David Pittard converted pole position into victory in the first Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Silverstone, seeing off a challenge from Brad Bailey to score his first win the championship.
Pittard’s quest for a victory was aided on the first lap, a mistake from second placed started Thiago Calvet allowing the Hertfordshire based driver into a healthy lead at the end of the opening lap with Brad Bailey slotting into second after starting third on the grid.
I had a cracking start,” Pittard told theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “My main objective was, because I knew Brad would be quick off the start as well, was to get as big a gap as possible so I was on the limit on the cold tyres for the first lap and pulled a good gap and break the two which I think is pretty important around here. I tried to keep my head down but unfortunately I was lacking a little bit of speed so Brad caught me and put me under a lot of pressure.”
There was also lap one drama for Will Burns. The driver, who won all three races at Rockingham, picked up damage trying to battle through the Club chicane. Contact – though apparently minor – caused the bonnet on his Academy Motorsport car to lift round the high-speed Grand Prix track, the problem eventually severe enough to force him into a brief pitstop that dropped him to 20th before fighting through the slower traffic to finish 15th.
His exit from the front battle of the race left Oli Basey–Fisher, Luke Davenport and Clive Richards in a battle for third. Davenport took third from Richards at Brooklands on lap four before both men started to gain on Basey-Fisher as the time ticked away.
That battle was given greater currency by the increasingly tight fight at the front. From a peak of just over two seconds Bailey clawed back onto the tail of Pittard’s SV21 car, searching for way into the lead at Brooklands on first the inside and then the outside on consecutive laps.
Pittard’s defence bought him a handful of car lengths as he closed the door on Bailey’s attempt to pass on the inside at Luffield, but the seven tenths advantage Pittard enjoyed across the line proved to be only brief respite as Bailey closed in again for another passing attempt under braking at Brooklands.
He took to the inside this time, placing at least his two left-side wheels off the road trying to find his way into a gap. However, there was contact and while Pittard continued Bailey spun down to fifth before making a mistake a Luffield on the penultimate lap that ended his race in the gravel trap.
“There was the tiniest bit of contact,” Pittard described the attempted move for the lead. “He just threw it up the inside, he was four wheels on the grass and took out the bollards but luckily the contact just nudged his nose round rather than my rear so I got away from it, it was a lunge really.”
Now fighting over second in the closing laps Davenport dived Basey-Fisher at The Loop only to lose the place again at Copse at the start of the following lap. Davenport finally made the pass for good only a few corners from the checkered flag, taking the position at Village to stand on the second step of the podium with Basey-Fisher third.
Stuart Pearson dominated the G20 class with none of the dramas of the fight for the overall victory. Instead the G20 battle was for second place, Gary Simms harassing Nick Zapolski. Though he briefly lost the position to Simms at Maggotts before retaking it on the Hanger Straight it was a mistake – spinning at The Loop that cost Zapolski a chance at the class podium as he finished fourth in class with Brian Murphy taking third behind Simms.