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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.

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.

Carl Breeze - Silverstone Ginetta GT PodiumTotal Control Racing’s Carl Breeze is firmly in contention for the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup title going into the final three rounds of the 2012 season a fortnight from now after securing his fifth win of the year at Silverstone National Circuit on Sunday, 7th October.

Enjoying a hugely successful weekend, Breeze – who prior to rejoining the Wednesbury team for the fourth weekend of the season at Oulton Park was some 118 points behind in the driver standings – is now tied on points with long-time series leader Tom Sharp and just two behind on ‘drop scores’.

Beginning the first of the Silverstone races on Saturday, 6th October, from sixth on the grid after a very closely contested qualifying session, Breeze made a blistering start to climb into third place by the first corner. He then took second on lap 13, again at Copse, where he remained to the finish.

Lining-up on the front-row of the grid for round 24 on Sunday, the TCR racer again rocketed away from the line with a perfect start and grabbed the lead into Copse. Building an advantage of more than two seconds by mid distance, Breeze then eased to a 1.6 second winning margin and only missed out on the fastest lap by less than 0.1 seconds.

“That was exactly what we needed”, said Breeze after his race two victory, “We were quick in testing and we kept the car the same for qualifying, I think we just picked up too much rear grip and had too much understeer which put us back in sixth place. Saturday’s race was fantastic, I managed to get three drivers off the start – it was a rocket getaway, looked like I had KERS in the car!

“Winning race two was fantastic, we had so much pace in the car and I have to say special thanks to my engineer Kenny and all the boys at TCR. I call Kenny the Harry Potter, he’s a magician with the car and can solve any problems. We just need to go to Brands focused, we’ve got the momentum.”

Team-mate Jamie Orton, meanwhile, had a mixed weekend. Excellent pace in qualifying wasn’t, unfortunately, rewarded when the first year Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup racer went off the circuit at Luffield on lap three of the opening race while challenging for the top six. With his Ginetta G55 sustaining a blown engine, the London-based driver elected to sit out Sunday’s action.

“Carl’s done a superb job this weekend”, commented TCR team principal Lee Brookes, “We couldn’t have asked for any better from him this weekend, two fantastic races. We knew we could pull back some of the deficit coming back into the championship mid-season but to pull the amount we have with three races to go is incredible.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Carl BreezeEven though six races still remain in the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup, Total Control Racing has been officially confirmed as 2009 Team Champions in its debut year in the category with almost double the points of its nearest rival.

With the results from this past weekend’s Silverstone National Circuit races now declared final, TCR has scored an outstanding 1,000 points from the 22 rounds completed so far and cannot be caught over the remaining events at Rockingham in Northamptonshire and Brands Hatch in Kent.

To date Carl Breeze has taken seven race victories and seven other podiums for the team and is currently third overall in the driver standings, even though his entire season looked in jeopardy at Oulton Park in May when his car was T-boned at high speed by the unsighted Mark Proctor.

Team-mate Fulvio Mussi has been a consistent front-runner all year but his true breakthrough came at Knockhill in Scotland last month when he achieved his maiden Ginetta G50 Cup podium in the first of the weekend’s races, triggering a run of three successive visits to the rostrum. He is currently fourth in the championship.

Danish racer Joachim Ritter joined the TCR fold prior to the second event of the season at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, his arrival bolstering the squad’s attack. Improving markedly throughout the year, Ritter secured a season-best sixth place finish during round 20 at Knockhill to add to a string of consistent top 10 results. At present, he is a highly creditable 10th in the driver standings.

Winning the team’s title at its first attempt in the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup is a terrific achievement for Wednesbury-based TCR, team principal Lee Brookes commenting: “We’re absolutely delighted with the official confirmation we’ve won the team’s championship with two meetings to go. It’s a great result and shows what an excellent job our three drivers and the entire team has done.”

TCR will be back in action just over a fortnight from now, 19th/20th September, with rounds 23, 24 and 25 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup and rounds 17 and 18 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup taking place at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit in Northamptonshire.

