GT5 Challenge Saturday Round-up: Hadfield Wins Three Way Thriller


Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com

Ryan Hadfield ended Saturday with the Ginetta GT5 Challenge race win after starting in fourth and staying out of trouble in the first corner incident. The result allowed Shane Stoney to extend his championship lead as problems befell his nearest rivals at Rockingham.

Qualifying

The early qualifying pace was set by Lewis Brown and R. Hadfield. The pair would keep each other in check as the session progressed on. Both headed into the pits at the half way point to debrief and find free space.

This time out would cost them positions, with the R + J Motorsport driver losing places to Shane Stoney and Oliver Wilkinson.

The #69 of Wilkinson would pull out a slender advantage, but decided to pit with five minutes remaining. Ultimately, this didn’t affect the Optimum Motorsport driver who despite coming back out almost immediately, was quickly back into the pits as a yellow flag, caused by Sami Saarelainen held up his rivals.

Wilkinson thus took pole by a mere 0.032 seconds from Stoney, with teammates Brown and Hadfield behind that. The third row was populated by Simon Traves and Adrian Campbell-Smith.

Race One

Polesitter Wilkinson quickly saw his day go from hero to zero with a disastrous start dropping him to fifth. As he was attempting to get his momentum back, he collided with Campbell-Smith and a number of other drivers dropping them to the back.

The resulting carnage saw Max Bird caught up in the incident, forcing the race one winner into retirement. In terms of championship battles, this gave the momentum to Shane Stoney who was now third.

The safety car that had appeared to clear Bird, eventually pulled in allowing Brown to take the lead from R. Hadfield. The top three would pull away leaving Traves to worry about the field behind.

As the race settled in, it became clear that Hadfield was the quicker driver taking the high line going into Deene hairpin. It became last of the late brakers with Hadfield simply driving around the outside of Brown, followed by Stoney half a lap later around the outside of the chicane.

Brown would not accept second though, responding with an incredibly late braking move into Tarzan one lap later.

Hadfield would take the flag though, tenths ahead of Brown and Stoney, the latter of which extends his championship lead due to Bird’s retirement. Almost three seconds back, Traves took a lonely fourth with Toth-Jones and Luke Pinder rounding out the top six.