Will Burns claimed a second whitewash of his 2013 Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge season by sweeping to victory in all three races at Spa-Francorchamps to close in on the points lead.
Championship leader Brad Bailey looked in the best shape to extend that advantage after claiming pole position, following a titanic qualifying battle that saw the former Ginetta Junior driver beat Luke Davenport by an exceptionally narrow cushion of 0.018s seconds, Burns and Academy Motorsport team-mate Oliver Basey-Fisher locking out row two.
The weekend’s first of three encounters saw Burns make a terrific start to grab the lead away on the opening lap, one which proved the last for Davenport after the Reflex Racing driver’s race ended with an off at the daunting Eau Rouge corner.
Burns immediately began to make a break at the front ahead of pole-sitter Bailey, the latter joined by Basey-Fisher, David Pittard and Jake Giddings in a race-long fight for the remaining podium positions.
Pittard and Giddings passed Bailey into La Source and looked set for those positions, until Pittard was also bitten by Eau Rouge as he also crashed out to force the deployment of the safety car. Giddings was promoted to third place, but on the restart his race ended in the tyre wall at turn nine with oil on the circuit proving the catalyst, Burns securing his fourth win of 2013 as the red flags were waved to end the race.
It was a 1-2 for the Academy Motorsport squad with Basey-Fisher claiming second spot, Bailey inheriting the final place on the podium ahead of Tor McIlroy, while fifth was a brilliant result for Will Moore in what was only his second race weekend. Matt Flowers was next up in a third Academy Motorsport G40, ahead of Stephane Romecki finishing a solid seventh.
Race two again saw the Academy duo sweep to a 1-2 finish, Burns making another electric getaway to leave a train of cars battling behind him, Moore spinning while a mistake by Davenport at La Source cost him spots to Bailey and Basey-Fisher, Davenport battling with the excelling Dennis Strandberg in a slower Swedish championship G40.
Burns extended his lead over the course of the race and came home for his second win of the weekend by just over five seconds, Basey-Fisher settling for second behind his team-mate after keeping the championship leader Bailey at bay to complete an identical podium to the opening race. Giddings had a much more successful race on his way to fourth ahead of Pittard, Romecki claiming sixth after McIlroy collected the barriers and was forced out of the race as a consequence.
Burns led from lights to flag in race three to complete his second hat-trick of the season (Rockingham being the previous), taking advantage this time of a crucial mistake by Bailey at the top of Eau Rouge which dropped the latter well down the field to 14th.
The double winner would not have this race all his own way however, having to fight hard with Giddings in the closing stages on this occassion. UK Renault Clio Cup driver Giddings followed SV21′s Pittard through to third ahead of Basey-Fisher, before quickly disposing of Pittard for second spot shortly aftewards.
Giddings then set about trying to catch the race leader, but despite lapping half a second quicker than his rival, he came up narrowly short as Burns took victory by 0.8s to complete a superb triple triumph at Spa-Francorchamps.
The final podium positions went the way of Pittard, Basey-Fisher rounding off a strong weekend with fourth place ahead of Ben Hyland who claimed an impressive top five finish.
Burns’ successes take him back up to second in the championship, just 13 points behind Bailey after the series’ visit to Belgium, Bailey only recovering to 11th place in the final race after his early dramas.
The G20 class meanwhile was yet again dominated by Stuart Pearson, the secondary class standout driver and points leader claiming a trio of G20 victories at Spa, while returnee Mark Wania collected two podiums along the way.
The regular UK GT5 Challenge drivers were joined at Spa by Swedish G40 championship competitors, Morten Dons taking the class win in race one before Strandberg dominated the second encounter. Dons found himself in an entertaining battle for as high as fifth overall in the final race, finishing behind Hyland for his second Swedish G40 class win of the weekend.