Blake Angliss enjoyed a fantastic end to his 2023 race season as he scored a great pair of podium finishes on his return to the Ginetta GT Championship at Donington Park this past weekend (21/22 October).
Angliss linked up with 2023 GT Championship Teams’ champions Xentek Motorsport for the final three races of the campaign, aiming to build on his stunning first two appearances in the championship in which he scored nine podium finishes from nine races at Silverstone and Snetterton.
The 20 year old’s opportunity to get reacquainted with the Donington Park circuit for the first time in two years didn’t come in testing on Friday as planned, with constant heavy rainfall in Leicestershire leading to the complete cancellation of the day’s running.
That meant he would have to shake down his Ginetta G56 GT Pro during the first half of qualifying the next morning, which ultimately cost him dearly in the pursuit of a top qualifying result. With rainfall increasing once he started his flying laps, he was left to settle for seventh on the timesheets.
The frustration continued in race one as after a great launch off the line, Angliss found himself boxed in heading towards the first corner. Squeezed by the cars either side of him, he was powerless to avoid contact that led to a slow puncture and ultimately a trip to the pitlane.
The Coventry-based racer lapped as one of the fastest cars on circuit once a new tyre was fitted though, which was a promising sign for Sunday’s two races. He went on to produce a phenomenal drive in race two that morning, taking full advantage of a now dry track.
Initially slipping back to ninth off the start, he picked his way through a dramatic opening lap to emerge up in fourth. After a safety car period, he went on the offensive and a slick move into the Goddards hairpin secured him third. Holding that spot to the finish, a penalty for the car ahead netted him a brilliant second place finish.
That result ensured he would line up on the front row for the final race of the season. A brilliant launch got him into the lead at the start and although he slipped back to second later in the lap, he remained firmly in the fight for the win as the race developed.
A surreal gearbox glitch unfortunately cost him places with two laps to go, but he fought back to finish fourth on the road. That became third though due to a penalty for a driver ahead, ensuring he ends the campaign with 11 podium finishes from 12 races this season.
Blake Angliss: “Considering the circumstances this weekend, I’m really pleased to come away with a couple of podium finishes. The cancellation of testing on Friday led to me shaking the car down in qualifying and that put me on the back foot for the races with our grid positions.
“Once we’d put the frustration of that and the puncture in race one behind us, we had a really good Sunday. The car felt great in the dry and I enjoyed getting in the thick of the action. A win would have been nice, but I’m not going to complain at getting a couple more trophies for the collection.
“Thank you to Xentek Motorsport for all their help, it was great racing with them for the first time. Thank you also to Concept Garage Equipment, Topdon UK, Transend UK, Haigh Engineering and M.C. Rowe Civil Engineering Ltd for helping get me on the grid again.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.