Chad­wick dou­bles up as GT5 bat­tles thrill

Motor Sport News - - British Gt Report: Brands - Mark Lib­beter

Hav­ing fin­ished run­ner-up in the se­ries for the past two sea­sons, Ol­lie Chad­wick’s hopes of go­ing one bet­ter in 2016 got off to a solid start at Brands Hatch last week­end, tak­ing the wins in the open­ing two races be­fore Ryan Had­field claimed the spoils in the third.

Chad­wick, the only driver to dip be­low the 1m41s mark in qual­i­fy­ing, dom­i­nated the open­ing race from lights-to-flag, de­spite a start­line shunt caus­ing a safety car pe­riod early in the race.

As Chad­wick pulled clear at the front, the driv­ers on the move were Nick Zapol­ski and Jack Min­shaw, the lat­ter at­tempt­ing to atone for a poor get­away. By the end of lap four, Zapol­ski had dived in­side Had­field at Druids to claim third, be­fore reliev­ing An­drew Richard­son of sec­ond by the end of the lap. Min­shaw, son of Bri­tish GT star Jon and grand­son of for­mer BTCC racer Alan, fought his way back through to third af­ter a fine charge. Rob Keogh also worked his way up to fourth on the fi­nal lap at the ex­pense of Richard­son.

A pile-up in the mid­field at Pad­dock on the first lap led to race two be­ing halted pre­ma­turely. When the race restarted, Zapol­ski got the jump on Chad­wick, but the for­mer saw his chance of vic­tory dis­ap­pear when he crashed out near Stir­lings. Richard­son and Min­shaw also came to grief at the same spot, hand­ing Chad­wick a com­fort­able run to vic­tory. Had­field held on to sec­ond, with Matt Flow­ers edg­ing Matt Palmer for third on the sprint to the line. Matt Chap­man, who had al­ready im­pressed with a stun­ning charge from 35th on the grid to ninth in the opener, took fifth.

The re­verse grid for race three dropped Chad­wick to ninth and pro­moted Dan Collinson on to pole po­si­tion. Yet it was fourth-placed Jonny Had­field who would make the best start, blast­ing into the lead chased by older brother Ryan. By Hawthorns on the open­ing tour how­ever, the or­der was re­versed. De­spite be­ing squeezed onto the grass at Cooper Straight as he tried to make up ground, Chad­wick was able to work his way up to sec­ond by lap three and be­gan to chase down the leader. Be­hind the top two, Palmer was be­ing forced to drive de­fen­sively to hold off the per­sis­tent Chap­man.

Chad­wick briefly took the lead, only to fall back to fourth in the clos­ing stages, help­ing the older of the Had­field sib­lings to claim the vic­tory and pro­mot­ing Chap­man, who had got ahead of Palmer on the fi­nal tour, to sec­ond.

Had­field and Chad­wick fight

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