Stewart Lines secures his first Ginetta title in Thrilling GT4 SuperCup Finalerobert
Burns (Rob Boston Racing) headed into the final weekend on the cusp of overall glory, after a great run of three wins in the previous six races built him a crucial advantage over his rivals. The two-time runner-up in the series knew he had to finish just one race to secure the coveted title.
It was more tightly contested in the other class battles meanwhile. White (CWS Motorsport) had a 31 point lead over Chris Salkeld (Century Motorsport) in Pro Am, while Stewart Lines (Triple M Motorsport) had two drivers within 17 points of him in the Am battle.
The weekend kicked off with qualifying on a wet circuit following overnight rain. Adam Smalley (Elite Motorsport) enjoyed the conditions the most as he stormed to a first pole position in the championship by over four tenths of a second.
Burns was second quickest, ensuring he ends the season with the best qualifying record on the grid, while a sensational third was the Pro Am class pace-setter Tom Emson (Elite Motorsport). Gus Burton (Century Motorsport), the only other driver in contention for the overall title, was fourth.
Rain was falling over the Kent circuit by the time the opening race came around that afternoon. This didn’t faze Smalley though, with a faultless display seeing him storm seven seconds clear, before perfectly negotiating a safety car restart en-route to a fourth win of the year.
A fast-starting Tom Hibbert (Rob Boston Racing) shot from fourth on the grid to second on lap one, but next time round Burton got past at Clearways and held the spot to the finish. A great third overall was Emson, the best overall result for a Pro Am competitor this season.
Focused on keeping out of trouble and getting to the finish, a cautious Burns was happy to run in fourth to the finish to score the points needed to secure the title. Hibbert slipped back to fifth in the end ahead of Joe Marshall-Birks (Rob Boston Racing).
Behind, a fierce battle raged between White and Salkeld in the Pro Am ranks. Salkeld pushed hard to try and find a way past his adversary, but White kept him at bay to get the result needed to take the title with a race to spare. It’s his third class crown in the series, alongside two Am successes.
Pro contender Luke Reade (Billy Ruffian Racing with Graves Motorsport) was ninth at the finish, with the top ten completed by the Am class winner Carl Garnett (AK Motorsport). From the class pole position, he led throughout for victory.
Less than a second behind was Lines, meaning he had an eight point lead over Garnett heading into the final race. Nick Halstead (Fox Motorsport) dropped out of title contention meanwhile after a spin into the gravel led to a retirement. Lee Goldsmith (Assetto Motorsport) completed the podium.
The final race of the season took place on Sunday afternoon, with early rain disappearing to present a dry circuit. The main focus of the race was on the Am battle, with a thrilling early battle seeing Lines defending the class lead from Garnett.
The position changed hands on lap five though and Garnett pulled clear to take a brilliant 11th win of the year. Second place would be enough for Lines though and he held off the challenge of Halstead to score the points needed to secure his first Ginetta title.
At the front of the field meanwhile, a great launch off the line for Burton meant he swept around the outside of pole-sitter Smalley to take the lead. The Ginetta Junior graduate broke over five seconds clear for his fifth win of the season, the joint-highest total alongside the champion.
Burns himself slipped to fourth on the opening lap but fought back past Hibbert and Smalley with moves into Paddock Hill Bend to finish second. Smalley was third meanwhile, completing a brilliant late charge of seven podium finishes in the last eight races.
Emson completed a hugely impressive weekend in fifth overall for his 11th Pro Am class win of the campaign, with Pro contenders Reade and Marshall-Birks next up. Salkeld and White were next up to complete the Pro Am podium, with Eric Boulton (Team HARD) sadly retiring after finishing fourth in race one.
Will Burns – 2020 Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Champion: “I’ve had a bit of a chip on my shoulder having finished as runner-up three times in Ginetta championships, so to finally be able to call myself champion is an incredible feeling and I couldn’t be more delighted to have taken the win.
“Thank you so much to Rob Boston Racing. They’ve given me a fantastic car throughout these last two seasons and I’m delighted I could bring it home for them and my family and my sponsors. This is the best moment of my career so far and I couldn’t be happier.”
The race results for the weekend, as well as the final championship standings, can be viewed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/204603.