Total Control Racing’s Mike Robinson was left to think about what could have been on Sunday as he was knocked out of the final round of the Ginetta Challenge championship by eventual series champion Sean Huyton.
After dominating qualifying by taking two pole positions, Robinson looked to be in good contention in both races until both turned sour – spinning whilst leading the first race and then being hit from second place in race two. To make matters worse, Robinson was unable to then make up for these lost chances when the third encounter was cancelled due to time restrictions at the Donington Park circuit.
The first race had started promisingly for Robinson after holding the lead from pole, but pressure from behind in the form of a three-car train caused him to spin on the exit of the chicane on the fourth lap of the race and falling back as low as twelfth position.
The frustrated Total Control driver then set about regaining all the time he had lose and impressively held fifth position by the time the chequered flag dropped, as well as the fastest lap of the race just to confirm what could have been.
In the second race of the weekend Robinson once again held the lead from pole and after a brief safety car interruption looked to build a gap from that of Huyton behind. There was a scary moment at the Melbourne Hairpin when Huyton made a very late lunge, although he ran wide on the exit and so no damage was done to Robinson’s Ginetta G40.
However, Robinson’s lead was short-lived as Ratcliffe swept past at Goddards – perhaps a little too easily. That was because Robinson had slowed for yellow flags that Ratcliffe had not seen, and for this infringement Ratcliffe was duly disqualified after the race.
Not knowing at this stage whether Ratcliffe was to be removed from the result, the Robinson continued with his sights set for a possible victory, but this was soon wiped from his mind when Huyton tried a similar move to that which he had tried two laps earlier, only for contact to be made between the two cars, and for both to spin hopelessly into the gravel, out of contention.
TCR team principal Lee Brookes was understandably gutted at the result, and indeed the season as a whole: “We’ve had eleven pole positions this year but only four race wins and that tells the story – the speed has been there but the luck hasn’t.”
“The first race was Mike’s own fault but the second race he was overtaken under yellow flags and then taken out by Huyton. We wouldn’t have expected that, he made a silly lunge twice and the second time he hit Mike.” He continued: “It’s sad for the season to end that way but we were the quickest out there this weekend so we [can] take satisfaction from that.”