Rob Boston took his maiden win in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup with a lights-to-flag success in the opening race at Brands Hatch, an encounter that was ended early following a heavy shunt for Tom Ingram and a fire for Fergus Walkinshaw.
Boston started the planned ten-lap race from pole position, and a great start for the JHR Developments driver saw him lead into Paddock Hill bend for the first time.
A quick-starting Matt Nicoll-Jones stormed around the outside into second from fourth, with Ingram just holding off JHR team-mate Massot for third.
Nicoll-Jones found his mirrors full of Ingram’s orange SKYCIG-backed car early on, the pressure allowing Boston to forge a gap at the front.
After slipping back for a couple of laps, Ingram resumed his challenge just past half distance. The recently-crowned champion slid through at Surtees on lap six, however a slow exit allowed Nicoll-Jones to challenge back on the run down Pilgrims Drop.
As the duo went through Hawthorns, Ingram was sent off circuit, resulting in heavy contact with the tyres on the outside of the corner. While Ingram himself fortunately emerged okay, his G55 was left very worse for wear, ending his weekend on the spot.
Nicoll-Jones was adamant he made no contact, though Ingram thought otherwise: “I’ve turned in and he’s just hit my rear end,” he explained to TCF post-race. “I’ve watched the on-board from Pepe’s [Massot] car and it was never a move, very optimistic. I’ve spun round, hit the tyres at around 130mph, game over.”
That incident brought out the safety car, however even before it had emerged on track the drama continued, with Walkinshaw pulling off on the exit of Druids with his FW Motorsport-prepared G55 engulfed in flames.
The combination of the two stricken G55’s and the damage to the barriers at Hawthorns meant the race was eventually red-flagged before the racing action could continue, confirming Boston as the winner.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” an elated Boston told TCF. “I’ve been waiting all year for this one. I’ve either qualified well or raced well this season, so to get it together and convert pole to the win is great. It’s fitting as this was the scene of my first car win back in 2009 too, it’s a very pleasant deja-vu.”
Nicoll-Jones crossed the line in second, keeping his finish after the post-race stewards enquiry, but receiving a ten place grid penalty and nine championship penalty points for his part in the Ingram incident.
Pepe Massot completed the podium in third, his third consecutive rostrum finish, while another great run for Carl Boardley secured him fourth ahead of Jamie Orton.
Outgoing champion Carl Breeze led home a TCR trio in sixth, team-mates Mark Davies and Alex MacDowall completing the top eight. Andrew Watson bounced back from a qualifying off to take tenth behind Reece Somerfield, with G50 champion Sean Huyton eleventh in his Academy Motorsport G55.
In the G50 class, Louise Richardson took her third win in three races with a lights-to-flag success, Rob Gaffney taking second ahead of Will Burns, the Ginetta Challenge runner-up leading home series champion Oliver Basey-Fisher.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/?loc=major&season=2013&series=BTCC&event=races&source=ed_TOCA&eventid=134103&table=134103rc1g50&tabletype=gif