Provisional 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Standings (after Rd22):
Drivers: 3rd Carl Breeze, 547pts; 4th Fulvio Mussi, 377pts; 10th Joachim Ritter, 227pts
Teams: Champions – Total Control Racing, 1000pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

TCR’s Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup squad had a tricky time at Silverstone National Circuit today with both Carl Breeze and Fulvio Mussi struggling with engine-related power issues which ultimately cost both the chance of a potential podium result.

For title challenger Breeze, a strong run to fourth place was a good result all things considered while Mussi had to call on all of his defensive nous to keep a train of cars behind him for almost the entire duration of the 21st round. Better fortune went the way of the team’s Danish driver, Joachim Ritter, who produced one of his best drives of the year to take a very competitive ninth place.

Breeze lined up fifth on the grid for this afternoon’s G50 Cup encounter and although getting away from the line well, he found himself boxed in on the inside run to Copse behind Chris Dittmann and so lost a place to Tom Sharp.

It didn’t take the TCR ace long though to get into the top four where he remained to the chequered flag, pressuring Dittmann for the podium throughout while at the same time defending his top four placing well from the attentions of Sharp.

Mussi made his Yourracingcar.com backed machine as wide as possible to hold on to seventh place with a terrific effort and in doing so he increased his points cushion in fourth place in the driver standings. Ritter, meanwhile, secured his 12th top 10 result with an impressive drive, gaining two places on his starting slot of 11th position and also moving into ninth in the championship.

“We’re definitely lacking some straight-line speed with Carl and Fulvio, we think there’s an engine issue with both of their cars so we need to get that looked into more deeply”, said Brookes, “Taking that into consideration, Carl did a great job to take a fourth place away today and Fulvio defended fantastically to take seventh place after he received yet more contact – he did very well.

“Joachim set some impressive lap times today, his ninth place was a good finish and especially with the fact we had a much bigger grid of cars this weekend. He’s improving more and more and picking up his pace nicely. We’re disappointed not to have been on the podium but the key thing is to get the power issue sorted for Carl and Fulvio so we can be back on top.”

TCR has three races to look forward to tomorrow, Sunday, 30th August, with round 22 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup getting underway at 10.10 and round 16 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup following at around 12.00. The rescheduled 11th round of the Ginetta G50 Cup will take place at approximately 15.55. Please check listings for details of live television coverage on ITV4.

Three great wins by Carl Breeze at Snetterton have given him his second wind in the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup as the championship heads to Knockhill this weekend.

A difficult weekend for championship leader Nathan Freke, couple with three wins for Carl Breeze on his home circuit, have thrown the Michelin Ginetta G50 Championship wide open. Freke struggled in Norfolk with mechanical dramas in his Century Motorsport-run car allowing TCR’s Breeze to put himself back into contention in the championship.  Arriving north of the Border, just 17 points split the two and with 11 races to run, it could be anyone’s title.

Breeze, remember, began the season style with a brace of wins at Brands Hatch and Thruxton before Freke got the hang of the G50 and banged in three wins at Donington Park. He followed that with a win in the sole race at Oulton which marked a turning point of Breeze’s season: a major accident in race two destroyed his car (and the ensuing race-stopping delay led to the cancellation of the race). Lee Brookes and the team at TCR did a grand job to have Carl back on the grid a fortnight later although he was forced to miss the third race. But the perfect weekend on home ground at Snetterton has turned the title race upside down.

A frustrated Freke needs to score wins at Knockhill to edge clear once again, while Frank Wrathall, a winner at Brands Hatch at the start of the season plus Croft in the summer, can’t be ignored either. Wrathall lies third, just 60 points away from Freke but drove a superb race at Snetterton to chase Breeze home and should be on the pace here, too.

