The final round of the Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge couldn’t have gone any better for Tolman Motorsports Alex Preston with pole position and three strong race wins. Alex was joined at the weekend by regular driver David Pattison in the sister Ginetta G20 and newcomer, Australian Paul Grainger, in a Ginetta G40.
Alex claimed a dominant pole position even after suffering from an alternator exploding during practise after five laps which smashing a hole in the bonnet and forced the end to his session. In race one he led away from his pole position to a class win by three seconds from Brian Murphy and finishing 12th overall. Race two was a repeat of race one with Alex winning by a larger margin of 5 seconds and 13th overall. In race three and the final race of the season, Alex was in an even more dominant form and won the G20 class by a massive 16 seconds!
Meanwhile, David in the sister G20 qualified 3rd in class in his strongest qualifying performance of the year. Race one saw a hard fought battle with G40 regular Kawashima and series champion Stuart Pearson right up to the final lap with David eventually finishing 4th. Race two saw David off to a great start and right in the chasing pack, however contact on lap five put him into the gravel and unfortunately unable to get back on track. Race three saw David start from the back of the grid after his race two DNF. With some great overtaking moves, David made up good time and battled hard to a 4th place finish.
Series newcomer Paul Grainger had a baptism of fire at the weekend with his first experience of Donington Parks fast curves coming in qualifying. Due to unforeseen circumstances Paul was unable to test prior to the race weekend so qualifying was his first taste with a very creditable 18th overall his reward! Race one saw Paul move quickly up the grid and fighting with seasoned competitors but a spin towards the end of the race put him at the back but he recovered well to finish 22nd overall. Race two was a learning curve once again however this time an impressive 15th overall was the result. Race three was much the same as race one in the final results but Paul did push hard during the race and climbing well until a small mistake saw him spin off once more, placing him 22nd overall.
Tolman Motorsport owner and team manager Christopher Tolman commented; “We couldn’t have asked for any more from Alex this weekend. Even after the mishap with the alternator in practise, he was on the pace and in dominant form. It was a shame we had those problems at the previous round in Brands Hatch which meant that 3rd overall in the championship standings was all the he could realistically achieve. Nevertheless, Alex has proved to have the pace throughout the year and we now embark on growing the team and planning for an even better 2015.”
“David had one of his best performances in qualifying in the G20 and great race pace as well. The car ran faultless during the weekend and it proved to be a good send off for the G20. As this went to press, David should have had his first race in his new Ginetta G55 GT4 car in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup round at Silverstone. This will be the car that David will be competing in during 2015, so it will be good to get some miles under his belt and ours in this new car.”
“Meanwhile in his G40, Paul had an uphill struggle to learn a new track and get used to competition again. He performed well during qualifying and the races and we look forward to hopefully seeing him back in one of our cars again in 2015.”
“I would again like to thank all the drivers, team members, sponsors and advisors for a great year, which culminated in Tolman Motorsport winning the Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge Teams Championship. Roll on 2015!”