Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup championship leader Carl Breeze increased his advantage in the driver standings to a very healthy 38 points at the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire this afternoon with an incredibly hard-fought third win of the season.
Chalking up a 75 per cent success rate so far in his maiden season at the wheel of a G50, the Total Control Racing star soaked up immense pressure from local racer – and category debutant – Daniel Welch to edge the victory by a mere eight 10ths of a second.
Behind the runaway leaders, Rob Austin marked his first outing of the year with a fine third place finish to round out the podium while Colin White secured his third success in the Chairman's Cup battle for seasoned drivers.
In qualifying, nobody had an answer for Fleet-based Welch in his family-run car as the Thruxton specialist claimed pole position by a quarter of a second from nearest rival Breeze – the front row start of great importance to the championship pace-setter. Nathan Freke lined up third with Chris Dittman fourth, Frank Wrathall struggling somewhat in fifth and Tom Sharp sixth.
At the start of the shortest of the weekend's G50 Cup encounters, just 11 laps, Breeze made a clean start and edged ahead of Welch while behind Austin scorched through from seventh on the grid into second place, although Welch fought back on the run through Church Corner.
While Breeze tried to pull away at the front, team-mate Fulvio Mussi was also doing a good job in fourth – up from eighth on the grid – but title challenger Wrathall pitted with car problems which would ultimately allow him to be leapfrogged in the standings by Freke.
As the first half of the race neared its conclusion, Welch was the man on the move as he pressed on to try and reel-in Breeze. Mussi, still in fourth, was fighting hard to keep Freke at bay but the latter lost his position to the ever-improving Christian Dick on lap five.
On lap seven at Club Chicane, Dick tried to pass Mussi around the outside but he ran wide over the kerbs on the exit and yet emerged in fourth place into the start/finish straight. Back at the front Breeze was defending well from Welch but the slightest mistake would make all the difference.
As it turned out, Breeze made no errors and went on to claim yet another win in his first season in the championship with Welch taking an impressive second – even with fluid on his rear tyres from a possible gearbox issue – and also the bonus points for fastest race lap and pole position.
With Austin running a lonely third for the majority of the second half of the race, Dick finished fourth, Mussi was in fifth place and Freke rounded out the top six. With Mark Proctor and Paul Sheard not taking part in the race, the Chairman's Cup battle centred on White and Richard Sykes with the former edging out his rival by a couple of seconds.
Speaking on the podium, three-time race winner Breeze said: “I made another good start today, like I did at Brands Hatch, and that set us up for the win really. I knew Dan (Welch) might be slow away as it was his first race start in one of these cars. He had a couple of goes at passing me but was gracious enough not to try anything silly. I'm really happy to win again.”