Add in the rapid young-guns Tom Sharp and Fulvio Mussi plus Chris Dittman and there is plenty of great racing to be found in addition to those slugging it out for the title. Hampus Rydman has enjoyed some great fights with Joachim Ritter this season, while Colin White has been the pick of the bunch in the Chairman’s Cup for the over 40-year-olds. Mind you, former banger racer-turned-National Hot Rod multiple champion White has been in the wars a little this season and has given his team more than the occasional repair to do.

So get set for action. On a circuit like Knockhill there is no room for error and this weekend could be critical in deciding this season’s champion. Can Breeze storm ahead?

Qualifying begins at 11:50 on Saturday August 15 with race one (over 16 laps) starting at 15:20. Sunday’s races are both longer at 24 laps each and blast off at 09:55 and 14:00.

Carl Breeze taking Rd17 G50 Cup winWest Midlands-based Total Control Racing made this weekend’s race meeting at Snetterton its own after another incredible outing today, Sunday 2nd August, with further wins in the ELF Renault Clio Cup and Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup.

After winning rounds 15 and 16 of the Ginetta G50 season yesterday, King’s Lynn driver Carl Breeze made it a perfect hat-trick this afternoon with a very well deserved success in round 17 to eat into the championship lead of chief rival Nathan Freke.

In the Clio Cup, meanwhile, car racing rookie Sam Tordoff took a memorable debut victory under huge pressure from series leader Philip Glew, category front-runner Andrew Herron and team-mate Alex MacDowall to cap off an unbelievable weekend for the Leeds-based youngster.

For round 17 of the Ginetta G50 Cup Breeze started from pole position, his third of the weekend, with TCR team-mates Fulvio Mussi and Joachim Ritter eighth and 10th on the grid respectively. At the start, Breeze immediately moved into the lead but he had to fight hard throughout with Frank Wrathall applying serious pressure for the duration of the 18-lap encounter.

Mussi produced perhaps his best drive of the 2009 campaign with an excellent climb through the order into fourth place, just a couple of seconds shy of a maiden podium, while Danish racer Ritter battled through a weekend of sickness to post a fine 11th place finish.

Round 14 of the Renault Clio Cup provided one of the best rookie performances of the season with Tordoff converting his first ever pole position into a lights-to-flag victory. Holding off the vastly experienced Glew for the full 16 lap duration, Tordoff looked completely in control and the win has enabled him to climb into the championship top eight.

MacDowall, who won Saturday’s 13th round, consolidated the runner-up spot in the championship with a fighting fourth place while Mike Robinson ran in a fairly lonely fifth position all the way through. Daniel Lloyd came back from a disappointing qualifying day on Saturday to take a hard fought 11th place finish and remain inside the series top 10.

Speaking on his first win, Tordoff said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to be on the top step of the podium, it’s a great feeling. We’ve been fast in practice all year but never quite got it together in qualifying when it mattered. This weekend we were second on the grid yesterday and on pole today, it just makes things so much easier when you start at the front. To be on the podium on Saturday was a huge relief and I think that gave me the confidence to lead from the front today.”

Reflecting on the entire team performance in both G50 Cup and Clio Cup this weekend, TCR team principal Lee Brookes commented: “Sam’s win in Clios was absolutely superb and added to Alex’s victory on Saturday and Carl’s three wins in the G50 Cup, it couldn’t have been much better for the team. Five wins from five races across two championships is outstanding, we’re delighted.

“In Clios, I’m confident we have a team now where any one of the four drivers can win. Alex, and now Sam, have both won races and Daniel and Mike have shown they each have the pace to do the same. We’re still not sure what the problem was for Daniel in qualifying but we’ll sort that out.”

Brookes added: “In Ginetta, Carl had a terrific weekend and he pulled a massive gap back to the championship leader. We can definitely still win the title. Fulvio drove a blinder today as well, he’s proven this weekend he can run with the podium drivers. Unfortunately Joachim wasn’t feeling too well all weekend but he still did a good job. Now we’re looking forward to Knockhill in two weeks.”

TCR’s next track action will come with rounds 18, 19 and 20 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup which will take place at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland a fortnight from now, 15th/16th August. Two weeks on from the Knockhill event, the ELF Renault Clio Cup will reconvene with the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship package at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend 29th/30th August.

Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd14):
Drivers: 2nd Alex MacDowall, 326pts; 5th Mike Robinson, 215pts; 8th Sam Tordoff, 186pts; 10th Daniel Lloyd, 155pts
Team: 2nd Total Control Racing, 624pts

Provisional 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Standings (after Rd17 – Rd11 yet to be rescheduled):
Drivers: 2nd Carl Breeze, 446pts; 5th Fulvio Mussi, 251pts; 10th Joachim Ritter, 170pts
Teams: 1st Total Control Racing

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Carl Breeze - G50 Cup Rd17Multiple Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup race winner Carl Breeze continued his outstanding rise back into championship contention at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk this afternoon, Sunday, 2nd August, by sealing a hat-trick of victories in front of a partisan home town crowd.

Having won the 15th and 16th rounds of the 2009 season yesterday, Saturday, 1st August, the Total Control Racing driver fended off a charging Frank Wrathall during this afternoon’s encounter, screened live on ITV4, to claim his seventh victory of the year.

With championship leader Nathan Freke not having the most straight-forward of weekends due to his car developing some electrical gremlins, Breeze’s faultless performance throughout the event means he has slashed Freke’s points advantage in the driver standings to just 17 points. When the series arrived at Snetterton on Friday, Freke’s nearest challenger was Wrathall some 52 points adrift.

“It’s fantastic to win all three races this weekend, especially at my home track – it just makes it all that much sweeter”, said Breeze at the end of round 17, “Frank (Wrathall) made a great start and he was with me the whole race. Down the back straight he was getting such a good tow on me and I had to be so late on the brakes into the Esses to keep him behind.

“I felt I had the race under control but it was the hardest of the season so far. These results were definitely what we needed. After Croft we all felt pretty sad and knew we had a mountain to climb this weekend but we managed to do a great job to capitalise on the championship leader’s problems and fire a warning shot that we’re back where we should be.”

Wrathall, who Breeze acknowledged as having had one of his best ever races in Ginetta G50, didn’t allow the local driver to have everything his own way by applying serious pressure for the duration of the 18 lap race. Breeze didn’t make a single mistake though.

At the start Breeze rocketed away from the line while Wrathall, who was fourth on the grid, also made a tremendous getaway and he moved ahead of front-row starter Christian Dick when the latter ran wide at Sear Corner. Further behind as the race reached the Esses, Freke took fourth place from Chris Dittmann while Hampus Rydman rounded out the top six.

Freke, who with the help of Ginetta technical officials managed to cure the problems which seriously compromised Saturday’s races, made his move into the top three at Sear on lap two at the expense of Dick. At the front, Breeze continued to keep Wrathall a sufficient distance behind but the Dynojet racer didn’t give the leader any room for error.

For several laps nothing changed at the front until a third of the way through the race when Fulvio Mussi found a way past Tom Sharp to take sixth position. On lap 11, fourth placed Dick lost any chance of fighting for another podium when a spin at the Esses dropped him down the order.

On lap 15, it was Dittmann’s turn for problems when he dropped to sixth place behind Mussi and Sharp but he managed to remain ahead of Dick, Ben Hetherington, Rydman and Chariman’s Cup winner Colin White to the finish. Danish racer Joachim Ritter, meanwhile, did well to claim 11th place having suffered all weekend with a major dose of nausea.

Breeze took the win on lap 18 by just eight 10ths of a second from Wrathall with Freke a further two seconds adrift in third place. Mussi equalled his season’s best of fourth position just under a second clear of Sharp.

Speaking after the race, Wrathall said: “It was a tough weekend and, unfortunately for us, Carl (Breeze) has been ultra quick. I just couldn’t manage to find a way past him but to finish second today is a good result, I’m pleased with it.”

Series leader Freke, for whom the weekend was very much damage limitation after his car problems surfaced during testing on Friday, commented: “I want to say a massive thank you to Ginetta for the help they gave us in sorting out the electrical problem with the car before today’s race. It’s been a very tough weekend but to end it back on the podium is good, especially for our championship.”

