A delighted George Murrells stormed to victory in Round 22 of the 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup at Rockingham, the Optimum Motorsport driver benefitting from troubles for rivals to take his maiden Supercup win in the series' first ever pitstop race.
The race entered the Ginetta history books as it was the first Supercup encounter to feature mandatory pit stops, the change in format coming into place as a precursor for the Ginetta GT Winter Cup in November. Starting on pole for the unique race was Carl Breeze, the grid formed from Round 21's finishing positions, meaning Nathan Freke joined him on the front row, with Adam Morgan and Tom Sharp next up and Murrells starting sixth.
A slow start for Breeze allowed Freke to pull into an early lead, with Breeze heading into Deene hairpin for the first time three abreast with Morgan and Sharp. It was Sharp who emerged in second, with Colin White nipping up the inside of both the others to take third after a sensational start, with Freddie Hetherington also getting ahead, leaving Morgan and Breeze settling for fifth and sixth respectively.
In the G50 class, Tom Ingram started at the front and managed to hold off a determined Andrew Richardson to take the early lead, with Aarom Williamson slotting into third. Ingram was soon on the back of the G55 pack, putting Breeze under immense pressure, the Total Control Racing driver having lost another place to Murrells.
Ahead, there was a change for the lead with Sharp sliding past Freke at Chapman Curve, the IDL driver pulling a small gap from Freke, who ran a comfortable second. The battle for third saw White lose out to Hetherington on lap four, before dropping two further places to Morgan and Murrells.
Lap six saw the first of the frontrunners attempt their pitstops, with Ciceley Racing's Morgan getting through comfortably, however there was to be disaster for Breeze, a problem with him jack costing him plenty of time, leaving him a lap down over his rivals.
Sharp was to pit from the lead a lap later, however he was to also have troubles, a painfully long pitstop, despite no indication of any problems , meaning he emerged from the pits behind Morgan, White and a pack of G50's. Back on track, new leader Freke was starting to get closed down by Hetherington and Murrells. Murrells pitted first, emerging ahead of Morgan, with Hetherington entering a lap later and exiting behind the two. Freke left it two more laps before he pitted and it appeared to cost him dear, the Century Motorsport driver just slotting into third ahead of Hetherington when he exited.
Reigning Ginetta Challenge champion Murrells controlled the remainder of the race and crossed the line for a stunning win, with Morgan picking up his fifteenth podium of the season in second, while Freke completed the podium to keep himself in title contention. Hetherington marked his return to the series with a great fourth, while Ingram took the G50 honours with fifth overall.
Andrew Richardson took sixth and second in the G50's, a positive result for his Richardson Racing outfit, with his sister Louise Richardson forced to miss the race due to damage and injury sustained in the weekend's earlier race. Fergus Walkinshaw was next up in his G55, ahead of Jake Hill, White and Williamson. The G50's of Lee Pattison and Jody Fannin finished next, with Sharp a disappointing thirteenth and Breeze a lap down in fourteenth.