Brown Beats Stoney to Walk Away with GT5 Challenge Title


Brown rounded out a spectacular weekend with the title (Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com)

Lewis Brown would be the man-of-the-moment at Donington Park as the teenager claimed the Ginetta GT5 Challenge crown after coming into the round 17 points behind main rival Shane Stoney. Brown would collect two out of the three wins before finishing third in the final encounter to secure the title.

The final win of the year went the way of Ryan Hadfield, who also collected a second in the opening race to end his season on a high after a season that would be far below his expectations. Multiple podiums also came the way of Max Bird, who had the honour of pole position, while Oliver Wilkinson and Matt Palmer picked up silverware in the frantic race two.

The result ensures Brown will look towards 2018 with some promise, while the top two look likely to step up to more powerful series in years to come.

Shane Stoney finished as runner-up after failing to score a podium (Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com)

Qualifying

Pole: Max Bird – Century Motorsport

It would be Max Bird who came out on top in qualifying, after a late charge put him out front in the field. The Century Motorsport driver would look forward to a strong weekend as he, like many others prepares for 2018. He starts alongside Ryan Hadfield after a lap was disallowed for track limits.

Behind them, Rob Boston put in a strong performance to go third after an anonymous season to date. It would be Carlito Miracco in fourth as Lewis Brown lined up fifth as title rival Shane Stoney was eighth. Rounding out the top six was the Am leader Richard Evans.

Race 1

Winner: Lewis Brown – R&J Motorsport

Ryan Hadfield charged into an early advantage, whilst Rob Boston battled into second place in towards the Melbourne hairpin, only for the safety car to hamper the fields progress at the end of lap one.

A brief period under caution quickly gave way to the green flag, with Boston using the restart as an opportunity to launch an assault on leader Hadfield into Redgate Corner. Boston battled ahead under breaking, allowing Max Bird to close as a three-way fight for the lead ensued.

The leading trio’s fierce squabble at the front saw Bird and Boston shuffled back after running wide through Goddards, allowing Lewis Brown to clamber into top spot. Once Brown dispatched the front trio, Hadfield and Boston continued to battle and collided at Redgate, seeing the red flag waved with the track wholly blocked by the two battered Ginettas and Boston in need of extrication.

Lewis Brown was awarded victory in the shortened event, ahead of the incident-involved Ryan Hadfield whilst Max Bird rounded out the podium.

A triple podium was Max Bird was forfeited after a last lap spin in race 2. (Credit: Nick Smith / TheImageTeam.com)

Race 2

Winner: Lewis Brown – R&J Motorsport

The cars on the second row appeared to have the best start, but it was the leaders who blocked off the track, ensuring Lewis Brown held off Shane Stoney’s charge as Max Bird took the lead.

Further back, Jonathan Hadfield’s progress through the field when he was spun at the final corner, dropping him to the back once again as paint was swapped further back.

The battle for the lead would continue until the last lap as a move at the old hairpin allowed Brown to retake the lead, with Stoney following him through for the first time. Stoney would have one more attack for the lead, but instead lost the momentum, losing the place to Bird.

Brown would take yet another win as Bird was spun on the final lap, handing second to Brown’s rival Stoney (though fell to fourth after a five second penalty for the crash). Inheriting second would be Oliver Wilkinson having fallen away from the leaders in the opening lap.

Third place went the way of Matt Palmer, as Stoney’s penalty put him in fourth. Ryan Hadfield would come across the line in fifth with Max Bird unable to fully recover and settling for sixth.

It went down to the last race between Brown and Stoney (Credit: Joe Hudson)

Race 3

Winner: Ryan Hadfield – R&J Motorsport

The final encounter saw all eyes on Lewis Brown and Shane Stoney with the pair going head to head for the title. A solid and professional drive from Brown though saw him claim the GT5 title by only a few points.

Away from the start it was Katie Milner and Ryan Hadfield who made the best starts, with the latter forcing his way into the lead at the hairpin on the opening lap. This left Milner to hold off the quick starting Rob Boston, until he was spun on the second lap.

Hadfield found himself building a sizable gap up front, aiming to end the year on a high. Meanwhile Max Bird forced his way past Milner, taking Luke Pinder with him.

As the drivers approached the final lap a red flag was flown after Jonathan Hadfield beached his car after contact with Nick Zapolski. For his brother, it was a simple victory for as a late charge from Brown saw him third behind Bird, with Pinder down to fourth.

Fifth went the way of Steven Wells, despite his broken bonnet hindering his view as Stoney could only take sixth place. Milner and Matt Palmer rounded out the top eight.