Stuart Middleton and team mate Will Tregurtha had a near perfect start to their European GT4 campaign this weekend at the first round of the series in Zolder.
Qualifying took place on Saturday morning in very warm conditions, Middleton went out first to qualify for race 1 in the #55 HHC Ginetta but with huge 44 car grid was unable to get a traffic free lap and had to settle for 3rdplace with a 1.38.454 just 0.407 behind the pole position Phoenix Audi. Next up was team mate Will Tregurtha to qualify for race 2 and with a clear lap managed to set a time of 1.38.259 which was good enough to secure pole 0.323 seconds ahead of the Equipe Verschuur McLaren.
Race 1 started at 16.50 local time and Middleton managed to move into second at the rolling start but eventually was passed by the Equipe Verschuur McLaren. As the chequred flag dropped team mate Tregurtha crossed the line in 3rdplace. A stewards decision the following day added a time penalty for the #10 Mclaren moving the HHC duo up to 2ndplace.
Race two on Sunday morning saw Tregurtha start from Pole position and at the start he started to build a gap from the chasing pack, after a lengthy safety car Tregurtha pitted for the mandatory driver swap and as Middleton continued in the lead he came under severe pressure from the #5 Audi and with 3 laps to go he eventually passed Middleton to take the lead. With two laps to go the #5 Audi was given a 31 second penalty for a pit stop infringement which Stuart was told over the radio meaning there was no need to fight with the leading car and came home in first place.
Stuart Middleton, #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4: “Will managed to do a very strong stint in race 2. We had a very clean pit stop and I got into clean air when I exited the pit lane. I just kept pushing the car and the tires seemed to have a little more life left in them, so I kept trying to manage my pace. I knew I had to be very consistent and keep driving the way I was. Traffic allowed the #5 Audi that was chasing me down to close up quite a lot. He was trying hard, he had the pace but as soon as he got past I received the call that he would get a penalty. That allowed us to just cruise in the end. Its been a great start to the Championship and I can’t wait until the next round at Brands Hatch”
The next round of the European GT4 Championship is at Brands Hatch on May 5th& 6th