Dorset racer Josh Malin has continued his brilliant start to the 2020 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge season, with a standout performance at Knockhill netting him a fourth victory of the campaign so far this past weekend (28/29 August).
Bursting with confidence following a sensational double victory at Oulton Park a week prior, Malin headed north up the M6 to Scotland and a first ever visit to Knockhill. For the second weekend in succession, he would be racing in support of the British Touring Car Championship.
Affectionately referred to as a ‘rollercoaster’ circuit due to its fast, undulating nature, Knockhill provides a unique challenge. Malin immediately got up to speed with the track during pre-event testing and impressed to finish second quickest in both of Friday’s free practice sessions.
Unfortunately he didn’t get the opportunity to showcase that pace again in qualifying on Saturday morning. A technical issue with his Ginetta G40 meant he missed the first half of the session, before a red flag stoppage halted his momentum as he pushed in the closing stages.
In the circumstances, the Ferndown based racer was ultimately pleased to therefore secure fifth on the grid for both of the weekend’s races. In the opener that afternoon, he was able to get straight into the battle for a podium finish in his Richardson Racing machine.
Moving up to fourth place on the opening lap, Malin then pounced on an opportunity a few laps later to grab third position as a driver ran wide. Not content with settling for third as he aimed to gain ground in the championship standings, he soon mounted a challenge for second.
Proving lap after lap to be better under braking into the final hairpin, he went for a move and almost got the space. Unfortunately another driver slipped up the inside of him though and he dropped back to fourth, where he remained through to the chequered flag.
With a strong haul of points under his belt, Malin had high hopes for race two on Sunday afternoon, which was broadcast live on ITV2. Fired up behind the wheel of his The Car Guys and Digital Motorsports backed car, he made immediate progress over the course of the opening lap.
Picking off one driver at McIntyres corner, he almost got another at the final hairpin as he settled in fourth place. Following a short safety car period, Malin found himself in the thick of the action in an entertaining five car battle at the front of the field.
A slick move out of Clark’s on lap six gained him two places to second, before he forced the leader into a mistake at the same corner a lap later to storm to the front. With a determined pack of drivers behind, he would have to produce a faultless drive to remain in front.
The 20 year old did exactly that, putting his Ginetta in the right position at every corner to ensure he stayed ahead and came home with the race victory. Excited celebrations followed with his family and team, as well as a live television interview on ITV.
Josh Malin:“What an incredible race that was to cap off a great week in Scotland. It was my first time racing at Knockhill so the testing and free practice was crucial to get up to speed and while we had some issues, we headed into the weekend in a good place.
“Considering the circumstances, I’m happy to have salvaged a couple of fifth place starts in qualifying. That put me right in the podium mix in both races and while I missed out in the first one, I couldn’t be happier with how the second one went.
“It’s always a treat to race live on ITV alongside the BTCC and we put on a hell of a show on Sunday. It was some of the closest racing I’ve been part of in this series and on a circuit that’s quite tricky to overtake around, to fight through from fifth on the grid to the win is amazing.
“To end on such a high gives us a great feeling for the long, long journey home. We’re in a good position in the championship heading into the next rounds, and I must say a massive thank you to Richardson Racing, my sponsors and my family for making this all possible.”
The Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge returns to the track next month at Donington Park in support of British GT (19/20 September), before heading to Silverstone a week later to compete alongside the BTCC again (26/27 September).