Dorset racer Josh Malin has finished a brilliant maiden Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season on a high with a brace of podium finishes in the British GT-supporting season finale at Donington Park (14/15 September).
Returning to the circuit at which he claimed his first race victory in the series earlier in the season, the 19 year old from Ferndown, who battles type 1 diabetes, headed into the season-concluding trio of races sitting fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Although Malin could not quite repeat his race-winning heroics in the final three races, a charging drive through the field from 11th to third in race two and another podium finish in a tense final contest meant he finished the year just 21 points off the championship top three.
Qualifying on Saturday morning provided the chance for the Richardson Racing driver to put himself firmly in the hunt for silverware across the weekend, and he secured third on the grid for the opening race later that day despite traffic hindering his opportunity to improve on that position.
The opening race offered very little chance for Malin to improve, reduced to just one racing lap following a multi-car incident behind. The subsequent safety car period would last for the remainder of the race, with Malin finishing fifth having dropped two spots during the frenetic first lap.
The second race started in sensational fashion for Malin as he made immediate progress from 11th on the grid. Picking up places through the first corner, he then stormed around the outside of two cars down the high-speed Craner Curves on his way to third position by the end of lap one.
Following another long safety car period, a three-lap dash to the chequered flag would decide the outcome of the race. Malin ended up finishing a close third after showing his nose to leaders Geri Nicosia and Gordie Mutch at the Melbourne Hairpin on several occasions.
Malin, who was supported for the weekend by The Car Guys.TV and Lisa Hillyard from Travel Counsellors, doubled his podium tally with another third place finish in the final race of the weekend. It became a late dash once again after another safety car interruption, with Malin nipping at the heels of winner Mutch and Nicosia to come home a close third and end his maiden season fifth in the points.
Josh Malin: "It’s been a good weekend on the whole. Race one was unfortunately mainly parade lap rather than a race, but that can happen. Starting from P11 for race two, I got a great start and managed to make brillant progress to third. To have come from P11 to be in the mix for the win was awesome.
“The last race was a tense one! It was another really close battle at the front, but the temperatures started going up in the car so I had to play it safe as the race went on. We had the pace to win it, but to come away with another podium, I can’t complain with that.
“It’s been a really great first season. I found my pace early on and that was proved by coming fifth in my first race, which I was surprised and delighted about. To then pick up podiums and a win from there has been incredible and I can’t thank my family and sponsors enough for supporting me all the way through.
“People said that by having diabetes, I couldn’t be a racing driver, so it’s been refreshing to prove that minority wrong and to feel the support I’ve had on my journey.
"Looking ahead, in an ideal world I’d like to stay in something like this to go for winning the championship next year, but should other opportunities arise you have to take them. We’ll wait and see.”
Press release by Dan Mason.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.