Douglas Motorsport’s Andrew Watson made a welcome return to the top step of the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup podium with victory in the second race of the weekend at Rockingham.
Watson overhauled Charlie Robertson to take his first win since Thruxton in May, with the championship leader taking a comfortable second to further extend his points advantage over Carl Breeze.
Robertson started the race from pole position courtesy of victory in the weekend’s opening race, and went on to lead the first nine laps before Watson made his move shortly after the racing resumed following a safety car period.
The Irishman, benefitting from fresher tyres than Robertson around the abrasive Rockingham circuit, dived down the inside into Deene hairpin and went on to pull away en-route to a 5.7 second victory.
“We put everything into it today,” Watson told TCF. “I got a good start from fourth and got in behind Charlie. I started to think about where I was stronger than him and was just about to line up my move up when the safety car came out.
“We broke away again though and once I got the move done into the first corner I just focused on hitting every apex and braking point and I’m delighted to get the win.”
Robertson meanwhile was happy to let Watson through rather than risk contact that could’ve cost him a thirteenth podium finish of the season that has extended his lead over chief title rival Breeze to 48 points.
“I knew Andrew was faster than me and had the better tyres so I wasn’t going to fight it,” commented Robertson. “I didn’t want to get backed up into Carl, so I let him have it and focused on maintaining second.”
Breeze ran third for almost the whole duration of the sixteen lap encounter, the United Autosports racer looking set for a twelfth podium finish of the campaign before he came into the clutches of a determined Tom Oliphant.
Shuffled back to eighth on the opening lap after contact, the Century Motorsport racer produced a great fightback to move into the top five at mid-distance. After dispatching David Pittard into Yentwood three laps from the end, his attention turned to stealing a podium finish.
Gaining nearly a second and a half on Breeze on the penultimate tour, Oliphant was right onto his tail on the final lap and a great run out of the final corner saw them run side-by-side across the line – Oliphant getting the podium finish by just 0.030 seconds.
Pittard was left defending from another late riser Jamie Orton over the final couple of laps, the SV Racing ace fending him off by just two tenths of a second at the flag for fifth, Orton setting the fastest lap of the race as he climbed up the order from thirteenth at the end of the opening lap.
Will Burns took seventh and although it brought his run of eleven consecutive top five finishes to an end, the Academy Motorsport racer was happy with the result after suffering from severe tyre wear, with Luke Davenport and series returnee Carl Boardley following him home.
Tom Howard completed the top ten, the debutant having stormed up to sixth on the opening lap, albeit due to a jump-start for which he was punished with a drive-through penalty.
Another to receive that punishment was Dan Norris-Jones, who finished twelfth after serving his penalty and suffering a spin, with Giles Dawson one place ahead after spinning twice himself.
John Hindhaugh was forced to pull over into retirement on the final lap meanwhile, with a similar fate for fellow newcomer Dennis Strandberg having caused the safety car interlude.