A tyre gamble from Tom Oliphant helped him on his way to a maiden Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup victory during a dramatic final race of the weekend at Donington Park.
In a truly surreal start to the race, there were only five cars that ended up taking the lights as the remaining nine dived into the pitlane to switch from wet to slick tyres on a nearly fully dried track following earlier rainfall.
The five that stayed out on track included championship top-two Andrew Watson and Charlie Robertson, with the former leading away ahead of Pepe Massot, Harry Woodhead, Reece Somerfield and a slow-starting Robertson.
Of the pitlane starters, it was Will Burns, who was originally meant to start from the back but changed his tyres first, that led the way. His advantage lasted all of one lap though when a lunge from Fergus Walkinshaw at Redgate spun him around, with Burns’ Academy Motorsport team-mate Sean Huyton proving hugely fortunate in just clipping the rear wing of the stranded G55.
Within a couple of laps the slick-shod G55’s were already three seconds a lap quicker than the race leaders, with Century Motorsport pairing Oliphant and Jamie Orton leading the charge.
The wet tyred competitors maintained their advantage at the front of the field until lap six when Oliphant made his way cleanly through, though Orton had no such luck and a run wide at the Old Hairpin dropped him behind Carl Breeze, Luke Davenport and David Pittard.
While the wet runners fell away, Oliphant held a comfortable lead at the front from the United Autosports team-mates, with Breeze staying ahead of Davenport despite the latter being the quickest driver on track.
As Oliphant enjoyed a comfortable run to his maiden victory, a five second penalty for exceeding track limits meant that despite finishing second on the road, Breeze was eventually moved back to fifth in the final standings behind Orton.
This promoted Davenport to second, his second Supercup podium, with Pittard third. The SV Racing man was originally meant to start from the reverse grid pole, but the tyre changing melee eventually led to him taking to the track last, leading to a great drive through the order.
Huyton took sixth, the reigning G50 champion fortunately getting away with no damage from his earlier contact with Burns, while the instigator of that incident Walkinshaw finished seventh, receiving a six championship point penalty for the contact.
Dan Norris-Jones took eighth, while Watson led the wet runners across the line in ninth. That was to change though, as contact with the rear of Robertson into Redgate on lap fifteen had earned him the place.
A 0.2 second penalty post-race put the position back in Robertson’s favour, giving him the championship lead in the process. Woodhead and Massot completed the twelve finishers, with Somerfield forced into an early retirement.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/141603g50.pdf
2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Championship Standings (After Rd.6 of 27):
1. Charlie Robertson – HHC Motorsport – 152pts
2. Andrew Watson – Douglas Motorsport – 150pts
3. Tom Oliphant – Century Motorsport – 139pts
4. Luke Davenport – United Autosports – 126pts
5. David Pittard – SV Racing – 125pts
6. Pepe Massot – JHR Developments – 108pts
7. Carl Breeze – United Autosports – 86pts
8. Jamie Orton – Century Motorsport – 73pts
9. Sean Huyton – Academy Motorsport – 73pts
10. Dan Norris-Jones – Priocept Racing – 64pts