Ginetta GT5 Challenge – Rockingham 2015
The Ginetta GT5 Challenge moved to Rockingham Speedway for their second meeting of the year over the weekend of 2nd & 3rd May. Arriving on the Friday for the official test day the weather looked like it was going to be mixed and definitely play a part in the weekend activities.
Friday testing went well for Team TCR with James Kellet and Callum Pointon setting the pace out front, with Ian Robinson not far behind and on a dry track it looked like the whole team would be competitive.
On Saturday morning greeted with a cold and windy, but dry day the team had a great opportunity to show what pace they can run. The drivers didn’t disappoint with James and Callum starting superbly with a one-two lock out in qualifying for the first two races, the former stamping his authority with a time 0.6 seconds faster than Callum’s best. With Ian running in 6th for most of the session, but getting nudged down to 7th on the very last lap by 5 thousands of a second. Unfortunately due to a small error during qualifying, pushing him into the traffic, Ian was only able to set one representative time and would start the second race from 11th position.
At the start of round four (race1) on Saturday, Callum made the better launch from the front row to grab the lead and he stayed ahead of James until lap two when the pole-qualifier moved back ahead. Pulling away instantly, James began to punch in a series of fastest lap times while Callum was edged back to third by Ollie Chadwick on lap four at Deene Hairpin.
During the second half of the race, Chadwick chipped away at James’s advantage and on the penultimate tour the TCR racer lost the lead after running deep at Deene. Re-challenging Chadwick as the race entered its final tour, James nosed back ahead on the run past the start-finish line and he went on to chalk-up his third win from four races, with Callum third.
Ian continued to impress on his return to racing this year with the seventh fastest time in qualifying and he delivered a similarly strong showing in the opening encounter. Although slipping to eighth on lap one, the IMC Managing Director moved back into seventh on lap two and then climbed into the top six on the next tour.
Improving his pace, Robinson looked very comfortable and although edged back to seventh again on lap seven he battled back into the top six once more on the 10th and final lap to secure his best result for the campaign so far.
On Sunday morning the team were greeted with heavy rain and high winds making round 5 (race 2) a very different encounter.
James made his pole position count in the wet leading Callum away from the line, and the TCR team-mates very impressively streaked away at the front with a truly dominant showing.
By the start of lap four, James already held a four second advantage over Callum who, in turn, was 5.2 seconds clear of the chasing pack. Completely controlling the race, James went on to claim an unchallenged fourth win of 2015, and also set fastest lap, with Callum securing an excellent second place some six seconds clear of third placed Chadwick.
Ian maintained his starting position of 11th on the opening lap before breaking into the top 10 on lap two, where he remained for the majority of the race. Although edged back to 11th place on the eighth and penultimate tour, the result marked another very assured performance.
Round six (race 3) wasn’t quite as fruitful for the TCR trio but at the start Callum again got the jump on his pole-sitting team-mate to lead. As the pack closed-up through Turn One, though, contact resulted in damage for Callum and he had to nurse his car to a top four finish.
James had a tight early battle with Luca Hirst during the first half of the race before eventually finishing second to Chadwick. Ian, meanwhile, found himself pointing in the wrong direction on lap one after contact but he battled through fantastically well from 32nd and last place into the top 14 by the finish on lap 12.
“We’ve had a great result this weekend, absolutely fantastic”, said delighted TCR team principal Lee Brookes, “Two wins from three, and second in the last one, is just what James needed to do and what we wanted to do. If it came to it, we said we’d settle for second in the last race to collect the points and come away leading the championship and that’s what he did.
“Unfortunately Callum got damage at the first corner, first lap, in race three and battled that all the way to the end but two more podiums for him and third in the championship is superb. Ian has done a cracking job all weekend; he’s coming on in leaps and bounds and getting stronger and stronger. We always knew we’d got two major front-runners this year, but Ian is getting there as well now.”
Next on the Ginetta GT5 Challenge calendar is a visit to Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, over the weekend 30th/31st May, for rounds seven, eight and nine of the season.
Provisional 2015 Ginetta GT5 Challenge Standings (after Rd6): 1st James Kellett, 176pts; 3rd Callum Pointon, 142pts; 8th Ian Robinson, 67pts.