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Orange Stop Purple Patch For Enduro Motorsport At Donington Park
Sep 18 2022

Orange Stop Purple Patch For Enduro Motorsport At Donington Park

A late rain shower spiced up the action in Sunday's GT Cup Championship billing at Donington Park, as Orange Racing Powered by JMH Automotive denied Enduro Motorsport a clean sweep.

After a dominant day of results on Saturday, Morgan Tillbrook continued Enduro Motorsport's run of fine form at Donington Park with pole position and another Sprint Race triumph in tricky conditions on Sunday. The streak came to an end right at the final whistle, when Simon Orange and Michael O'Brien sealed the Pit Stop contest in style to edge closer to the GT3 title.

In the GTC group, it was a delightful double for GT Cup stalwarts Team Webb as their machine surged to victory in both races despite the best laid plans of Topcats Racing with to spoil them.

GTH mixed up their winning teams meanwhile as a sensational Sprint Race effort from Track Focused gave their Mercedes victory, sharing honours over the day with Orange Racing with JMH Auto in their McLaren. Whitebridge Motorsport took a popular win in GTB, while the Topcats squad had plenty to cheer in GTA with two victories with a Ginetta.



A feverishly tight qualifying session kicked off the day in Leicester, with Tillbrook once again the form man to beat as his first marker put down took him to the top of the timesheets.

His Saturday rival Hugo Cook tailed him all the way and at one stage the top three were covered by a mere 0.081s, only for Tillbrook to extend his cushion by just under a tenth of a second to snatch his second pole of the weekend from Cook and Orange. GTH was a tight tussle also for honours, with James Kell heading the times in that particular group in the Track Focused Mercedes ahead of Caffeine Six by Parr Motorsport's Tim Creswick.

After missing out on Saturday, Chris Murphy was able to bring out his spectacular Whitebridge Motorsport BMW E46 M3 and christen it with a pole position in GTB, while Team Webb once again headed GTC in qualifying in their Lamborghini Huracan. GTA had another Ginetta occupying the top spot but this time with Paul Maxfield for JMH Automotive.


Sprint Race

Dark clouds began to form over Donington Park as cars formed up on the grid for the first race of the day, and it would prove to be a warning come the end of a thrilling 25-minute encounter.

Tillbrook got the jump from the rolling start on his main rival Cook who kept glued to the rear bumper of the McLaren 720S for much of the race. Cook briefly snatched the lead with a bold effort around the outside at McLeans but a wide moment a corner later gave Tillbrook the edge again. Cook's chase would sadly end early on his next attack, slithering into the gravel trap at Old Hairpin.

A subsequent safety car interruption was coupled with the start of an impending downpour, which made for a treacherous surface to deal with for drivers on slick tyres in the final five minutes. Tillbrook held on with a calm display to make it three from three for Enduro Motorsport, while Paddock Motorsport's Steve Ruston performed a superb comeback drive from eighth to second overall, passing several rivals including the spinning McLarens of Orange and Iain Campbell.

Through the melee, Tom Webb not only won GTC but finished a brilliant fourth overall on the bumper of RAM Racing's Ian Loggie, ahead of the GTH winner James Kell who capped off a fabulous drive with fifth overall for Track Focused. James Wallis almost denied him with a corner to go, but his late lunge around the outside ended in the Valluga Racing Porsche Cayman spinning out at the hairpin.

Murphy and Whitebridge Motorsport were victorious in the BMW in GTB, while another triumph in GTA went the way of Topcats Racing with thanks to Sam Randon in the team's Ginetta.


Pitstop Race

The weather was kinder to drivers for the 50-minute second race, with Tillbrook starting from pole position once more in his bid for the clean sweep at Donington Park. A scintillating scrap between Tillbrook and Cook emerged in the opening laps before the latter squeezed by, only to suffer rotten luck in the form of a rear puncture that took him out of contention.

Orange was the man on a charge and subsequently pulled off a bold move around the outside of his McLaren rival Tillbrook under braking for the Foggy Esses, handing his car over to O'Brien to complete the task at hand by holding off a charging Phil Keen in the RAM Racing Mercedes he shared with Loggie. Marcus Clutton grabbed third in GT3, closing the gap to just seven seconds.

The GTC fight was also hotly contested throughout between two Lamborghini Huracan rivals. James and Tom Webb trailed in the early stages behind Jensen Lunn in the Topcats Racing with car, but kept in close proximity before taking the lead through a faster pit stop to make it a double victory for the blue machine.

GTH gave fans another intense squabble that went down to the wire. Valluga Racing looked in the best shape of all initially as their Porsche headed the opening stint of the race by just over five seconds, only to drop to third before contact at the final hairpin slid them down the order. The lead was by then with Parr Motorsport's Chris Dymond in their Porsche Cayman Clubsport, but they would come off a narrow second best in an entertaining fight with the eventual group-winning McLaren of Orange Racing with JMH Automotive - driven solely by Will Dendy.

GTA spoils again went to Topcats Racing with in the Ginetta thanks to Charlotte Birch and Sprint winner Randon on a fine weekend for the pair.


#67 Michael O'Brien

"It was a really good race. All the hard work was done early on. The standard that the team and Simon have been setting has been very high so we knew there was more to come and we finally really unlocked the pace at the end and Simon was really quick and comfortable. Had a good battle early on and we came out of the pits in the lead, there was a very slow car out the pitlane which made it a bit difficult because I nearly went right into the back of them, but from that point I just wanted to get fastest lap and be very cautious on track limits. I was just going to consolidate the position and help my team-mate out as well which was really nice."


#13 Tom Webb

"I really enjoyed that! I had the best start I think I ever had, just like the parting of the sea. Sometimes you jump on the throttle and it’s just the right timing and I seemed to have 10-15mph more than the cars ahead and they just moved into the perfect space so I didn’t need to come out the throttle. Charlotte [Gilbert]; fair play to her she was on my coat tails. We put tape on the engine because the temperatures were down but then it warmed up a bit so they were creeping up and up, I was having to short-shift and I was thinking she’s keeping me so honest here. Then the rain came and the circuit completely changed and what fun that was""


#39 James Kell

"I pulled away at the start and had a decent gap over Tim Creswick in the Porsche behind and then just tried to manage my tyres throughout the race. I could see the grey clouds in the distance and I thought this was going to get a bit interesting. The safety car bunched us all up and I just focused on getting a good restart. Then the rain started coming down heavier and I thought this was going to get even more interesting and it was a fight for survival to be honest. We had some of the slower GTC cars in front, and GT3s, so it was just trying to manage those and the GTHs behind that were closing."


#3 Sam Randon

"It’s been a great weekend to be honest, I’ve not done much racing this year - this is the second outing. It’s been great running with the Topcats guys and then it’s even better when you win a bit of silverware. The Sprint earlier was brilliant in the wet on slicks, the guys back at the team were having a look back through the stats and I think on the last lap of the race I was the fastest car on the circuit which is great - doing a faster lap than the GT3s!"

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