Boardley Storms To Clean Sweep Of Croft Wins

by Simon Paice

Carl Boardley has closed the gap at the top of the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup standings to just seven points after sensationally taking a hat-trick of wins at Croft this past weekend.

Boardley became the first driver since Tom Wrigley in 2016 to win three Supercup races in one meeting, though he would only take the accolade following an exclusion for Harry King.

While Boardley was mounting the top step of the podium, Charlie Ladell wouldn’t be far away as another hat-trick of podium finishes preserved the Rob Boston Racing ace’s points advantage.

It was neither of the title contenders that led the way in qualifying on Saturday, with Angus Fender storming to a first pole position of his Supercup career, with Boardley leading Ladell behind.

Fender’s advantage was short-lived as Boardley grabbed the lead on the opening lap and never looked back as he led throughout to victory, leaving Fender defending from Ladell.

The championship leader got ahead on lap four and went on to run second to the finish, with Fender dropping back to fifth behind Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and King.

Next time round, contact from King would send Gordon-Colebrooke spinning into the tyre stack at the chicane and out of the race – an incident that King was later handed a grid penalty for.

King went on to finish the podium ahead of Fender, who posted the fastest lap of the race on his way to emerging in front from a battle with Reece Somerfield and Carl Shield.

The start of race two saw Boardley and Ladell heading side-by-side into Clervaux for the first time, with the former crucially emerging in front.

Ladell would try and challenge for the lead early on, but Boardley edged clear on his way to victory number two of the weekend as Ladell followed him home.

There was a fun battle for the final podium place behind as Fender, who benefitted from King’s penalty to start third, held position despite suffering early damage.

With his pace compromised, Fender had to produce a defensive masterclass to hold off Somerfield and Jac Constable to get his second podium finish of the campaign.

Constable’s fifth place came following a race one retirement, with Gordon-Colebrooke joining him in making progress up the order to sixth ahead of Tom Roche, a spinner in the opening race.

The reverse grid draw for the final encounter saw Somerfield placed on pole, however his charge for a second career Supercup victory was all-but-ended on lap three as he got shuffled back to fourth.

Emerging in the lead was Boardley, who led the field into an mid-race safety car period with an impressive Constable behind him, followed by the rapid King.

Storming through the field after a puncture dropped him to the back in race two, the Elite Motorsport ace wasted no time in moving to the front once the action resumed.

From there, King streaked clear to what he thought was a second win of the year, however he was later excluded from the race due to early contact that ended Gordon-Colebrooke’s race.

That exclusion meant Boardley notched another victory, though the standout result was a breakthrough overall podium finish and maiden fastest lap for Constable.

Ladell had finished off the podium in fourth, but King’s demise promoted him to third to make it eleven podiums in eleven races so far, with Boardley having taken ten.

With Roche, Somerfield and Fender unable to keep touch on older Michelin rubber, it was Shield who came through to fourth – matching his best finish of the year.

In the AM class meanwhile, it was points leader Jack Minshaw who secured pole position to end Michael Crees’ 100% record for the season so far.

Crees would hit back in race one though as a great launch off the line saw him immediately take the class lead, however his chief title rivals Minshaw and Colin White would be right on his heels.

In his first ever race at Croft, the Century Motorsport driver produced a great defensive drive to hold them off for victory, with Minshaw heading home White behind.

A tough start to race two for Crees saw him drop back to fifth, allowing White to take the advantage ahead of Minshaw, until contact between the two sent the leader spinning around.

Minshaw took full advantage to streak clear for the win, while a ten second track limits penalty for Crees wasn’t enough to prevent him finishing second, with Alexis Taylor completing the rostrum.

David Brooks would take the reverse grid pole for race three and held the lead for the first eleven laps before Crees picked him off on his way to a fourth win of the year.

Taylor picked up a second consecutive podium finish behind, with Lee Frost rising to third for his fourth visit to the rostrum so far this season.

White finished up fourth despite an excursion through a field, having recovered to sixth in race two, while Brooks picked up the fastest lap before eventually retiring late on.

Crees has moved into the AM class points lead, though over five points separate him, Minshaw and White heading into the next rounds at Snetterton in Norfolk on 28/29 July.

Full race results from the weekend can be found here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2018/182503g50.pdf

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