North East Connected

North East Racer McKenna Chases GT Dream With Third Win

North East racer Scott McKenna continued his fine form by clinching a third victory in the most recent Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge meeting at Donington, moving to the top of the standings as a result.

A thrilling contest on Saturday went the way of the promising 17-year-old sportscar racer from Stokesley, North Yorkshire, who made it three victories on the spin after a fine brace earlier in the month at Silverstone.

Battling older tyres all weekend, McKenna – eyeing a future in GT racing – then fought to a brace of solid fifth place finishes on Sunday to cement his title push, moving into the lead of the championship for the first time.

Sharing the bill with British GT at the full-length Donington Park GP circuit in Leicester, the Xentek Motorsport youngster earned another pole position ahead of the weekend’s triple header after a tight qualifying session, hindered by traffic late on as times began to tumble.

Later that Saturday, McKenna took the fight to fellow front row starter Geri Nicosia in a tense eight-lap opening race. Part of a five-car lead battle, the two title protagonists swapped places on numerous occasions in the final laps, McKenna making the crucial move stick at McLeans on the last tour to make it three wins on the bounce.

“We got a good lap in that put us on pole, but we didn’t get a second quick time in down to traffic which is just bad luck”, said McKenna.

“Race one was such a good battle. The last three laps; it was just Geri and myself overtaking each other – it was proper racing. I got a better exit out of the Old Hairpin, then had to out-brake him which was risky, but it worked. Then it was defend, defend, defend like my life depended on it!”

Starting seventh on the grid for race two on Sunday morning, McKenna held his ground on older rubber and advanced to sixth place on the road, promoted to fifth after a technical infringement excluded the winner.

The final race was another hotly-contested encounter. Starting from fifth, McKenna used his ice driving experience on worn tyres to haul himself into the lead battle and finish a strong fifth, keeping title rivals Adam Smalley and Gordie Mutch in sight.

“We started fifth for the last race and I was hanging on, as we went on older tyres all weekend. We’re trying to work it out so we can use brand new tyres for the rest of the season. It bit us back [at Donington], as the tyres level off after heat cycles, and I had to graft to get those fifth place results.

“It’s more points at the end of the day and it was massive for us. We’re in a good position now for Zandvoort and Snetterton. Hopefully the next few rounds will be strong for us.”

A purple patch in form for McKenna now vaults him into the lead of the GT5 Challenge Drivers’ Championship, while Xentek Motorsport grabbed the Teams’ Championship lead with three meetings remaining. The next of those is a visit across the waters to Zandvoort in Holland on 6/7 July.

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