Morris retains Sunoco Whelen Challenge lead despite Silverstone DNF

Morris retains Sunoco Whelen Challenge lead despite Silverstone DNF

Sunoco Whelen Challenge points leader Seb Morris continues to head this year’s standings despite suffering mixed fortunes during the latest British GT Championship round at Silverstone last weekend. 


The Welshman looked set to increase his advantage after securing GT3 Pro pole position on Saturday, but suffered a blow to both his British GT title aspirations and Sunoco Whelen Challenge stranglehold after retiring from Sunday’s three-hour race. 


The Team Parker Racing driver therefore sits just 4.18 points clear of second placed Marco Cencetti, while fellow Radical racers Tony Wells and James Littlejohn are now also within 10 points of the lead after Morris’ average score dropped by 13.48 points. 


British GT’s drivers were the only Sunoco Whelen Challenge entrants competing last weekend, and one of them - Joe Osborne - grabbed his opportunity to make further headway. The driver had been 12th in the standings but is now up to seventh thanks to second place and fastest lap of the race at Silverstone. Increasing his average score by 13.2 also means he’s now the same number of points behind table-topping Morris.


A fourth place finish sees Rob Bell slip one position to 10th, while Jon Barnes has now replaced former Sunoco Whelen Challenge front-runner Ross Gunn in 13th.


The British GT contingent has another chance to move up as well as down the table during their trip to Spa-Francorchamps on July 8/9, while the Radical European Masters drivers with Daytona 24 Hours prize drive aspirations are back in action at Silverstone on July 23/24.


British GT was also the only Sunoco 200 Challenge-eligible series in action last weekend, although reasonably poor outings for all of its main contenders ensured there was little change at the top.


Mike Robinson was fourth at the start of the weekend but has dropped three places and 19.8 points as a result of being eliminated from the race. Meanwhile Morris’ co-driver Rick Parfitt Jnr was another to record a DNF and drop a place, although extra points for securing GT3 Am class pole limited the damage to his overall average score. 


Indeed, the Bentley driver is now first of the British GT drivers in sixth but almost 40 points behind runaway leader and Mini Challenge Cooper class exponent Max Bladon. 


Derek Johnston and Liam Griffin also dropped significant points and three places apiece to prop up the Sunoco 200 Challenge top-10, while Sunday’s race has helped Beechdean AMR’s GT4 pairing Jack Bartholomew and Jordan Albert claw their way to equal-12th.


Current Sunoco 200 Challenge leader Bladon has another chance to further extend his already impressive 120-point average score when the Mini Challenge visits Rockingham this weekend. The same venue also hosts Radical Challenge, whose Steve Burgess currently occupies third in the standings.


What are the Sunoco Challenges?


The Sunoco Challenges provide an accurate assessment and comparison of performances across multiple championships during any given season. Points are awarded for qualifying and race results, including fastest lap, which are then converted into an individual average score for each competing driver over the course of a full campaign.


That means each race weekend offers drivers an equal chance to climb and drop down their respective Sunoco Challenge table. It also ensures that performances are taken into consideration across an entire season while placing less emphasis on one-off or unfair results.


As in previous years this season’s Sunoco Challenge champion will win a fully funded drive aboard a Whelen-sponsored prototype in the 2017 Daytona 24 Hours.


Meanwhile, Sunoco’s 200 Challenge champion will contest the 200-mile Daytona support race held over the same January weekend.

Click here for the current Sunoco Whelen Challenge classification and here for the Sunoco 200 Challenge classification.