Tom Ingram was the class of the field during the latest rounds of the 2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at Croft, the championship leader dominating the weekend to take all three race wins.
Alongside his victories, pole position and three fastest laps, plus a race three retirement for chief title rival Carl Breeze, made it a truly perfect weekend for the KX Akademy member, with his championship lead now extended to over 100 points.
Ingram led the way in pre-event practice on Friday and translated that pace in qualifying, taking pole position for the opening race by a huge 0.664 seconds from Breeze, with his fellow Ginetta Junior graduates Pepe Massot, Andrew Watson and Max Coates rounding out the top five.
Ingram produced a great start to the opening race to lead into Clervaux for the first time from Breeze, while behind, the quick-starting Watson was quickly up to third ahead of Rob Boston and Matt Nicoll-Jones, Massot and Coates slipping to sixth and seventh respectively on the opening lap.
The leader was two seconds clear by the end of the opening lap and never looked back, leading from lights to flag to take his third race win of the season. A four car battle developed for second, though Breeze held on throughout to take second, with Boston completing the podium for his second rostrum finish of the season ahead of Nicoll-Jones, both drivers having passed Watson on lap eight.
Watson eventually dropped two more places on the final lap to finish seventh, with one of those passing him being the man on the move during the race, Mark Davies. The reigning G50 champion passed Massot on lap six, the Spaniard having fallen behind Coates four laps earlier, before dispatching both Watson and Coates on the final lap to take fifth.
Coates, returning to the series for his first competitive race action for eight months, completed the top six, with Watson heading home Massot, Reece Somerfield and Colin White.
With the finishing order from race one forming the grid for race two, Ingram was once again on pole position and the SKYCIG-backed driver took full advantage in his newly-liveried G55, breaking away from the pack early on.
Ingram left Breeze behind to defend from his JHR Developments team-mate Boston, while an early change for fourth saw Davies pass Nicoll-Jones coming out of Clervaux on lap two. Both drivers hit trouble during the race though, with Davies spinning to the back of the pack on lap six, while Nicoll-Jones dropped down the order four laps later before retiring near the end.
Benefitting from their woes to move up the order were teenage racers Watson, Coates and Massot, the trio enjoying a great battle in the early stages. Massot passed Coates for seventh at Clervaux on lap five, with the Yorkshireman regaining the position at the Esses on lap nine, before going on to pass Watson at Tower two laps later to move into what was now fourth place.
As Ingram streaked home to take his second win of the weekend by a massive 18.011 seconds, the battle for second came to a head on lap ten. After narrowly missing out on taking the place at Clervaux, Boston squeezed his way past at Tower, going on to take his best result of the season so far to complete a JHR Developments and JHR Developments one-two.
Behind Breeze and Coates, Massot benefitted from a mistake by Watson at the hairpin on lap twelve to secure fifth, with Watson ending up seventh behind Carl Boardley, the CBM racer producing a fantastic performance to storm through from sixteenth on the grid after a late retirement in race one.
A chaotic battle for eighth went the way of the recovering Davies meanwhile from Somerfield and Dan Norris-Jones, with White having run in tenth late on until a penultimate lap fire.
The final race of the weekend proved to be the most action-packed of the three, with the reverse grid format and unexpected rain showers leading to lots of excitement for the trackside and television audiences.
With the top six reversed, Boardley started the race on pole position. The former Hot Rod World Champion produced a great start, however an overshoot at Clervaux saw him run through the gravel, leading to contact with Massot as he returned to the track, the latter retiring soon after.
Despite rear-wing damage, Boardley remained in the lead until Sunny In, when Breeze forced his way past, with Ingram following through. Breeze briefly held the lead, however Ingram slid past at Clervaux at the start of lap two.
Breeze went on to come to blows with Boston later in the lap, with the contact leading to retirement for the reigning champion. Boston maintained second until he was spun round by Nicoll-Jones a lap later at the Complex, Nicoll-Jones having stormed through the field from sixteenth on the grid.
In tricky conditions, Ingram showed superb composure to maintain the lead, with his win confirmed when the red flag was introduced on the penultimate lap after a huge late rain shower. Nicoll-Jones took second, while benefitting from a retirement for Boardley was Coates, the Yorkshireman securing third for his first ever overall Supercup podium.
Watson rounded off a tricky weekend in fourth, while British GT campaigner White took his best result of the season in fifth. Boston fought back to take sixth, while taking seventh was Davies, the TCR man fighting back himself from an early excursion.
The G50 class once again had just two competitors in it for the weekend, with championship leader Sean Huyton joined by series debutant Dan Jones. With the Richardson Racing driver unable to challenge for the wins as he acclimatised to the G50, Huyton enjoyed a comfortable treble win, taking a best finish of ninth overall in race three.
Provisional Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd.14):
- Tom Ingram – 428pts
- Carl Breeze – 326pts
- Matt Nicoll-Jones – 258pts
- Mark Davies – 254pts
- Pepe Massot – 243pts
- Rob Boston – 229pts
- Jamie Orton – 196pts
- Carl Boardley – 181pts