Ella Lloyd claims Ginetta GT Championship lead at Cadwell Park
With a hattrick of podium finishes across the weekend at Cadwell Park, including two victories, Ella Lloyd is now in command of the Ginetta GT5 Pro Championship for the first time this season.
With a hattrick of podium finishes across the weekend, including two victories, Ella Lloyd is now in command of the Ginetta GT5 Pro Championship for the first time this season. Lloyd maintained her exceptional single lap pace claiming a double pole position at Cadwell Park, before dealing superbly with both wet and dry conditions to score podiums in each of the three races.
Taking the checkered flag by a sizeable margin in the final race of the weekend underlined her dominance as Ella asserted herself in the Ginetta GT Championship with just two rounds of the season remaining.
Fresh off an extremely productive British F4 test at Donington Park earlier in the week, Ella was aiming to return to winning ways in the Ginetta GT Championship. Friday’s test sessions brought initial encouragement in dry conditions, ending the day second in GT5 Pro, less than one tenth of a second behind Luke Garlick while topping three of the six sessions.
Conditions were substantially different on Saturday morning with wet conditions gracing Cadwell Park ahead of the scheduled warm-up session prior to qualifying. Ella showed fantastic speed in challenging conditions to set the fastest time in GT5 Pro by three seconds from her nearest rival. This pace translated into a wet qualifying session as Lloyd claimed another double pole position in the Ginetta GT Championship by over half a second, with her second fastest lap placing her at the front of the grid by almost one second.
Drivers were faced with equally challenging conditions for the opening race of the weekend which led to a rolling start. Ella led the GT5 Pro field away and held top position after the first lap. Being the first driver in her class to explore the wet track gave her rivals a slight advantage and they kept Lloyd on her toes, with the top-3 drivers separated by just over a second at the end of lap four.
Ella did her best to extend the gap during the middle portion of the race but remained under severe pressure from both Sam Harvey and Luke Garlick, leading by just three tenths of a second at the end of lap nine. The following lap the Xentek Motorsport driver opened up a lead of over a second for the first time and used this opportunity to set her fastest laps of the race, further extending the gap to two seconds as she collected her eighth victory of the season. Setting her fastest time on the final lap showed her confidence in closing the race as she aimed for her first weekend-sweep of the season.
Lining up on pole position for a dry race two, Ella made a great start and held the lead with her rivals in close proximity. Both Harvey and Garlick attempted to challenge the Xentek Motorsport driver in the early stages, remaining within half a second of Lloyd. On lap five, an incident between the leading drivers resulted in retirements for Harvey and Garlick with a red flag shortly displayed after for another incident on-track.
During the red flag period, rain began falling which led to the teams fitting wet tyres for the restart. Ella opened up a gap of three seconds on the first lap of the eight minute restarted race, quickly extending her advantage over Breakell Racing’s Karim Sekkat. Lloyd continued to display her dominance in GT5 Pro, taking the checkered flag with a margin of over ten seconds. A post-race penalty led to the victory being taken away from Ella, with the Xentek Motorsport driver classified in second, still scoring 31 points via her second place finish in addition to a bonus point for fastest lap.
Starting the third and final race of the weekend from second courtesy of her race two result, Ella quickly took the lead off the line on what was a drying track. Slowly building her lead in the opening laps, Lloyd knew that a victory would see her claim the championship lead for the first time this season. As her two rivals battled behind, the Xentek Motorsport driver extended her advantage to over three seconds by the end of lap seven.
Maintaining control over the race, Ella set a number of personal best lap times in the closing stages as track conditions improved, completing an extra lap than her GT5 Pro rivals to claim her second victory of the weekend.
Ella’s brilliant performances across the weekend have now seen her open up a 29 point advantage over her nearest championship rival Luke Garlick. With 30 points awarded for a second place result, the margins are still tight and Lloyd will know one retirement could prove pivotal in the title fight.
Two rounds consisting of six races remain in the Ginetta GT Championship with drivers now taking a short break before the action resumes at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on the weekend of 9th/10th September.