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Category: Ginetta GT Supercup

Carl BreezeCarl Breeze, the reigning Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Champion, made the perfect start to his title defence for Total Control Racing at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 30th/31st March, by taking an impressive win during the opening round of the 2013 season.

Although the remainder of the event wasn’t as fruitful for the Kings Lynn driver, Wednesbury-based TCR also celebrated podium success for Jamie Orton and Mark Davies as all three drivers confirmed their front-running pace and championship credentials.

Breeze produced a remarkable start to the first race of the year on Saturday afternoon, rocketing from fourth on the grid into second place by the first corner and then profiting from a slight mistake by team-mate Orton at Druids Hairpin to grab the lead which he never relinquished.

From there the champion’s weekend tailed-off to some degree, retirement from race three a bitter blow, but he did post a top six finish in round two to ensure a strong haul of points to begin his 2013 campaign very competitively.

Orton’s second season in the Ginetta GT Supercup began spectacularly on Saturday morning when he claimed his maiden category pole position for round one. Unfortunately losing the lead to Breeze on the first lap, Orton slipped to third on lap four but remained there to secure a deserved podium.

Starting round two from third place on the grid, Orton quickly moved into second to make it a TCR one-two at the front behind Breeze and managed to pass for the lead on lap five. Although losing the lead around mid-distance, and then slipping to third, Orton bagged his second podium on the trot. In race three, the streak ended when contact pitched him into retirement on the second tour.

Davies, embarking on his first season as a TCR driver, was an uncharacteristic ninth in race one but mounted a strong podium challenge in round two. Climbing into the top six by lap three, he grabbed fifth before a Safety Car period and then made his way into third before slipping back to fifth again.

In stark contrast to the fortunes of his team-mates, Davies enjoyed his best result of the weekend in round three. Running in fourth early on, he moved into the podium positions on lap two and then ran in second for several laps before claiming a deserved third place.

“We definitely showed we’re strong this weekend”, said team principal Lee Brookes, “Jamie putting it on pole was superb and Carl’s win in the first race was a great start for us. Even with everything that happened with the various incidents, it’s been a good weekend and to have Carl, Jamie and Mark on the podium at the first event of the year shows what we can do.”

Smith takes career-best in Renault UK Clio Cup
In the Renault UK Clio Cup, which was also in action at Brands Hatch this weekend, Rob Smith took not only his best result yet in the one-make saloon car category, but also a significant haul of points to get his 2013 bid off to a terrific start.

Delivering a career-best qualifying performance, the sole TCR entry lined up a tremendous eighth on the grid for both of the weekend’s races – a mere 0.256 seconds outside pole position for the first encounter. Racing well to a ninth place finish in round one, race two was the undoubted highlight.

Making a terrific start, climbing into the coveted top six, Smith dropped behind the experienced Stefan Hodgetts to seventh but regained the position following a mistake for the latter a few laps later. Holding sixth well despite incredible pressure from multiple race-winner Hodgetts, Smith didn’t put a wheel wrong to finish sixth and lap within only 0.2 seconds of the quickest time of all.

“In the first race I think Rob was a little bit cautious, still a good result, but in the second race he proved what he could do and that’s what we want to see more of”, said Brookes, “He was under all that pressure from Stefan [Hodgetts] and didn’t crack, he drove a superb race. Full credit to him, I really hope he keeps this up for the rest of the season.”

Pair of top 10 finishes for car racing rookie Pointon at Oulton
As well as TCR’s commitments at Brands Hatch this weekend, the team was also in action at Oulton Park International Circuit in Cheshire on Saturday, 30th March, for the opening three rounds of the 2013 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

Callum Pointon, making his car racing debut, enjoyed an impressively strong rookie weekend and after qualifying 12th fastest, the 18-year-old went on to claim three excellent points scoring finishes – including a brace of coveted top 10 results.

In round one, the Cheddleton racer moved into eighth on the opening lap and remained there until the final tour when an unfortunate moment dropped him to a nonetheless impressive ninth. In race two, Pointon remained 12th throughout in a largely uneventful encounter but round three was more action-packed and he battled through well from 13th into the top 10.

Veteran racer Neil Delargy, going into his first full season with TCR, produced a best result of ninth during the second of the three races having battled through impressively from 13th on the grid. In race one, the Acton driver had to mount a strong recovery following a moment on lap two but he fought back to claim a deserved top 15 result.

In the third and final encounter of the weekend, Delargy made a great start and moved up from ninth into seventh place. Alas, his hard work was undone on lap two when an excursion dropped him to the tail of the 24-car field but he notably recovered into the top 16.

“I’m chuffed with what Callum has done this weekend”, said team boss Brookes, “To get top 10 results on his first weekend was very good, he hasn’t had the testing so it was always going to be a tough weekend but he did a great job and better than expected. Neil had some bad luck but we know he’s much quicker than this weekend’s results show, he’ll be strong at the next one.”

TCR will be back in action three weeks from now, on 20th/21st April, with its Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and Renault UK Clio Cup squads at Donington Park in Leicestershire. The team’s Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge drivers will be back on track on 4th/5th May at Rockingham.

Pepe MassotSpanish teenager Pepe Massot stunned the established order in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 30th/31st March, by claiming a remarkable maiden win during only his, and the Hillspeed team’s, second race in the category.

Graduating with the Hathersage squad from the Ginetta Junior sister series, where he made his car racing debut in 2012, the 17-year-old from Barcelona really has taken no time at all to master the infinitely more powerful Ginetta G55.

“Pepe did a fantastic job this weekend, we couldn’t have asked for more from him”, said Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “He’s been on the pace from the off, he was very competitive in qualifying and to win in only our second ever race in this championship was just incredible really.

