Toth-Jones on the pace at Oulton Park
Alex Toth-Jones showed he will be a front-runner in the race for the 2017 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge despite a challenging start to his campaign at Oulton Park.
Having re-signed with the Corby-based Richardson Racing team for a second successive season, the Bradford racer made the trip to Cheshire for the Easter Monday race day keen to build on the impressive pace he displayed over the course of his debut campaign.
As ever, qualifying would prove to be a hard fought affair in the ultra-competitive one-make series, with drying track conditions only adding to the challenge on track.
Quickly establishing himself as one of the fastest men on track, Alex looked set to secure a spot at the head of the field until the closing moments of the session, when others were able to make the most of clear space on track – and the improving circuit conditions – to demote him back to sixth place.
With his pace having been clear to see, Alex went into the opening eight lap race of the season keen to fight forwards through the pack, and ran strongly in the top six throughout.
Setting the third quickest lap time despite running in traffic, Alex climbed as high as fourth and looked well positioned to challenge for the podium positions until contact on the final lap saw him slip back to an unrepresentative sixth spot.
The early stages of race two saw Alex once again making up places but running slightly off line whilst fighting for position at Island Bend on the third lap saw him put a wheel onto the damp part of the circuit, which in turn saw his car slide onto the grass.
Once on the wet grass, Alex was a passenger as he slid into the barrier on the inside of Shell Oils Corner – putting him out of the race on the spot.
Although the team worked hard to repair the car in time for the third and final race of the weekend, delays to the schedule led to the cancellation of the race, preventing Alex from using the pace in his car to launch a trademark fight through the pack.
Despite that cancellation, Alex sits tenth in the championship standings ahead of the second meeting of the year at Rockingham at the end of the month.
“It turned out to be an interesting way to start the season,” he said. “I was glad to be back out racing as it seems to have been a long winter, and I was pleased with the way that I performed in qualifying and race one where we showed really strong pace in what is a very competitive field.
“The crash in race two hampered my progress and it was unfortunate that the decision was then taken to cancel race three as the team had done a great job to repair the car and I was really confident that we could race forwards through the field given the speed we had shown up to that point.
“Although the results from this weekend could have been better, I’m taken a huge amount of confidence from the pace we showed and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and fighting for some silverware.
“Finally, having been at Donington Park to support the team at the weekend, I’d like to say that my thoughts are firmly with Billy Monger and his family following his accident on Sunday, and I wish him well in his long road to recovery.” #Billywizz #Forzabilly thinking of you buddy.
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