Middleton Regains Title Lead at Misano
Round three of the European GT4 Championship took place over the weekend at 4.2 km Misano World Circuit in the province of Rimini, Italy.
Having never driven at the track and with free practice washed out on Friday it was going to be tough going straight into qualifying on Saturday along with the added disadvantage of a heavy BOP (balance of performance) for the #55 HHC Ginetta.
With only 15 minutes of qualifying for Stuart Middleton and team mate Will Tregurtha both did an excellent job managing to put the car in P7 for both race.
As the 44-car grid took the rolling start Middleton was muscled back into 13thplace and on lap 2 dropped to 15th, clearly struggling with the heavy ballast which caused a lack of straight line speed against the nimbler opposition. Determined to move forward Middleton moved into P9 by lap 7 and after a brief safety car period Stuart had skilfully moved up the order to P6 when he pitted at the end of lap 18 to hand the car over to Tregurtha. A slick pitstop saw the pairing move up to P3 and Tregurtha set about chasing the leaders eventually crossed the line in 3rdhowever a penalty for the #10 McLaren for overtaking behind the safety car elevated the duo to second place.
Race two started with Tregurtha at the wheel, again at the start the #55 Ginetta was pushed back to P9 but as the race unfolded Tregurtha managed to regain 2 positions and pitted on lap 15 in 7thplace handing the car over to Middleton. Another perfectly timed pitstop by the team saw the duo elevated to 3rdwith Middleton now on the tail of the 2ndplace Audi and within one lap was passed and chasing the leader. As Middleton started the final lap things were looking good for the British pair but as he entered the tricky double right hand bend with the 3rdplace #111 BMW challenging his hand caught the pit limiter button on the steering wheel causing the car to lose all power and was passed by 3 cars dropping him to 5thposition at the line.
“I’m really disappointed with my mistake on the last lap as we had another podium on the cards, my arm was fully out stretched in the double right hander and I just clipped the button, we shall make some changes to the controls before the next race. Overall though we are really happy as we came to a track we have never raced on with limited track time and scored a lot of points, we came here in 2ndplace in the championship and leave with a 13-point lead so I guess you can say we got the job done!”
The next round is at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium on the 21st& 22ndof July.