Impressive showing from Liona Theobald at Brands Hatch
Liona Theobald displayed excellent speed at her return to the Ginetta GT Championship at Brands Hatch, as she secured her fourth top-5 finish of the season in the GT Pro class and displayed particularly impressive pace, running consistently with the leading drivers.
Liona Theobald displayed excellent speed in the Ginetta GT Championship at Brands Hatch as she secured her fourth top-5 finish of the season in the GT Pro class. The SVG Motorsport driver qualified seventh, however it was her race pace which was particularly impressive as Theobald consistently ran with the leading drivers. A sixth place result in race three failed to highlight her performance as Liona came within just four tenths of a second of the fastest lap of the race.
Following Liona’s absence from the most recent round of the Ginetta GT Championship at Cadwell Park, she was aiming to get up to speed and target her first podium finish of the season at Brands Hatch. The weekend began with a pre-event test held on the Indy circuit on Friday with the SVG Motorsport driver taking full advantage of the track time to complete 56 laps during the course of the day, clocking the sixth fastest time in the GT Pro class.
Qualifying on Saturday morning was held on the Grand Prix layout ahead of three races to follow in what would be extremely warm conditions. Theobald did a great job to improve her times during the twenty minute session, setting the seventh fastest time in GT Pro for both races one and two. With her fastest time just eight tenths of a second away from third, Liona was aiming to push forward in the races and fight for a season’s best result.
Starting race one from seventh, Liona held her position in the opening exchanges while remaining within touching distance of the group ahead. Following an early safety car, racing resumed on lap five before a second safety car led to a red flag and a race restart.
In a shortened six-minute race, Theobald looked extremely competitive and after moving into sixth on the first restart lap, she did an excellent job to defend from former race-winner Conner Garlick. The SVG Motorsport driver was inside the top-5 by lap three and although Garlick made a last lap move on Liona, a post-race penalty elevated her back into fifth to collect her fourth top-5 finish of the season.
"Race 1 was one was a hot one! We had 2 safety cars and a red flag, then we got 6 minutes of racing. I was able to make my way up to P5 and had a really enjoyable race battling with the drivers around me" - she summed up.
Liona began race two from seventh and remained in that position following the opening lap. Remaining competitive in the early stages, Theobald set her fastest time on lap two and was hunting down Breakell Racing’s Carl Garnett for sixth position. An incident between the drivers on lap three led to Liona picking up damage and pulling into the pits. The SVG Motorsport team did a great job to send Theobald back on track and although she completed several extra laps, retired the car in the closing stages with the damage leading to a performance deficit to her rivals.
"In Race 2, unfortunately I had contact with another driver giving me damage and leading me to DNF due to a broken wishbone and wheel", Theobald explained.
Despite this setback, Liona was encouraged by her speed and although starting from ninth place following her race two finish, she knew significant progress was possible. Theobald made a measured start in order to avoid damage before moving forward, passing Gary Wager on lap two and Bal Sidhu on lap three to move up to seventh.
From there she was able to make inroads on the leading group and set the overall fastest middle sector covering the technical Grand Prix loop on lap four as she set her personal lap of the race. This brought Liona in contention for a great battle including with drivers from fourth to seventh running nose-to-tail. On lap ten, Theobald passed regular podium finisher Callum Davies and continued to set fast lap times to close out race three in sixth.
Liona’s speed in race three was further underlined by the fact that her quickest lap was just four tenths of a second away from the fastest of the race. The SVG Motorsport driver took a sizeable step forward in performance at a challenging circuit with the highest track temperatures of the season.
"Race 3 was challenging as I was starting at the back of the grid, but throughout the race I made up places to finish P6, ending the weekend on a high", Liona said.
"A massive thank you to SVG Motorsport for all their support over the weekend and their hard work! I feel that lots of progress was made last weekend and I can’t wait for the Season Finale at Donington Park."
Showing pace capable of contending for a podium finish, Theobald will be aiming for a maiden trip to the rostrum as the Ginetta GT Championship season closes out its season at Donington Park, the track at which Liona scored her season’s best finish to date, on the weekend of 21st/22nd October.