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2019 Ginetta GT5 Challenge Rounds 6-7 - Silverstone

Aqua-Planes and Automobiles at the Silverstone 500, Josh Steed returns from injury and Danny Harrison takes his maiden podium in the GT5 Challenge for the Altima Academy!

The summer is here for the iconic Silverstone 500 British GT meeting, except, we got rain, and lots of it! Did I say summer? I meant British summer. This weekend we saw the return of Josh Steed after 12 weeks out due to a broken arm, to join forces with Danny Harrison. With both drivers having not been round the Silverstone GP track before, there would be a lot to learn to master the 3.6 mile circuit. And it was trial by fire (or should I say water) as the heavens opened for Friday’s test.

Danny managed to get the car dialled in quickly and showed good pace from the off, with near zero visibility around a never before driven circuit. Josh, being one of the youngest on the grid of 32 G40’s wasn’t able to make the morning sessions because of college exams, so having had time for just 1 test day since the injury and before now, he was literally thrown in the deep end Friday afternoon for the last session, only managing to get a few laps in the 30 minute session plagued by red flags and treacherous conditions.

Qualifying

We knew that Qualifying would be wet, but that was an understatement! 2 goats even asked us if we had seen Noah! It was time for Josh Steed to make his debut in the GT5 Challenge, having spent the Friday evening working on analysing the data and footage from testing with teammate Danny Harrison and Altima Academy coach David Pittard, Josh made the most of the session to get the car and himself dialled in, but with the conditions and traffic limiting progress, he didn’t manage to get a clear lap in the 20 minute session, ending up with only 2 qualifying times to put him 19th and 23rd for rounds 6 and 7 respectively. Danny Harrison had a bit more experience of the conditions from the Friday test, so was able to push from the start, but only managed to get 2 flying laps before becoming one of many victims to standing water on the Hangar Straight. Unfortunately Danny aqua-planed at just the right moment to make contact with another car, meaning that Danny would have to return to the pits and miss out on the rest of the session, but his 2 laps were quick enough that he would start Round 6 inside the top ten for the first time in 9th position, and line up 16th for Round 7.

Round 6

Clearer skies and a dry line for Race 1 of the weekend, but with the track still damp off line it wasn’t going to be an easy race. Danny Harrison (starting 9th) was quick off the blocks, climbing his way into the top 6 by lap 2, and twisted in a battle for the last spot in the top 5 throughout the rest of the 25 minute race, eventually finishing in the top 6 for the first time in the Ginetta GT5 - on his first time ever on a dry Silverstone GP Circuit, just 3/10ths behind 5th position.

Josh Steed was right in the thick of it, starting 19th for his first race and first race start after 3 months out, lights go out and we’re away! Surrounded by 31 other angry GT5’s, Josh held his own only dropping 1 place off the line, and managed to climb back up to 16th in the first 3 Laps. Josh was now locked in a 12 car battle all fighting for a top 10 finish. A few managed to break away in front towards the end, but for pretty much the entire race, there was less than 2 seconds covering this 12 car train with positions swapping every corner and Josh taking every opportunity he could, his pit board has never worked so hard in its life, there were numbers flying everywhere on the pit wall! Josh climbed as high as 12th overall before another lunge dropped him back a place, then Josh would make back up a few places - honestly, the onboard footage is just incredible! Josh took the Chequered Flag in 16th position, but a time penalty for track limits would drop him back to 22nd in the final results, a bit disappointing, but boy what a race!

Round 7

A bitter-sweet end to the meeting as Josh Steed suffered a hydraulic failure on the clutch in the assembly area. With no quick fix to get the clutch to engage he had no drive, and sadly would miss the 2nd race all together, a real shame after such a great race 1 performance.

The sweet part came in the form of a heroic drive for Danny Harrison. Starting 16th on the grid he knew a top 10 would be difficult, and a top 5 near impossible, but was determined to better his Race 1 result. A perfect start and absolute flyer of a first lap, taking 6 places and into the top 10 by the end of lap 1, but he wasn’t done yet! Danny kept pushing forward and was 8th by lap 2, 7th by lap 3, 6th by lap 4, 5th by lap 5... He was a man on a mission with his eyes now firmly set on the podium. With the 1st place runner having broken the tow and got away, there was a 5-way battle for the final 2 spots on the podium. With positions changing every corner, Danny knew this was his chance. On the penultimate lap he was back into 4th overall, and having seen on the board that the car in front had a time penalty for track limits, Danny knew he would inherit 3rd across the line, but that’s not the way to get your maiden podium in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge now is it. So Danny lined up and executed a precision last lap overtake to claim his first trophy of 2019, with an epic drive from 16th on the grid to finish 3rd overall!

Watch Round 7 on YouTube

 

Harrison Podium

 

We are now getting ready for Donington Park just 2 weekends away on the 22nd-23rd June. Both Drivers are ready for it, are you? Join us for Rounds 8, 9 and 10 of the Ginetta GT5 Championship supporting the British GT’s and you could win tickets for the Donington decider in September!