Total Control Racing produced a mixed bag of results during the latest three rounds of the 2011 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at Knockhill, with Carl Breeze losing his championship lead after only picking up one podium in Scotland, while guest driver Marino Franchitti took a superb podium finish on his debut in the series.
Kings Lynn-based Breeze, championship leader heading into the weekend, started fourth on the grid for Saturday's Round Eighteen. Breeze got up to third early on but was unable to make any further progress so finished the race in the same position, meaning he still held a 26 point lead heading into Sunday.
For American Le Mans Series race Franchitti, the meeting marked his first appearance at home circuit Knockhill in over a decade. The Edinburgh racer improved his pace over the weekend and started eighth for the opening race, avoiding a lap two tangle ahead to take fifth place, which he held to the end.
Commenting on Saturday's race, TCR team principal Lee Brookes said: “Today was a good start to the weekend. Carl took another podium and that's exactly what he needs to do for the championship. Marino is getting quicker and quicker every time he's in the car and he did a great job, as we expected, this afternoon.”
Sunday's opening race saw sportscar ace Franchitti take ninth place after some closely contested action, before he really upped his game for the weekend's final encounter. Starting ninth, good early progress saw him into the top seven, before a charge at the end of the race saw him up to fourth by lap eighteen, before he hunted down third place and made a sensational late cut-back at the hairpin on the final lap to take the place and record a great podium finish.
Franchitti said: “The TCR guys have been unbelievable all weekend. It's been very hard with wet sessions, dry sessions and for me to just get a feeling for the car. We worked away, chipped away and tried some stuff and found quite a sweet set-up. I've really enjoyed the racing, it's been great.”
Breeze's day didn't go quite as well however, despite a solid fourth place finish in the day's opener. Lining up second for Round Twenty, a poor start dropped him to third, but he fought back at the Hairpin to regain the place. However at the exit of the turn, Breeze was tapped into a spin which sent him into the gravel at the outside of the corner.
Although able to recover to the track, Breeze was a long way down on the rest of the pack and made another trip to the gravel two laps later when his car mysteriously lost power, his race over in the process. Failing to score for only the second time this season, Breeze now sits second in the points, nineteen points adrift of the new leader.
Brookes added: “We're obviously really gutted for Carl. What happened in the third race was really unfortunate but he'll be back fighting at the front at Rockingham in a couple of weeks, I'm sure of that. Marino had a great weekend, he did a fantastic job and worked well with the team. He deserved at least one podium so we're delighted he managed it in the last race.”