Harley Haughton Finishes As Vice-Champion In 2022 Ginetta GT5 Challenge
Harley Haughton narrowly missed out on taking a sensational Ginetta GT5 Challenge title win at the season finale at Donington Park GP last weekend (15/16 October), finishing his brilliant 2022 campaign as the overall vice-champion.
The 17-year-old star headed to the 2.4-mile circuit in Leicester holding a 13-point lead in the championship as part of a three-way title fight, having previously battled for silverware at the national layout of the same circuit in the summer.
Haughton headed into the high-stakes finale in good form following a dramatic penultimate event at Brands Hatch, where the Elite Motorsport driver had increased his tally of wins to five for the season to go along with a scintilating qualifying record of eight pole positions from 12.
The latter was a record the youngster hoped to add to further on Saturday morning at Donington as he took to a drying track after two days of rain-affected testing prior. A tight session ended strongly for Haughton, grabbing a front row spot with second place on the grid and third for race two the following day.
The opening race of the day started dramatically as Haughton challenged for the lead but was squeezed out wide down to fifth place on the first lap, chasing to make up ground after a safety car restart. An evasive moment across the gravel in his battle for fourth at the Foggy Esses would undo his recovery drive unfortunately, suffering left-rear suspension failure and retirement from the race.
The fight to make up ground began on Sunday morning. Starting third on the grid, Haughton moved quickly up to second spot past one of his two title contenders, Mikey Doble, and began his pursuit of Will Jenkins up front. The pair were locked in battle for the entire race, Haughton taking the lead at the Melbourne hairpin only to lose out again at Craner Curves.
With points very much on his mind, Haughton pursued but did not risk a lunge, following Jenkins home for second place to leave him just six points behind Doble with what was almost a winner-takes-all season finale remaining. Haughton started the final race in second with his title rivals surrounding him, and challenged Jenkins for the lead at the opening corner.
The fight was interrupted by Doble at McLeans who split the pair, and Haughton became embroiled in a huge scrap with his rival lap after lap. Despite briefly sealing the place with a lunge at the final corner, he was bumped back a place two bends later and levered to fifth, battling with Ruben Hage to the flag.
Post-race however, Doble was awarded a time penalty after being deemed to have overtaken Haughton under yellow flags on the opening lap. Gaining a place in the process, the Stockport-based teenager would secure the extra points needed to finish second in the final standings.
Harley Haughton: “It’s been a really great year for us and to know that we were there in the mix for the final race of the season with two other guys shows just how competitive it was.
“We just didn’t have the luck really this weekend which is what did it for us in the end, but I’ve personally improved so much this year and that momentum I’m hoping we can take across into next year.
“We had a great streak of wins all the way from Thruxton to Brands Hatch, and we know that the pace has always been there, so there’s not much more you can take from it really when you’re on it that hard. It’s been such a competitive, hard-fought season and we’re delighted with what we’ve achieved.”
Haughton is on the lookout for new partners to join him as he continues to progress in his motorsport career through 2023 and beyond. Interested parties can get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.