Richardson Racing impress with podium in GT5 finale
The Richardson Racing team enjoyed a fine end to the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season with a podium finish during the final meeting of the year at Donington Park. The Corby-based outfit headed for the East Midlands circuit hoping to end the campaign on a high after tough weekends at both Spa and Knockhill, with driver Alex Toth-Jones eager to try and return to the front-running form he had shown earlier in the year. On the pace in pre-event testing, Bradford-racer Alex qualified seventh on the grid for race one, which was held in wet conditions on Saturday afternoon. A storming start saw Alex rocket up to P2 on the opening lap, but a set-up gamble would work against him as he found himself struggling for rear-end grid as the race wore on. As a result, he would slip back to sixth spot by the finish - not helped by a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits. Race two would prove to be a chaotic affair, with Alex moving up two spots at the start before the safety car was deployed for an incident further down the field. Only four racing laps would be left when the safety car was withdrawn, with Alex battling hard to find a way ahead of rival Geri Nicosia. He would eventually secure a place on the podium following an astonishing move that saw the pair run side-by-side for almost half a lap before Alex edged ahead into The Esses. Alex looked well placed to build on that podium in race three, with another strong start vaulting him up from seventh into P4 before an accident forced officials to halt the action. Put back to seventh on the grid for the restart, Alex was then forced to dive into the pits before the restart to allow the team to fix an issue on the car, so was only able to join the action once the race had got underway. An astonishing run from there to the finish saw him lapping quicker than anyone else on track as he not only caught the pack ahead, but also climbed up to twelfth spot by the time the chequered flag dropped.
“We faced every all conditions over the weekend and we were strong in all of them,” he said. “The car was absolutely awesome and the team did a fantastic job to fix the issues that we had at Knockhill, which allowed us to return to the kind of form we know we are capable of. “The start to race one was great but we had taken a bit of a risk with the set-up on the car and as the race wore on, I was struggling with rear traction and couldn’t maintain my place. “Race two however was awesome and to get a podium finish from the few racing laps there were was brilliant. It’s a result that was overdue and came after one of my best moves of the season to get the place from Geri. “Race three was unfortunate because we’d made up places before the red flag and then I had to pit before the restart, which meant I was at least five seconds off the back of the pack when the lights went out. “To come from there to finish twelfth - and to be the quickest car on track whilst running in traffic - was a great way to end the year and, if I put the result to one side, was arguably my best drive of the season.”
Alex ends the season fifth in the championship standings with a pole position and four podium finishes to his name.