MAX Stainton took a chunk out of Brendan Mallinder’s GP1 points lead with two wins at Donington after duking it out with Lee Williams.
While the three-time title holder, who last won in 2019, returned from a few stints in the National Superstock paddock, it was a case of points and prizes for double-race victor Stainton who now sits just six points shy of last year’s champ Mallinder in the standings.
It was the three top contenders locking out the front row in Saturday’s qualifying as Stainton stole pole position from Williams by just 0.070sec, while Mallinder pipped Kieran Smith for third on the grid.
When the lights went out for race one, Williams looked straight back to his best as he took the lead from Stainton, pulling a half second clear on the very first lap. But it bad luck hit just four laps in when he hit the deck, leaving Stainton to take the flag 10sec clear of Mallinder as Rory Parker rounded out the rostrum.
In the Sportsman ranks, Ashley Thompson held off Sam Osborne by just 0.055sec to bag the class honours in seventh overall.
Stainton lined up on pole on Sunday, but a resurgent Williams was straight back to the front, leading by over a second with just one lap completed as he continued to drop the hammer, crossing the line 14 laps later with a nearly six-second lead to win with a new Thundersport GP1 lap record of 1:08.548.
With Stainton second and Parker holding off Mallinder for third this time, Ryan Cooper was the Sportsman winner in ninth.
Stainton then took charge of race three as he led Williams and Mallinder for the opening lap, but Williams made a pass on lap two to hit the front as he looked on for a Sunday double. And while he stayed out front as the laps wound down, Stainton got him back just a few laps from the finish to take victory by 0.333sec as Parker once again got the better of Mallinder for third.
Back in 11th, it was another Sportsman win for Cooper ahead of Osborne and Luke Burnett.