Michael Crees took a second place and a win to rubber-stamp his victory in the 2017 GRDC+ championship at Donington Park – the Kent man clinching the silverware in his rookie year of car racing after several seasons of karts.
The Want2Race driver secured the title on Sunday morning with a lights-to-flag victory in the second of the weekend’s three races, putting himself far enough ahead of rival Rob Keogh that he could no longer be caught in the final encounter. He soaked up pressure from rapid Want2Race team-mate Jack Oliphant throughout, but managed to eke out a 4.2-second gap by the time the flag dropped, despite slowing right at the flag to celebrate with his onlooking team and sponsors.
Keogh battled his way bravely up to third position, but, needing to outscore Crees to keep his slim title hopes alive, it wasn’t enough to leave the destiny of the championship open going into the weekend’s and the season’s final race on Sunday evening.
Emerging from a hectic midfield scrap, Team County End’s Richard Tetlow finished fourth, ahead of polesitter Phil Ingram (Triple V Racing) and Nick Portlock, who came home a strong sixth on the new Assetto Motorsport team’s debut weekend in the series.
Shawn Fleming (SF Racing) was seventh and Triple V Racing’s David Holloway wound up eighth after taking time penalty for a jump-start. Paul Oliphant and John Wall completed the top 10 in race two, with GRDC graduate Graeme Bishopp having another strong race to come home 11th, just ahead of Ron Linn (Optimum Motorsport) and Assetto Motorsport’s Phil McGarty.
Race three took place in fading light, with familiar frontrunners Ingram, Crees and Keogh battling their way to the front and finishing in that order in a reverse-grid affair that saw John Wall and Paul Oliphant start from the front row.
Behind the top three, Triple V’s David Holloway capped off a strong season by finishing just off the podium in fourth, ahead of Paul Oliphant and GRDC graduate Tom Golding in sixth, who made up for his retirement earlier in the day in fine style.
He finished just ahead of another driver stepping up from GRDC this weekend, seventh-place Graeme Bishopp, while completing the top 10 were Shawn Fleming (SF Racing), polesitter Wall and Jack Oliphant. Nick Portlock (Assetto Motorsport) finished just outside the top 10 in 11th.