In-form North East racer Scott McKenna channelled his motorsport heroes to take another step closer to the Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge title, with a brace of wins at Zandvoort in Holland.
Carrying the helmet colours of his late motorsport hero, Ronnie Peterson, who finished second at the Dutch venue in what would ultimately to be his final F1 race in 1978, McKenna quickly adapted to the picturesque circuit on his maiden visit to Zandvoort.
Qualifying offered a glimpse of McKenna’s frontrunning pace, the championship leader from Stokesley, North Yorkshire, lining up third fastest on the grid ahead of the weekend’s three races.
From then, a tense trio of encounters pitted the Xentek Motorsport youngster in combat with title rival Adam Smalley, who narrowly pipped McKenna in the opening contest on Saturday. McKenna kept the leader honest in the closing stages, having grabbed second place from Gordie Mutch late in the race after a clean fight between the pair.
The Donington winner finished a close 1.6s adrift to maintain his title authority, but he hit back strongly in race two to take victory after an entertaining duel with Mutch, Geri Nicosia and Smalley – the latter demoted to third afterwards by stewards for a collision with Mutch.
McKenna’s winning cushion was a mere 0.191s as less than a second covered the top four, and it would soon get even better for the Xentek driver.
A Sunday double was completed with a hard-fought victory in race three from pole position, McKenna fending off his rivals from the front at the slipstream-friendly circuit. The reward was sealing his second win of the weekend by a narrow 0.064s from Smalley, as the pair took the chequered flag side-by-side at the track which will host the Dutch Grand Prix once again next year.
McKenna therefore extends his championship lead to almost 50 points with two meetings remaining, riding the purple patch of having claimed five wins in the last eight races.
“It was absolutely incredible to race at Zandvoort; not only to race, but to cross the line first in the last race of the weekend was a very surreal experience. My heroes have raced at Zandvoort and to do the same was something I’ll never forget.
“I had a good battle with Gordie and eventually passed him to finish second in race one, then it was exactly the same scenario on track in the following race. In the final race I had to defend for the entire race from start to finish. We won by such a tight margin and going side-by-side over the line at Zandvoort was an experience I’ll not forget!”
The penultimate meeting is back in the UK at Snetterton’s 300 circuit in Norfolk, supporting the British Touring Car Championship on 3/4 August which will be shown live on ITV4.
“Our full focus is now on Snetterton and what we can do in order to optimise our performance, win races in front of the fantastic BTCC crowd and further extend our championship lead.”