The British Touring Car Championship race package makes its annual visit north of the border to Knockhill Circuit in Scotland a fortnight from now, 15th/16th August. As always, the timetable will feature great racing action from the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup with the 18th, 19th and 20th rounds of the campaign taking place.

Provisional 2009 Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd17; Rd11 to be rescheduled):
1st Nathan Freke, 463pts; 2nd Carl Breeze, 446pts; 3rd Frank Wrathall, 403pts; 4th Christian Dick, 325pts; 5th Fulvio Mussi, 251pts; 6th Tom Sharp, 236pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Carl Breeze - G50 Cup WinnerSnetterton Circuit in Norfolk proved to be a very happy hunting ground for crack motor racing squad Total Control Racing earlier today, Saturday, 1st August, with the team winning not only round 13 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup but also the 15th and 16th rounds of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup.

On a simply outstanding day for the Wednesbury-based outfit, Carlisle teenager Alex MacDowall claimed his third victory of the year in an action-packed and rain-shortened Clio Cup encounter and he was also joined on the podium by rookie team-mate Sam Tordoff, the Leeds racer taking his first ever podium with a superb second position and backing it up with the fastest lap of the race.

After taking pole position for round 13 with a fastest time of 1m17.872 seconds (90.23mph) during this morning’s qualifying session, at the start of the race MacDowall made a textbook start to lead as light rain started to fall and threatened to make conditions very tricky indeed.

Behind, championship leader Philip Glew managed to get ahead of Tordoff at the start – the TCR ace having qualified second on the grid – while Mike Robinson held on to his starting place of ninth.

For rapid rookie Daniel Lloyd, what started as a very positive weekend during testing soon became a luckless disappointment when he was punted out of the race at the first corner. Third fastest during the opening pre-event practice and then finishing sixth in session two, a tricky qualifying session placed him mid-grid but he was hit at Riches Corner and forced into an immediate retirement.

Following a couple of laps behind the Safety Car to enable Lloyd’s car to be retrieved, at the re-start MacDowall got away well and led in worsening conditions all the way to the Bomb Hole on lap 10 when Glew managed to slither past.

Less than a lap later though, Glew pushed too hard at the Esses to try and fend off MacDowall and got his car sideways as the TCR star moved ahead once more. He was followed through by team-mate Tordoff and the pair remained first and second to the finish on lap 14 when red flags were shown due to the increasing rainfall.

Therefore, the finishing order was taken from the positions on lap 13 which still meant MacDowall won, Tordoff was second and Robinson came through to finish in eighth position, also moving him up into the championship top five.

Commenting, MacDowall said: “The conditions were very tricky, the rain got quite bad as the race wore on and it was especially slippery at the Esses. When (Philip) Glew got by me I tried to get back at him as quickly as possible and at the Esses on the next lap he just went in too hot and I was able to get back ahead. I’m really pleased with our third win, the team did a great job with the car.”

Podium debutant Tordoff added: “It was a very hard race but I kept it all together and managed to stick with Alex (MacDowall) and Phil (Glew). It was a case of waiting for either of them to make a mistake really. We’ve had the pace all weekend and considering it’s my first year in cars, let alone in Clios, I think we’re doing a good job.”

Breeze returns to winning ways with memorable Snetterton double

Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup title challenger Carl Breeze was in totally dominant form at Snetterton today, taking three pole positions in qualifying for rounds 15, 16 and 17 of the season and backing them up with victory in the first two races.

After an unbelievably difficult couple of months, namely a huge accident at Oulton Park at the end of May and a subsequent crash at Croft in mid-June which did little to aid the healing process, Breeze arrived at his home track this weekend fully recuperated and immediately returned to winning ways.

