two fine victories at the rescheduled Donington meeting in July. Pettit, who raced at Silverstone in Formula Palmer Audi in the summer, is 50 points adrift of Smith, but two wins (plus points for pole and fastest lap) could draw him back into contention this weekend.

Ranged against the top three in the 1800cc, Ford Zetec-engined, Leeds-built cars are the ever-improving David Jackson (enjoying his best season to date), racing rookie Sean Huyton and former Volkswagen racer Alex Dzuirzynski. All three have the pace to run at the front as does another who improves race by race: George Murrells. He made an inspired tyre choice at Donington and, had the track dried quickly enough, could have bagged a win. As it was, third was his best result of the season.

Others that can’t be ignored are Julian Barratt and Russell McCarthy, both of whom have the pace to run at the head of the field, but have been in the wars for myriad reasons this season. Add in Matt Flowers, Peter Dignan and Freddie Hetherington and the scene is set for two more superb races. With a fast and wide circuit like Silverstone, this should be a perfect venue for two crucial races in the championship.

The cars have a free practice session on the Silverstone International circuit at 10.25 on Saturday August 15 with qualifying coming at 13:10. Race one is on Saturday afternoon at 16:45 with race two on Sunday at 11:50.

Sean HuytonAughton’s Sean Huyton continued an impressive first season of car racing, despite having a car land on him during the eighth and ninth rounds of the Ginetta Cars Texaco Havoline Championship at Donington Park last weekend

The teenager came away with ninth and fifth place finishes despite dramas in both races.

The results consolidated his fifth place in the championship and closed the gap to fourth, with three events remaining.

Racing under the Academy Motorsport banner, he qualified sixth and eighth for the two races, as the showery weather made a lottery of the Saturday session.

In race one a dry spell of weather led to almost perfect conditions in which Huyton produced a good start and by lap three had climbed to fifth place.

He held on to his position until four corners from the end of the final lap. Close rival Freddie Hetherington made a reckless overtaking move as Huyton turned in to the corner.

The inevitable collision catapulted Hetherington in the air, landing on top of Huyton’s car before bouncing to a rest in the gravel trap.

With major damage to the rear of his car, Huyton bravely continued, crossing the line in ninth place before coming to a stop just after the finishing line.

A superb effort by the mechanics gave Huyton the chance to enter the second race and the 19-year-old thanked them in impressive fashion.

Heavy rain left the track damp for race two and a last minute decision to go on wet tyres proved wise, as Huyton was bumped off the dry racing line and to the wet outside of the track as he battled his way up the field.

On lap three he took one bump too many and the result left him in 11th place.

This proved the catalyst for a superb performance as he passed six places in the next nine laps,  three places on one lap and finish in deserved fifth place.

Sean said: “I was extremely disappointed with the first race as fifth place was mine. It was a silly overtaking move by Freddie, but luckily I was able to finish with some points.

“The team did a great job fixing the car and I hope the fifth place showed them I appreciated their efforts.

“I’d like to thank all the people who came for their uplifting and continued supporting, particularly my dad and Ade and Neil Ashworth for their help fixing the car.”

Academy Motorsport boss, Matt Nicoll-Jones, said: “Sean proved he has the ability and confidence to overcome disappointing results.

“It looks like he could make a fight of fourth place in the championship, something that would make his debut car racing season very remarkable.”

Sean’s next race will be at Silverstone on 15th and 16th August. Find out the Silverstone race results first at seanhuytonracing.blogspot.com.

Dominic Pettit’s Dominant Motorsport squad more than lived up to its name at Donington Park over the weekend, 18th/19th July, with the Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship rookie easing to a brace of very comfortable race wins.

As the first driver this year to win both rounds on any given race weekend, the Ginetta Junior graduate has certainly confirmed his place as a genuine threat to title rivals Mark Davies and Andrew Smith over the remainder of the 2009 season. Third position in round nine and second place in round 10 mean Davies leads the driver standings by 26 points.

Meanwhile, George Murrells secured his first ever category podium with a superb drive during the second outing, in which he also posted the fastest lap of the race.

Qualifying
During Saturday’s qualifying session it was Smith who led the way by securing pole position for rounds nine and 10 with laps of 1m21.584 seconds (86.36mph) and 1m21.668 seconds respectively.

Davies was second fastest to line-up alongside his main championship rival on the front row for the first race with Murrells third on the grid ahead of Pettit, Julian Barratt and Sean Huyton. Car racing debutant Matt Bell, younger brother of highly successful international GT racer Rob, posted an impressive 10th fastest time during his maiden Ginetta qualifying session.

For the round 10 grid, Smith was joined on row one by Pettit with Barratt and Davies third and fourth and Alex Dziurzynski and Murrells on row three.

Race one
Davies made a good start to round nine and looked as though he would be able to perhaps take the lead from Smith but the pole-man held on through Redgate with Murrells close behind the pairing in third place. Into Coppice, Davies nipped past Smith to lead but Pettit got a run on all of them along the Dunlop Straight and managed to seize first place at Goddards.

