The Richardson Racing team enjoyed a successful trip to the continent with two podium finishes from the latest rounds of the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Zandvoort.
The Corby-based team headed for the Dutch circuit looking to challenge at the front of the field with drivers Shane Stoney and Alex Toth-Jones; both of whom made the trip optimistic about their chances for the series’ annual overseas event.
Mixed weather conditions in qualifying saw both drivers out of position on the grid, with points leader Shane lining up ninth for the first race of the weekend.
A battling performance on track saw him come through the field to take third place, and it was a performance he would then repeat in race two having come out on top of a long battle with rival Max Bird.
Seventh on the reverse grid for race three, Shane would become embroiled in a race long fight with Ollie Chadwick and Ollie Wilkinson before taking the flag in fifth spot to give him a strong haul of points from the weekend.
In fact, outscoring main rival Lewis Brown by 17 points means York racer Shane now leads the championship standings by 20 points going into the penultimate meeting of the season at Knockhill next month.
“It was a bit of an up and down weekend for me, but overall it’s been a good one in terms of the points,” he said. “We took a gamble in qualifying by staying on wet tyres and it didn’t pay off in the final seconds as others found time on dry tyres and it meant we had work to do in the races.
“Battling through to third in race one was good and I was happy to repeat the result in race two. Maybe we could have got on the podium again in race three, but the battle with Chadwick and Wilkinson limited my progress.
“It’s good that I’ve extended my lead going to Knockhill, and I’m looking forward to being back on the BTCC package in front of a big crowd again. I’ve got to say thanks to the team again for their hard work and support throughout the weekend.”
The mixed weather conditions in qualifying would ultimately lead to Alex being an unrepresentative eleventh on the grid, with rival drivers who made the switch to slick tyres slightly earlier on a drying circuit managing to set quicker times just as the session drew to a close.
Despite that, Alex fought back well when the lights went out, with a battling performance in race one enabling him to race through the field to take the chequered flag in sixth spot.
Alex looked good to make further progress in race two, but his bid to secure a first podium finish of the year would be ended by an unfortunate puncture that forced him to make an unscheduled pit-stop.
Despite the best efforts of the team to get him back on track as quickly as possible, Alex dropped off the lead lap and would finish the race down in 22nd place; a result that also meant he would start race three from the back of the grid.
Once again however, Alex showed his overtaking prowess with a storming drive through to the fringes of the top ten before the race was taken behind the Safety Car because of an incident on track.
Unable to make up further places as a result of the race being neutralised, Alex was left with a twelfth place finish to cap his weekend.
“I really got my confidence back this weekend after a few tough meetings and I think I drove well,” he said. “It was unlucky in qualifying that we made the decision to switch tyres a lap too late as I couldn’t get the best out of the them and it meant we started race one from eleventh, but I was happy to then get up to P6 and felt confident that I could push for the podium in race two.
“Sadly I picked up a puncture that meant I dropped off the lead lap, and it was particularly gutting because I was catching the cars ahead. It was fun to come through the field in race three and I was sure I could have got into the top ten had it not been for the incident that brought out the Safety Car late on.
“As a team it was great to have two podiums with Shane and I’m excited now about Knockhill and being back on the BTCC package as I really enjoy the atmosphere of the touring car weekends and racing in front of the big crowds.”