“Everyone at the team has worked incredibly hard as well and they deserve a lot of credit. To have competed against, and beaten, well established Ginetta GT Supercup teams on our debut is as much as we could have hoped for.”

Impressing in his first Ginetta GT Supercup qualifying session on Saturday morning with the fifth quickest time, a mere 0.3 seconds shy of pole position, Massot climbed as high as fifth in the opening encounter and raced strongly before having to settle for sixth five laps from the finish.

Round two, though, was where the Hillspeed youngster really made his mark, first slicing through from sixth on the grid into fourth and then taking third on lap three. Following an early Safety Car period, Massot set about challenging reigning champion Carl Breeze and on lap 12 he made the breakthrough to move into second place.

Then, only two laps later, the Spaniard got alongside race leader Jamie Orton and moved ahead to take a memorable lead. Pulling a second clear by lap 17, Massot did come under increasing pressure during the closing stages but delivered a drive showing maturity beyond his years to fend off the chasing pack and sail to a remarkable debut victory.

Round three, on Sunday afternoon, produced another great performance from Massot and early on he was well on course to make it two podiums in as many races. Lining up fourth on the grid, the teenager carved his way through to second and was just 0.6 seconds behind former Hillspeed driver Tom Ingram – who won the 2010 Ginetta Junior title for the team – into lap two.

At Graham Hill Bend though, an attempted pass by Breeze pushed Massot out onto the grass and the loss of momentum dropped him to fifth. Up into fourth prior to the appearance of the Safety Car at the start of lap four, when racing resumed Massot held station but was bundled back to seventh before the conclusion.

Double points finish for Ginetta Junior rookie White
The weekend’s action at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit also marked the car racing debut of Hillspeed newcomer Josh White, the 16-year-old karting graduate making his Ginetta Junior Championship bow after winning a scholarship established in connection with the Derbyshire team.

Qualifying 12th fastest for the first race, just 0.4 seconds shy of the top 10, the Ilkley youngster’s second best time was consistently strong and placed him on the sixth row again for round two of the season – this time little more than 0.1 seconds outside the top 10.

In the season opener on Saturday afternoon, which took place in slippery conditions, White dropped to the tail of the field at the start but recovered to battle over 12th place by mid-distance before settling for 13th position. In the televised second round on Sunday, he posted an improved 11th place finish to cap an encouraging first weekend.

“Josh had a huge amount to learn at Brands Hatch but he didn’t disgrace himself at all, he listened to everything we told him and he made some positive steps forward”, said Ollerenshaw, “He kept out of trouble and, importantly, finished both races which is the target we set before the weekend.”

Hillspeed’s Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and Ginetta Junior squads will be back in action three weeks from now, over the weekend 20th/21st April, at Donington Park in Leicestershire. Before then, the team’s Protyre Formula Renault Championship outfit will make its first race appearance of the year for the opening two rounds of its 2013 campaign – also at Donington Park – on Sunday, 14th April.

2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Driver Standings (after Rd3)
3rd Pepe Massot, 69pts

2013 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd2)
12th Josh White, 18pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Carl BreezeTotal Control Racing will field its strongest ever driver line-up in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup this year, it is confirmed today, with the announcement reigning champion Carl Breeze will return to defend his title – joining G50 Cup class title winner Mark Davies and rapid front-runner Jamie Orton.

Just days away from the opening three rounds of the 2013 season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, the Wednesbury team is delighted to confirm a three-car assault on the British Touring Car Championship support category as it aims to retain the title memorably won by Breeze last year.

With Breeze, Davies and Orton all having the capability to battle for the overall crown in their respective Ginetta G55s, TCR team principal Lee Brookes is relishing the new season and a potential challenge for both driver and team silverware.

“Hopefully we’ve got the strongest team, we’ll have to wait and see”, said Brookes, “We’ve got the G55 Champion from last year, the G50 Champion from last year and Jamie’s back as well – it really is a great team. We won it having missed the first three race meetings last year, so this year could be even better.

“I’ve worked with Carl for a few years now, he’s always up for the fight but he won’t have it easy as everyone will be out to beat him – in fairness though, he’s never had it easy, he’s always had to fight really hard. Working with Mark, I could tell straight away he’s up for it as well and so is Jamie, to be honest, so at some stage this season we could have a chance of a one-two-three on the podium.”

Brookes added: “This is definitely the best team we’ve had in GT Supercup for sure. All three guys just need to work together to have the best season they can, obviously they’ll all want to beat each other and they’ve all got the same kit so we’ll see which of them can have the best year.”

Kings Lynn driver Breeze proved a very popular champion last year, having been tantalisingly close to securing the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup crown during the previous two seasons. His sensational title victory was all the more noteworthy having had to overturn an early season deficit of well over 100 points – his first title success since winning the 2001 Formula Renault UK Championship.

Davies, who was the first driver to conclude a 2013 deal with TCR, made an outstanding debut in the premier G55 Class during the season finale last year by winning two of the three races. His march to the G50 title was unstoppable with 14 victories and a total of 21 podiums, from 23 races contested in the class, enabling the Huddersfield driver to wrap-up the championship one event early.

London-based Orton, who originally announced he would be competing with a rival team this year, has already taken the decision to return to TCR and will undoubtedly benefit from the experience of his title winning team-mates. Last season, his first full campaign in the Ginetta GT Supercup, was one of highs and lows with more than his fair share of misfortune, but the speed is undoubtedly there.

Rounds one, two and three of the 2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup will take place this weekend, 30th/31st March, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. TCR will also have its Renault UK Clio Cup squad in action for the opening two races of its campaign, running category returnee Rob Smith who was an impressive sixth fastest overall during official pre-season testing at Silverstone last week.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.