|PODIUMS FOR TCR ON RAIN AFFECTED SILVERSTONE|
Ginetta GT5 Challenge champions Total Control Racing departed a rain-lashed Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 12th June, with yet more podium silverware courtesy of 2016 title contender Matt Chapman and 'Am' class pace setter Ian Robinson.
Securing the sixth rostrum visit of his maiden campaign in the British GT support category with a fighting third place in a wet round 10 on Sunday morning, Chapman's podium was book-ended by ninth and seventh place finishes in the other two races – both providing their own challenges.
Robinson claimed his seventh class victory of the year in the dry ninth round on Saturday, 11th June, with a top five overall finish and added two further 'Am' podiums on Sunday. Dan Collinson, in the third TCR car, impressed with 12th position overall in the opening encounter – fourth in 'Am'.
"Ian had a good run in the first race, we were unlucky there was a little bit of contact in the pack which Matt was involved in too but it was just one of those things", reflected TCR team principal Lee Brookes, "The second race was good, Matt came through very well and we just needed a bit more time – the pace was there for more.
"The last race didn't work out how we wanted, the set-up wasn't quite right for the conditions, but we took points away and came back without any damage so that's the main thing. Dan did a good job when you look at how the weather was, the last race was very tough for him as he's still a true novice to be honest. He did well, though, brought the car home safely and that was the focus."
In qualifying on Saturday morning, the TCR trio enjoyed a successful run with Chapman posting the second fastest time, having held pole position at one stage, Robinson was an outstanding third quickest and the best of the 'Am' drivers and Collinson was 14th fastest overall and fifth in class.
Taking the lead at the start of race one, Chapman held an advantage of 0.7 seconds at the end of the first tour and looked all set to continue to increase his cushion but midway through lap two the Safety Car was deployed due to a stranded car on track.
At the resumption on lap four Chapman led away with Robinson in fifth position, after he lost a couple of spots on the opening tour, and Collinson an elevated 12th overall but sixth in 'Am'. Onto the International Pits Straight, though, Chapman ran slightly wide and ensuing contact dropped him down to 14th place. Robinson was also involved but came through largely unscathed.
Chapman battled back through to ninth before the finish with Robinson going on to enjoy a great scrap with Alexis Taylor over the Am lead. The TCR man emerged successful while team-mate Collinson climbed as high as 11th place overall before taking 12th and fourth in class.
In contrast to the opening day's action, Sunday morning's race took place in very wet conditions with Robinson the highest placed of the TCR cars in fifth on the grid, the 'Am' pole. Fending off an attack for position into Copse at the start, as a result of a car ahead spinning on the exit he shot through into fourth place overall and also looked to challenge for third at Stowe.
Chapman, meanwhile, made good progress on the first lap from ninth to move into seventh and then took sixth with a great pass at Brooklands. Reeling in Glenn Broster and team-mate Robinson ahead, Chapman passed Broster on lap two at Club and then moved ahead of Robinson for fourth on the third tour and also set the fastest lap of 2m46.003 seconds.
Soon after, a problem for a rival ahead elevated the TCR duo into third and fourth respectively but disappointment followed for Robinson in the form of a spin midway through lap four – costing him another 'Am' victory. He eventually battled back into eighth and second in class.
Back at the front, Chapman held third before moving into second following a spin for a rival but the dramatic encounter then got even more tense on the final lap when a backmarker threatened to delay the TCR driver through Becketts. Although edged back to third into Stowe as a result of the bottleneck, he pushed hard to try and regain second and finished just 0.143 seconds shy at the flag.
Collinson moved up a place into 11th overall on lap one and held fifth in the Am class in the extremely difficult conditions. Driving well, he maintained position for the majority for the six lap contest but was edged back to sixth in 'Am' and 13th place overall on the final tour.
Round 11 ended after just five laps due to worsening rain making conditions very tricky. The race started on a largely dry track surface, with damp patches offline, and Robinson was again the highest placed TCR driver on the grid in third place, with Chapman eighth and Collinson in 13th position.
Robinson was edged back to fifth on the run into Copse at the beginning, before then running wide at Becketts which resulted in a slip to the tail of the top 10. Chapman moved ahead of his team-mate into ninth and although he was edged wide at Vale onto the damp, he still held his placing.
Moving into eighth on lap two, Chapman ran in a very tightly bunched pack of cars and managed to climb into seventh a couple of laps later as the rain started to fall. On the final lap, with conditions becoming increasingly difficult, Chapman gained two more places to secure fifth position.
After his challenging start to the race, Robinson held 12th place overall and fourth in the 'Am' class at the beginning of lap two but he battled through the order impressively into second place in Am and ninth overall by the start of lap five. Although edged back to 12th on the final tour, Robinson retained the runner-up spot in class.
Collinson ended the opening lap sixth in class and 14th overall and he managed to break into the top five in 'Am' on the second tour. An unfortunate moment dropped the TCR competitor down to 22nd overall on lap three, but he fought his way back into 18th place, still fifth in class, before the finish.