Dominating qualifying, the TCR star pressed home his advantage with two fantastic performances in rounds 15 and 16 to close to within 27 points of current series leader Nathan Freke. Challenged fairly hard by Christian Dick in the opening encounter, the team mechanics made some changes to Breeze’s car for race two which he won by 11 seconds and in which he also posted a new lap record.

Team-mate Fulvio Mussi finished a fine fifth in round 15 after a good drive from eighth on the grid while in round 16 a potential career best finish of second place behind Breeze was taken away after Mussi was adjudged to have lined up in an incorrect position on the grid. Although taking the chequered flag in second position, a 10 second penalty was added to his time dropping him to sixth.

Danish racer Joachim Ritter, meanwhile, finished ahead of former British Touring Car Championship driver Charlie Butler-Henderson in ninth place during the first outing and managed another top 10 in round 16 to consolidate 10th overall in the championship standings.

Speaking after his double win, Breeze said: “It’s good to reward the TCR boys with a couple of wins and great to bounce back after the disappointments of Oulton and Croft. We made some changes to the car for the second race to find some more speed and the team deserves all of the credit as it gave us an extra three 10ths of a second. It’s been a great day, hopefully tomorrow will be too.”

Reflecting on TCR’s day in both the Ginetta G50 Cup and Clio Cup, TCR team principal Lee Brookes commented: “We’re absolutely made up with Carl’s two wins in the G50 races today, he performed very well indeed, and in the second race Fulvio did a great job as well. It was just a shame he was out of position on the grid at the start, he was gutted about that. Joachim had a couple of good runs too.

“In Clios it was a very bad day for Daniel, we’re so disappointed for him. On the other side of things Alex did everything right to win again and Mike took another solid finish. The day belonged to Sam though, out of all of the drivers I think he surprised people the most and to take his first podium and be on pole position for Sunday’s race is a great achievement.”

Round 14 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup is timetabled to take place at 11.55 tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd August, with round 17 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup set to begin at 13.35. Please check listings for details of live television coverage on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.

Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd13):
Drivers: 2nd Alex MacDowall, 302pts; 5th Mike Robinson, 195pts; 9th Sam Tordoff, 154pts; 10th Daniel Lloyd, 145pts
Team: 2nd Total Control Racing, 570pts

Provisional 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Standings (after Rd16 – Rd11 yet to be rescheduled):
Drivers: 2nd Carl Breeze, 410pts; 5th Fulvio Mussi, 228pts; 10th Joachim Ritter, 160pts
Team: 1st Total Control Racing

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Ginetta G50 Cup Rd16 PodiumTotal Control Racing’s Carl Breeze raced to a pair of memorable Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup wins at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Saturday, 1st August, to get his title challenge fully back on track and put two very difficult months firmly behind him.

Arriving at his home venue fully recovered – with the exception of a relatively sore foot – from the huge accident he was involved in at Oulton Park at the end of May, the Kings Lynn racer secured pole position starts for all three of the weekend’s Ginetta G50 races before going on to claim victory in rounds 15 and 16 this afternoon.

On a packed day for the championship competitors, Breeze controlled qualifying while chief title rival Nathan Freke suffered a problematic start to his weekend with flat-shift issues leading to a lack of pace. Nonetheless, the Century Motorsport driver managed to take a fifth place start for round 15 and a top four slot for round 16.

At the start of the first race, Breeze got away from the grid very well to lead with the impressive Christian Dick holding second position through Riches Corner after his best ever Ginetta G50 qualifying performance.

Behind the lead pair, Frank Wrathall made the most of an outstanding start from sixth on the grid to take third as the cars streaked down the ultra-fast Revett Straight while Chris Dittmann ran in fourth ahead of Freke. The unfortunate Tom Sharp, meanwhile, picked up bodywork damage and a puncture after opening lap contact which ultimately ruled him out of the race.

As Breeze tried to press home the advantage of being at the front, Dick tried to go with him and throughout the race there was very little to choose between them. The top two remained the same for the duration, Breeze eventually taking the chequered flag on lap 11 by just 0.305 seconds.