Further behind, a multi-car tangle at the Old Hairpin resulted in retirement for Russell McCarthy and Dziurzynski while also causing front-left damage to the car of unfortunate rookie Bell – the latter forced to pull out of the race after pitting.

The incident led to the appearance of the Safety Car but at the re-start on lap six, Pettit made a good getaway to pull away from Davies with Smith third and Barratt mounting a challenge on Murrells to grab fourth place at Redgate. Barratt really had the bit between his teeth and after shadowing Davies and Smith, he passed both into Goddards at the end of lap six to climb into second.

Pettit, meanwhile, continued to extend his advantage at the front and he would eventually take the chequered flag on lap 12 almost four seconds clear of his nearest rival.

On lap eight, second place went back the way of Davies after he produced a good move on Barratt into Redgate and the latter then slipped back one more spot when Smith grabbed third position into Goddards. Smith then completed a good final flourish by taking second from Davies at the last corner on the final tour, lap 12.

Fourth position went to Barratt, his best finish of the year, with Murrells taking fifth ahead of David Jackson after an incident at Goddards, just yards from the chequered flag involving Huyton and Freddie Hetherington where the latter’s car launched over the rear of Huyton’s Ginetta.

While Hetherington ended up in the gravel trap, Huyton managed to limp across the line in ninth place, mere 10ths of a second ahead of Emily Fletcher and just behind Harry Whale who was 12 seconds down on Andrew Richardson in seventh.

Winner Pettit said: “As soon as I managed to get clear of (Mark) Davies and (Andrew) Smith I planned to get into a rhythm, stick to my line and bring it home but then the Safety Car came. I wasn’t all that bothered about that though as I think I’ve probably experienced more Safety Cars than anyone else in the championship, as we haven’t had any in G20 this year.

“The re-start worked well, I had space to breathe, and then everyone started squabbling with each other so it helped me even more to pull out a big gap. The car felt good, we have had some problems with it losing power this year but we think we’ve solved that. “

Race two
With a damp track welcoming competitors ahead of round 10, there was an even start for front-row qualifiers Smith and Pettit although the pole-sitter held the inside line tightly running down to Redgate to maintain the lead. On the exit of the corner though, Smith ran wide which allowed Pettit to get a good run through into first place at Hollywood.

Smith then ran wide again at McLeans which opened the door for Barratt to take second but into Goddards, Smith hit back and then Davies followed him through to push Barratt back to fourth. Pettit, meanwhile, was serving up a repeat of his race one speed as he pulled well clear at the front.

At the end of lap two, Davies took second from his chief title rival while behind, McCarthy was the man on the move after getting ahead of Barratt and then Smith for third place as the race headed into the third tour. By the end of lap three, McCarthy had managed to get past Davies for second to seal an incredible couple of miles of racing for him.

While the battle for the second and third steps of the podium was fiercely contested, the fighting simply enabled Pettit to focus on making no mistakes and pressing on to a comfortable winning margin of just under six seconds at the chequered flag on lap 15.

By lap nine Davies was second ahead of McCarthy, Jackson, Smith and Murrells – the latter beginning to enjoy his decision to gamble on running slick tyres in the hope the track would dry sufficiently. As the only driver to weigh up the risk, Murrells’ bravery started to reap rewards which ended up with his biggest prize of the season, a maiden podium behind Davies.

As the race entered its closing stages, Smith dropped away more and more to an eventual seventh place result while Barratt was forced to retire on lap 12. Murrells, meanwhile, had better fortune and he took third from McCarthy at the Old Hairpin on the penultimate lap.

Fifth position went the way of the battling Huyton, a terrific recovery by the car racing newcomer following an enforced lap one excursion into the gravel at Redgate. Dropping him to the tail of the top 12, Huyton produced a climb back through the order certainly worthy of note. Dziurzynski, meanwhile, finished in sixth place ahead of Richardson, Smith, Hetherington and Jackson.

Speaking on his race two drive, Pettit said: “I think our performance this weekend is proof of what we’re capable of, especially as a team as we’re new to this championship. We’re doing a great job against teams with a lot of experience so that’s obviously good. After this weekend, there’s no reason I can’t catch the guys ahead in the championship.”

Murrells, reflecting on his maiden podium, commented: “It was a really fun race as I was the only driver on slicks. I think I was about 12th coming off the first corner and then, when the tyres came in, I was about two seconds quicker than everyone else which was great. If I can pick up a few more podiums this year, or even a win, it’d be amazing.”

Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2009 Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship will take place four weeks from now over the weekend 15th/16th August at Silverstone in Northamptonshire.

Provisional 2009 Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship Positions (after Rd10):
1st Mark Davies, 307pts; 2nd Andrew Smith, 281pts; 3rd Dominic Pettit, 230pts; 4th David Jackson, 174pts; 5th Sean Huyton, 141pts; 6th Alex Dzuirzynski, 126pts