Carl Garnett Charges Forward To Mount Brands Hatch Podium Challenge
Carl Garnett almost scored a podium finish with a stunning charge from tenth on the grid to sign off an impressive weekend in the Ginetta GT Championship at Brands Hatch (09/10 September).
Returning to action following a lengthy seven-week break since the last rounds at Cadwell Park, Garnett had to wait until qualifying on Saturday morning to tackle the full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for the first time in his Ginetta G56 GT Pro car.
The lack of testing mileage on the full layout would ultimately limit his aspirations during that session in the sweltering heatwave conditions, however the Breakell Racing ace put together a couple of strong laps to secure sixth place on the grid for the opening two races.
A superb start to race one saw Garnett launch himself up two places off the line to settle into fourth, a place he then held through two safety car periods into a red flag stoppage. He pulled off another brilliant launch at the restart and was challenging for second into Paddock Hill Bend.
Unfortunately, the York-based driver found himself stranded on the outside line through the opening two right-hand corners though and was shuffled back to fifth. Good pace from there put him in the battle for the final podium position and he eventually took the finish in fourth.
Garnett produced another rapid launch in race two, but this time saw himself boxed in and had to slot back into sixth. Settling into position, he was looking to make progress when contact at the fastest corner on the circuit sent him spinning off circuit and into the barriers.
The Telescope, AC Database Services, Clearsilver and Demon Tweeks backed driver was fortunate not to come away with heavier damage to his Ginetta and a great effort from the Breakell Racing team got the car repaired and ready for the final race.
Garnett rewarded their efforts with one of his most impressive drives of the season so far. Storming up three places to seventh on the opening lap alone, he got into the top six next time round and started eyeing up the drivers ahead battling over third position.
Slick moves on consecutive laps got him up to fourth place and he soon set his sights on the final podium place. Pumping in a run of fast lap times, he closed a gap of over two seconds to less than two tenths at the chequered flag, needing just one more lap to potentially steal a podium result.
Carl Garnett:“It’s been a proper up and down weekend. Qualifying wasn’t my strongest and race two was very frustrating, but between them we got to enjoy a couple of really good races and score some good points with a pair of fourth place finishes.
“It’s always a good feeling to end a weekend like this on a high note, and that was one of my best drives in Ginetta racing. It was great fun to charge up the order and make some overtaking moves, so thank you to the Breakell Racing team for their hard work to get the car fixed for the final race.”
The final round of the 2023 Ginetta GT Championship takes place at Donington Park next month (21/22 October).
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.