Chadwick doubles up as GT5 battles thrill
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