Tom Ingram was in a class of his own during Round 16 of the 2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at Rockingham, utterly dominating the field to further extend his championship lead with a ninth win of the season.
With rain falling just before the race began, the drivers and teams were met with the tricky choice of whether to adopt wet tyres or not.
Ingram appeared to have made the right choice, the JHR Developments driver storming away from the start. Behind, there was nearly disaster as series newcomer Tom Oliphant stalled and Fergus Walkinshaw made a slow getaway, but fortunately everyone behind managed to avoid them.
Rob Boston retained second from the start, while Mark Davies briefly held third before he was passed by the fast-starting duo of Carl Breeze and Jamie Orton, the latter benefitting from the choice of wet tyres to storm through from fourteenth on the grid.
Breeze looked to challenge for second into Deene on lap two, however the reigning champion locked up and tagged the rear of Boston, spinning him round to the back of the field. Breeze meanwhile recovered in fifth behind Orton, Davies and Carl Boardley.
Boardley’s impressive run continued on the next lap, the former Hot Rod racer passing Davies into Deene for third, before benefitting from Orton running wide to grab second. At the next corner he threw his advantage away though, running wide and dropping to sixth.
Breeze emerged in second from Davies and Orton, though the latter pitted at the end of the lap with a problem, promoting Sean Huyton to fourth.
As a three-way battle developed for second, another three car fight brewed between Boardley, Andrew Watson and a recovering Boston. Watson nipped ahead of Boardley at Deene on lap twelve, with Boston looking to repeat the trick at Pif Paf, however he only succeeded in making contact, spinning Boardley around.
Watson was soon on the bumper of Breeze after an error at Deene put the TCR man all out of shape, dropping him behind Davies and Huyton. After a close couple of laps, the Irishman got his way ahead on lap sixteen.
Ingram meanwhile didn’t have to worry about seeing anyone in his mirrors. The champion-elect produced a stunning drive, lapping two seconds a lap quicker than anyone else in the early stages to lead by fourteen seconds after only five laps.
That lead was extended to an incredible thirty seconds at the finish, the dominant win ensuring that one strong finish at Silverstone should be enough to secure him the championship title.
Davies took second, while Huyton held off Watson late on to take third, a superb podium finish for the recently-crowned 2013 G50 champion on his debut in the G55 category.
Behind Watson, a robust move on the final lap at Tarzan saw Pepe Massot grab fifth, with the recipient of the move Breeze dropping to seventh behind Boston at the finish. Walkinshaw and Marcus Hoggarth were next up, the only remaining to end up on the lead lap, while Reece Somerfield completed the top ten one lap down.
Two laps down were Orton, after his pitstop, Matt Nicoll-Jones, an early gamble to move to wets backfiring as conditions improved, and Oliphant, another driver to pit with a problem during the race.
*Results are provisional at the moment, with stewards investigating a number of drivers. Check back soon for a revised report.
Provisional 2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd. 22 of 27):
1. Tom Ingram – 690pts
2. Carl Breeze – 518pts
3. Matt Nicoll-Jones – 431pts
4. Mark Davies – 426pts
5. Rob Boston – 372pts
6. Andrew Massot – 368pts
7. Andrew Watson – 294pts
8. Jamie Orton – 274pts
9. Carl Boardley – 262pts
10. Fergus Walkinshaw – 234pts
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/133703g50.pdf