Tom Sharp continued his utter domination of the 2012 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup with his eighth win of the season in Round Nine, completing his perfect hat-trick of wins at Thruxton to increase his championship lead to over 100 points.
The reverse grid from Round Eight's results saw the top four switched, with Andrew Richardson set to start from pole. The Richardson Racing driver had to start from the pitlane though after emerging late for the start, with Hunter Abbott also starting there, whilst also missing from the grid was Fergus Walkinshaw with his team still working hard to fix his car after his race one crash.
Starting in front from second then was Josh Wakefield, however it was Tom Ingram who stormed into the early lead with a great start, Wakefield slotting into second ahead of Sharp. Century Motorsport's Wakefield made an early challenge for the lead around the outside at the final chicane, but Ingram fended him off to maintain his lead.
In the G50 class, Mark Davies led away from pole position ahead of Louise Richardson and Max Coates. After all getting passed by the G55 of Carl Breeze, the battle was able to begin between them for the class lead and fifth overall. Richardson stormed past her Richardson Racing team-mate Davies at Church to take the class lead on lap three, with Coates also getting past Davies at the Chicane later around the lap.
Behind, the recovering Richardson came up behind a battle between Colin White and Abbott at the chicane, the Richardson Racing driver sliding around the outside of both to take ninth overall and sixth in class, with Abbott also getting past White. Richardson's horrific bad luck this season continued a few laps later though, a mechanical problem forcing him to enter the pits for a prolonged period of time.
On track, after continuing to challenge Ingram early on, Wakefield began to fall into the grasp of Sharp, the championship leader working his way past on lap five, before starting to close on the leader.
Behind, a fantastic battle began to emerge for fourth between the Tollbar Racing with WIRED G55 of Breeze and the G50 of Louise Richardson, an inspired drive seeing the former Ginetta Junior race-winner challenging the more powerful car ahead.
Also starting to battle it out were Ingram and Sharp for the lead, with only a robust piece of defensive driving stopping Sharp from getting his nose alongside into Allard on lap seven. A lap later though Sharp was into the lead, an astounding move around the outside at Noble giving him the advantage.
Ingram looked to hit back early on but the reigning G50 champion was unable too, and soon his charge was halted when he slowed coming up Woodham Hill with a broken driveshaft. After a trip to the pits, he tried to return to the track and crawl round for some points, but he pulled off and retired soon after.
Ingram's retirement gave Sharp a gap to his closest competitiors, with Wakefield into second, a big gap separating him from Breeze and Richardson behind. Louise continued to stick with him until the final few laps, when she was passed by a flying Abbott, who got right onto the tail of Breeze ahead.
Clear in the distance was Sharp, who crossed the line for his seventeenth career Supercup win, 6.8 seconds clear of Wakefield, the former British GT driver picking up his third podium of the season. Breeze just held off Abbott for third, while a fantastic fifth overall, picking up her first G50 win of the campaign was Louise Richardson.
Second in the G50 class in sixth overall was Coates, the Yorkshireman finishing ahead of the G55 of White, with the G50 podium rounded off by class championship leader Davies in eighth. Marcus Hoggarth finished ninth after a last lap mechanical problem dropped him from seventh, with the G50's of Rob Gaffney and James Owen and the G55 of Andrew Richardson rounding out the finishers. Walkinshaw's repaired car had managed to join the race late, but he was not classified in the results after only completing ten laps.
Commenting on his incredible start to the season, Sharp told TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk: “We had it this way last year and I'm all too aware of how it ended up in the end. But we've got a much better car this year, in that it's much more adaptable, so when we go to a different circuit it's very close to being right from the off and we only need to make minor changes, with the car reacting in the right way. We feel like we know the car a lot better and I think that's what's doing to do us the most good by the end of the year.”
Provisional Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd.9):
- Tom Sharp – 310 points
- Tom Ingram – 195 points
- Carl Breeze – 192 points
- Hunter Abbott – 152 points
- Josh Wakefield – 138 points
- Colin White – 135 points
Provisional Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Championship Standings (After Rd.9):
- Mark Davies – 281 points
- Rob Gaffney – 239 points
- Max Coates – 236 points
- Louise Richardson – 188 points
- James Owen – 152 points
- Reece Somerfield – 84 points