Pepe Massot fended off a race-long challenge from Charlie Robertson to take victory in Round Five of the 2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup at a sodden Donington Park.
The heavens opened half an hour before the eighteen lap encounter began, giving the Supercup drivers their first wet race of the season, with them going on to produce an action-packed thriller.
Robertson started from pole position courtesy of his Round Four victory yesterday, however a very slow getaway from the HHC Motorsport driver meant he was back to fourth by the end of the first turn, with Massot leading from Harry Woodhead, Andrew Watson and Carl Breeze.
Behind, contact in the pack spat the unfortunate Will Burns wide coming out of Redgate, with his Academy Motorsport G55 taking a heavy blow with the barriers, instantly ending his race.
After a short safety car period, the action resumed with Robertson quickly starting his recovery drive, passing Breeze into Redgate, before dispatching Watson into the Old Hairpin, both those drivers also losing ground to Sean Huyton later in the lap.
One lap later, Robertson dived past Woodhead at Redgate to take second, with that starting a tough race for the reigning Ginetta Junior champion who began to fall backwards.
Watson got ahead on the Dunlop Straight that lap, with Huyton and Breeze getting past at Redgate at the start of lap six, those two switching places along to Schwantz Curve.
As the front five began to break away, a queue started to form behind Woodhead in sixth, with David Pittard, Jamie Orton, Tom Oliphant and Luke Davenport in close attention, a fantastic battle developing between them.
With positions changing almost every lap, the memorable overtake of the race came heading into the final chicane on lap eleven, when Woodhead’s stubborn resistance was finally broken.
Woodhead and Orton headed into the corner side-by-side, but a gap between them was seized by Pittard, who dived down the middle of both to snatch sixth. As he edged away, Orton fell down the field a lap later after being forced wide across the Coppice gravel by Woodhead.
At the front meanwhile, Robertson had latched right onto Massot’s tail on lap nine. Despite running nose-to-tail for a number of laps, the Spaniard seemed to have the edge at the front, with Robertson’s main challenge coming on the penultimate lap.
The 2012 Ginetta Junior champion couldn’t squeeze past into Redgate though, with Massot holding him off to the end for his first win since the corresponding meeting twelve months ago.
Robertson took second, with Watson securing a lonely third for his fourth podium in the first five races, the Irishman being unable to close the gap to the two ahead, yet sitting comfortably clear of the pack behind.
Breeze secured fourth, while the battle for fifth went down to the flag. Huyton, who had help the place for most the race, slipped back to seventh in the last couple of laps. This left Pitttard and Oliphant to duel it out, with the latter just edging a drag race to the flag by 0.018 seconds.
Behind Huyton in seventh, Woodhead secured eighth ahead of Davenport, visibility issues caused by a cracked windscreen hampering the latter. Orton recovered from his off track excursion to ninth, with Fergus Walkinshaw completing the top ten after a couple of off-track moments dropped him from the pack.
Reece Somerfield finished eleventh following a trip to the pits to remove a flapping bonnet, a side-effect of his part in the first lap incident with Burns, while completing the finishers was Dan Norris-Jones after he started from the pitlane following a last-minute decision to remove his rear window.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/141603g50.pdf