Blake Angliss participated in his first races in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Donington Park this past weekend (19/20 September) and the rookie fought his way through the field to secure a maiden top-10 finish.
The 17-year-old made his car racing debut at the Leicestershire circuit in the one-make Ginetta series in support of the British GT Championship, and consistently progressed forward through the field as he returned to the car for the first time in almost six months.
A quartet of test outings on Friday gave the Coventry youngster a taste of the car he would be tasked with for the weekend, and he enjoyed a strong learning day behind the wheel in preparation for the weekend’s trio of races.
Working with Richardson Racing team-mate Josh Malin in Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session, Angliss managed to mix it with a number of the regular seasoned veterans, qualifying his Ginetta G40 13th on the grid ahead of the first race of the weekend later that afternoon.
A tactical start kept the Transend-backed youngster seemingly out of trouble heading into Redgate for the first time of asking, until a four-car battle ahead of him turned sour and became a multi-car collision heading out of the right-hander. Angliss had to take avoiding action across the gravel to miss the spinning Ginettas around him.
The safety car brought him back into the fray once again, and he climbed up almost onto the rear of the top 10 on the restart of the 15-minute contest. A battle for 11th kept the youngster’s interests until the chequered flag, coming home 12th to improve on his grid slot.
Starting from 13th in the weekend’s second race the following day, Angliss escaped any first-lap dramas to join the back of a swarm of G40s battling for position. The karting star soon found himself making up ground and joining a fierce battle for the latter end of the top ten in the final laps, coming home in 11th place.
Angliss started the final race of the weekend from 11th on the grid as his reward for improvement once again, and he moved further forward in the last contest. A solid opening lap kept him in the fight as others ahead of him jostled for position, and he tagged onto a big battle ahead for what would be sixth place.
He fought his way past early front-runner Rory McKean late in the race, also latching onto the rear of Jesse Chamberlain's car but could not quite find a way by as he rounded out a consistent weekend with 10th place, just over a second away from the top seven.
Blake Angliss:"It’s been a massive learning curve this weekend. It’s been nice to get back out in the car for the first time in about six months.
"It's been good fun going out and moving forward in each race, so we've got faster and faster as the weekend went on. We've learned as much as possible and did what we came here to do, and hopefully we can now push on next weekend which I'm really looking forward to.
"Last time I was in a car was at Silverstone back in March and this time we'll be on newer rubber. I've got over my initial 'newbie nerves' and started taking the Old Hairpin much more confidently in the races, so I'll be biting the bullet and sending it more often now!"
Angliss will get his next taste of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge this weekend as the series supports the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone’s National circuit (26/27 September).