On lap three, Wrathall’s challenge began to fall away after he slipped to sixth at Russell Chicane but worse luck followed on the sixth tour when he was forced to pull off the track at Sear Corner with car problems.

After Wrathall’s original issue on lap three, Dittmann assumed the final podium spot and although he came under pressure from Freke he raced well to his second podium of the campaign. Freke pulled out a two second gap over Fulvio Mussi to claim a solid fourth position while Hampus Rydman rounded out the top six ahead of Chairman’s Cup class winner Colin White.

Speaking after his first win since round six at Thruxton, an ecstatic Breeze said: “I got a really good start and initially had enough of a gap to warm the tyres on the back straight. All credit to Christian (Dick), he drove a hard race but I knew he wouldn’t try any silly lunges. It’s good to reward the TCR boys with another win and great to bounce back after the disappointments of Oulton and Croft.”

Ahead of the weekend, Dick announced his withdrawal from competitive action in the G50 Cup to instead concentrate on team management. However, Speedworks Motorsport driver Richard Sykes was unable to make the journey to Snetterton due to business commitments so Dick stepped in.

He commented: “Second is a great result and we had a bit more up our sleeve too. I had a knock into Sear on the first lap so the car wasn’t 100 per cent, it was still great to drive though. There’s no pressure for me this weekend, with Richard (Sykes) unable to race the opportunity arose for me to step into the car and it’s been good to show we can be on the pace and do a very good job.”

Win number six for Breeze
Breeze’s performance in round 16 was much more dominant as he eased to an 11 second winning margin ahead of a very tight, and equally entertaining, five-way battle over the remaining podium positions. Dick and Dittmann were second and third respectively again with Wrathall fourth, Ben Hetherington taking by far his best result in fifth and Mussi rounding out the top six.

Mussi actually took the chequered flag in the runner-up spot after a storming second half of the race but he fell down the final classification after being handed a 10 second penalty for lining up on the grid out of position. Once more, White was the Chairman’s Cup dominator in seventh place overall.

During the early exchanges, Freke held second place ahead of Dick, Mussi, Wrathall, Dittman and Hetherington and the scrap gave Breeze all the opportunity he needed to pull out a sizeable gap.

Nip and tuck all the way through, on lap 13 the battle came to a head when Dick, Wrathall and Mussi exited Sear with nothing between them and the trio ran three abreast down the long Revett Straight making an absolutely awesome sight. Mussi, on the inside line, was able to sneak through into third at the Esses to demote Dick to fourth while Wrathall held fifth position.

Mussi was then quickly onto the tail of Freke but on the 15th tour the latter’s challenge fell apart following a spin at Russell Chicane, a great shame after a textbook defensive performance up to that point. He ended the race on lap 18 in ninth position while Mussi’s indiscretion at the start cost him a potential career best finish in the G50 Cup.

Speaking after round 16, Breeze said: “That was a really difficult race. We made some changes to the car which the TCR boys deserve all of the credit for as it gave us an extra three 10ths of a second and gave me the chance to pull away as they battled behind, it was tough though.”

Double third place finisher Dittmann added: “I’ve had three podiums now this year which is great but I’m still after that elusive first win. I got a bit blocked in at the start but then managed to make a few places up. I’m very happy with third and another podium, all good points for the championship.”

Racing returnee Charlie Butler-Henderson, making his first ever appearance in a Ginetta G50, took a top 10 finish in round 15 before ending the second encounter in 12th position.

The Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup is back in action at Snetterton tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd August, with the 17th round of the season – which will be shown live on ITV4 – expected to begin at around 13.35. Breeze will line up on pole ahead of Dick, Dittmann, Wrathall, Freke, Sharp, Rydman and Mussi.

Provisional 2009 Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Positions (after Rd16; Rd11 to be rescheduled):
1st Nathan Freke, 437pts; 2nd Carl Breeze, 410pts; 3rd Frank Wrathall, 373pts; 4th Christian Dick, 309pts; 5th Fulvio Mussi, 228pts; 6th Tom Sharp, 216pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.