Carl Breeze took victory in the first race of the final round of the Ginetta G50 Cup season at Brands Hatch Indy on Saturday, keeping his hopes of chasing down series leader Frank Wrathall alive.
Breeze started the race on the front row alongside polesitter Tom Sharp. Sharp beat Breeze to pole position by just 0.018 seconds. Benji Hetherington qualified third, ahead of Chris Dittmann and Freddie Hetherington. Wrathall qualified in sixth place. Guest driver Dave Newsham had qualified eighth, but was unable to start the race due to engine problems, which came about after a trip through the gravel in qualifying.
Sharp made a great getaway to lead Breeze into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. At Surtees, several cars came together, resulting in retirement for Adam Morgan and Aaron Williamson. Phil Broad and Joachim Ritter were also involved, the latter dropping back having spun on the grass in avoidance.
With Williamson's car stranded, the safety car was deployed, with the race not being restarted until lap eight. Breeze inherited the lead of the race on lap five though, as Sharp slowed. At the restart Breeze held onto the lead, keeping Benji Hetherington at bay. Benji kept with Breeze for the remainder of the race, with Dittmann just behind. Breeze retained the lead until the checkered flag, setting the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record in the process.
Benji Hetherington finished half a second behind Breeze, with Dittmann completing the podium just 0.6s further back. Wrathall finished in fourth after passing Freddie Hetherington at the start of lap 10. Mark Davies finished sixth, ahead of Julien Draper and Dan Denis. Ritter and Broad recovered from the incident on the opening lap to finish in ninth and tenth respectively.
Breeze, who closed the gap to Wrathall in the standings to 46 points with his win, said: “It’s been so close this weekend but it’s great to win. Tom got a better start than me because of the situation with the lights but I felt I was catching him until the safety car came out. I knew he had a problem with his car in qualifying though and something went wrong again for him in the race which is obviously a shame for him – I know how that feels as I’ve had my fair share of troubles this season which have cost me a lot of championship points.
“I got a reasonable re-start and controlled things from there really. Benji was quicker than me in some parts of the track and I was faster in others so it was a case of hitting all of the apexes and making no mistakes. We’ve pulled back some points on Frank today, it’s not really enough but you never know – it could all change tomorrow but it’s in the lap of the gods!”