Richardson Racing pair Shane Stoney and Alex Toth-Jones came away from the latest rounds of the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge having endured mixed fortunes on a chaotic weekend at Silverstone.
Whilst a third win of the season allowed Shane to move into the championship lead, Alex found himself in the wars after being caught up in an incident on track, which prevented him from making the most of his undoubted pace in the sister car.
With a combined grid including the Ginetta GRDC+ Series, a total of 48 cars took to the track for qualifying, with York racer Shane qualifying fourth on the grid for his debut with the team.
Battling hard at the front of the pack when the lights went out, Shane fought his way through the lead by the end of lap four before the race was red-flagged due a car becoming stranded on the circuit.
That meant he secured a third win of the year before following it up with a brace of second place finishes in races two and three – enabling him to move into the championship lead ahead of arch rival Lewis Brown.
“Silverstone was a great weekend, and my first outing with the team couldn’t have gone much better,” he said. “The service from the team was first class throughout and their professionalism shone through. There was a great atmosphere in the awning and it showed that we made the right decision in teaming up with Richardson Racing for the remainder of the season.
“On track, we picked up some brilliant results and I’m delighted to come away from the weekend having picked up a win and two second places. The fact that we also got the fastest lap in two of the races is a reflection of the pace that we showed throughout.
“Being back in the championship lead is fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to the trip to Zandvoort next time out where I hope to defend my advantage.”
Traffic from the large grid played a large part in Alex qualifying in an unrepresentative 13th on the grid for race one but he looked well set to bring home a top ten finish before the red flag halted his challenge; with the decision to take the result back a lap from the time of the stoppage meaning he had to settle for twelfth place.
A problem with the stewards investigating an issue in race one forced race two to be delayed whilst the issue was resolved, with the decision to then run races two and three close together on Sunday afternoon having a major impact on Alex’s weekend.
Hopes of a strong result in race two were ended when Alex was forced to retire on lap one whilst avoiding someone else’s accident, with the team then racing against the clock to get him out for race three in the limited time available.
Alex would join the race a lap down but with the race only running to three laps to fit in the before the circuit curfew, he could only finish down in 17th place in class.
“Silverstone turned out to be a massively frustrating weekend for me,” he said. “Things were looking good and the fact I was able to work with a team-mate for the first time was really beneficial and helped me take huge steps forwards. We had a lot of pace in the car but for reasons beyond my control, it just wasn’t reflected in the end results.
“In race one, the red flag meant I was classified lower than I was running at the time of the stoppage and then in race two, my chances were ruined again because of I had to try and avoid someone elses accident.
“The changes they made the schedule meant the guys had to change the steering rack in just ten minutes to get the car out for race three and they did a mega job, but we ended up starting a lap down and didn’t have time to sort the tracking so the car wasn’t great to drive. However, at least we picked up a finish and the aim now is to get the points on the board that we should be scoring next time out.”
Team boss Gwyn Richardson admitted it had been a weekend of mixed emotions for the team, but was confident that both drivers will be at the sharp end of the grid next time out in the Netherlands.
“This really was a weekend of mixed fortunes,” he said. “We were delighted to be able to get Shane the results he deserved, but at the same time there is a lot of frustration that Alex’s pace went unrewarded through not fault of his own.
“The fact that Shane was able to win on his first weekend with us was very satisfying, but it also underlines the fact that Alex has had similar pace this season and has been unfortunate not to turn it into similar results.
“I’m really looking forward to Zandvoort, where hopefully both drivers can get the results that their pace deserves.”