Autosport (UK)

Smalley grabs the points lead as rivals crash


The Ginetta GT4 Supercup wins may have been shared at Brands Hatch, but the main beneficiar­y was Adam Smalley as he profited from two of his title rivals colliding in the opener.

Smalley had been supreme at the opening round at Snetterton, but was denied a potential hat-trick after a tangle with Tom Hibbert. That meant he arrived in Kent third in the points, but his position soon improved when Hibbert was sent spinning at Graham Hill Bend by Josh Rattican, second in the points pre-weekend. Hibbert was in turn collected by James Blake-baldwin and Steve Roberts and a lengthy safety car period ensued. Up at the front, Carlito Miracco resisted Smalley to claim an impressive maiden series win, while second was enough for Smalley to reclaim the points advantage.

There was more joy for Smalley in the second contest, in which he went around the outside of Miracco into Paddock Hill Bend at the start to snatch a lead he wasn’t to lose. Tom Emson grabbed second at Paddock late on, to add to his third place in the opener, while Miracco tumbled out of contention at Druids when attempting to fight back on Emson. This meant Hibbert’s impressive recovery was rewarded with third.

That podium put Hibbert third on the partially reversed-grid for the finale and, after polesitter Rattican made a poor getaway, he soon dispatched

Reece Somerfield into Clearways to take the spoils. But, on the final lap, Hibbert came under intense pressure from Blake-baldwin, who was a man on a mission.

Brands Hatch can be a difficult place to overtake, but nobody had told the former Mazda MX-5 ace that, and he carved his way through the field from 14th on the grid on his fresher tyres to threaten Hibbert. It was a great reward after his AK Motorsport squad was unable to repair his damaged car in order to get out for the second race.

“I thought I had more time,” said Blake-baldwin of his bid to pass Hibbert for the win. “I thought I’d wait a lap and then have him. We made a massive call and completely changed the set-up and we hit the sweet spot.”

Further back, Elite Motorsport driver Smalley finished fifth – behind Roberts and Emson – but it was enough for him to depart Brands with a five-point lead over Rob Boston Racing’s Hibbert.

 ??  ?? Smalley passed Miracco at the start to win race two
Smalley passed Miracco at the start to win race two

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