Reigning Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup champion Carl Breeze increased his 2013 podium tally to 12 at Knockhill Circuit in Fife over the weekend, 24th/25th August, with a brace of third place finishes for Total Control Racing.
Almost making it a podium hat-trick in the final outing on Sunday afternoon, round 20, Breeze just missed out by a mere 0.060 seconds on the drag to the line. Team-mate Mark Davies, meanwhile, was unlucky to miss out on podium silverware in round 19 after a sensational drive through to fourth place from 11th on the grid.
“It’s been another strong weekend for Carl with two podiums, he really deserved three, though, and was very unlucky in the last race at the end”, said Lee Brookes, team principal of Wednesbury-based TCR, “Mark improved his pace all weekend, in the second race he did an absolutely fantastic job and with another lap or two he could definitely have been on the podium as well – he deserved to be!”
Beginning Saturday’s race, round 18, from fourth on the grid, Breeze got away well from the line and remained close behind the top three early on with very little between them. Then, at the end of lap seven, Breeze was able to move into third when Andrew Watson pitted for a drive-through penalty.
While soaking up sustained pressure from behind, Breeze managed to remain in touch with second placed Tom Ingram and as the race passed mid-distance the leading quartet closed up. In the end, though, the TCR man wasn’t quite able to make the breakthrough and had to settle for third.
Davies, starting a lower than anticipated 10th on the grid, was elbowed back a couple of places on the second tour but was back into the top 10 by lap 12. Three laps from the finish, though, the Huddersfield driver was edged back to 11th by the recovering Watson.
In round 19 on Sunday morning, Davies showed much improved pace and produced a sensational performance to fight his way through from 11th on the grid into the top four, a mere 0.5 seconds shy of podium finishing team-mate Breeze.
Climbing into eighth position on the opening lap after a superb start, Davies challenged hard for seventh but was actually elbowed down to ninth on lap five. Moving back into eighth on lap six, Davies then closed onto the tail of the three cars ahead sparking a great battle.
Contact between Rob Boston and Pepe Massot on lap 14 enabled Davies to move into seventh and then sixth in quick succession. Then, on lap 20, he claimed fifth and his superb drive into the top four was completed on the final tour when he brilliantly passed Watson. Notably, Davies’ best lap of the race was 0.4 seconds faster than race winner Matt Nicoll-Jones’ quickest effort.
Breeze, starting in third place, remained there throughout the 23-lap encounter and was always in touch with the two cars ahead but positions remained unchanged. Within only 0.3 seconds of points leader Tom Ingram into lap eight, Breeze pushed hard but wasn’t able to force a mistake – instead taking his second third place finish of the weekend.
For round 20, Davies lined-up at the head of the second row in third place on the ‘reverse grid’ with Breeze in fourth. Although appearing to make fairly even getaways, Breeze had a better run into the first corner and grabbed third place around the outside.
At the chicane, pole-starter Reece Somerfield ran wide on the exit which enabled Breeze and Davies to move into second and third respectively. Disappointingly for Davies, though, race officials adjudged him to have made a false start and so at the end of lap three he served his drive-through penalty – dropping the TCR driver down to 13th position. He eventually battled back into 11th place.
Breeze, meanwhile, maintained position and during the second half of the contest he worked his way ever nearer to race leader Watson. Four laps from the finish Breeze was a mere 0.4 seconds adrift but as the lead contenders closed-up, the Kings Lynn racer was mugged into the hairpin by Ingram with a late move up the inside.
Breeze tried to re-take second early in the final lap when Watson, who was passed by Ingram a lap prior, ran wide at the first corner. With the door closed, Breeze pressured Watson again at the hairpin but a combination of heavy defence from Watson and an opportunist move from Nicoll-Jones relegated Breeze to fourth on the run to the line – missing the podium by a fraction.
Rockingham in Northamptonshire will host rounds 21 and 22 of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup three weeks from now, over the weekend 14th/15th September, where TCR’s Renault UK Clio Cup squad will also return to action for the penultimate two races of its 2013 campaign.
Provisional 2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Driver Standings (after Rd20)
2nd Carl Breeze, 488pts; 4th Mark Davies, 374pts
Provisional 2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Team Standings (after Rd20)
3rd Total Control Racing, 909pts