King wins in the wet, at Croft.

by Denis Hardy

Qualifying

In qualifying this afternoon Triple M Motorsport’s Tom Hibbert took pole position for round four of the 2019 Miller Oils Ginetta GT4 Supercup at Croft.

In the dry session, Hibbert set the best lap, in the Pro Class, with a time of 1:20:996. This was just 0.347 seconds ahead of Elite Motorsport’s Harry King, who secured second. Row two of the grid was filled by Team HARD driver, Mike Epps, and Privateer Carlito Miracco.

Championship leader, Reece Somerfield, put himself on the grid in fifth place, just ahead of Total Control Racing’s Fin Green.  But after an incident in the closing stages of qualifying, Somerfield was forced to start Race 1 from the pit lane.

Rounding out the Pro Class grid was Rob Boston Racing driver, Simon Rudd and Tom Barley in the Team HARD machine. They were followed, finally, by RBR’s Will Burns, who failed to post a time and was relegated to the back of the grid.

In the Am Class, the top placed man was RBR’s James Kell, who posted a time of 1:22:545. This was only 0.182 seconds clear of Supercup veteran, Colin White, in second. Lee Frost got himself in third on the Am Class grid alongside, newboy Nathan Heathcote. Dan Kirby and Darron Lewis filled out the top six. AK Motorsport’s Carl Garnett put himself seventh on the grid, just ahead of Lucky Khera. Bringing up the rear was the Century Motorsport duo of Peter Bassill and Jack Oliphant.

Race One

The weather turned dramatically for Race 1, going from overcast and dry to biblically wet. However, the field managed to get away from the line cleanly, despite the conditions. Hibbert took the first corner in the lead, but King was right on his tail. 

Meanwhile, a few cars back, Epps got it wrong and ploughed in to the gravel, coming to rest just before Hawthorn.  The yellow flags were out at the start of lap two, as the car was recovered. Everybody made it safely past without incident, apart from Lee Frost, who hit some standing water on the Start/Finish straight. The resulting aquaplane put him head first into the barrier just before Clervaux. As a result, the race was stopped.

After the incident, the race was then restricted to ten minutes, making it a 5 lap dash to the chequered flag. The original starting positions were used for the restart and, again, Hibbert took the lead into the first corner. Just after the Chicane, King slipped past into the lead, and then managed to keep the pack behind him, finishing the fifth and final lap some 13.669 seconds clear of Hibbert, who held on to second spot. 

Carlito Mirraco came home third, ahead of Burns in fourth. Top Am Class finisher was Nathan Heathcote who made up three places to take the class win, finishing in fifth overall, ahead of Darron Lewis and Colin White. Somerfield’s day didn’t really improve coming home eighth, but fifth in the pro class, ahead of Mike Epps.

The final Pro class finishers were Tom Barley, who never really managed to get going all day and Simon Rudd, who came in plum last after a spin.

Am class quickest qualifier, James Kell came home fourth in Class, followed by Kirby, Garnett and Khera. Century duo of Oliphant and Bassill rounded out the Am finishers. Disappointingly, Fin Green pulled into the pits and retired early in the race.

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