Staffordshire based MTECH Racing got their British GT championship off the perfect start with wins in both of the opening Oulton Park weekend races.
The team's Ferrari 430 Scuderia, driven by Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron, started on the outside of the front row for both races, but took the lead from the pole-sitters around the halfway mark of the series' one-hour races.
Race one saw Duncan Cameron start the car, falling in behind the reigning champion, Preci-Spark Ascari of David Jones. David was typically rapid in the car he shares with his twin brother Godfrey, holding off on the mandatory driver-change pitstop until the last available moment pitting with a minute advantage over the MTECH squad and emerging with four seconds in hand.
However, as Godfrey was settling into his stint aboard the car he span off at Druids, smacking the barrier before meekly limping the car back to the pits in retirement.
Their retirement handed the MTECH Ferrari a commanding lead over the Rosse Verde car that Allan Simonsen had taken over in the pits, but in the closing laps the lead car slowed with a mechanical problem that team later identified as a broken exhaust. “We weren’t sure where it had split,” said Duncan Cameron. “So we told Matt to slow it down. It was a very nervous final 15 minutes of the race, but we’re very relieved now.”
The problem saw the chasing Dane scythe the deficit from over 30 seconds to just over ten at the checkered flag.
Third, after the demise of the Ascari had fallen to the Trackspeed Porsche on the marque's return to the series after a sabbatical last year with young Spanish driver Siso Cunill's lightning opening stint largely to thank. But with only a handful of laps remaining the Barwell/Cadena Aston Martin slipped past into third with the Audi R8 LMS of Zak Brown and Richard Dean following past into fourth despite a thirty second penalty as organisers felt the duo were too experienced.
The no.23 Remington back car was another of the race's promising debuts, especially with team co-founder Dean called into the driving seat relatively late. However, it was Brown who took the Driver of the Day award from fuel suppliers Sunoco for his performance in his first ever Oulton Park race.
Race two saw the Simonsen, starting in the Rosso Verde car, pick up where he left off, taking the lead from Matt Griffin, holding the lead for the first half of the race until Hector Lester replaced him mid-race. As Lester rejoined the track he was greeted by the rear of the red MTECH car and could only look on in despair as it pulled away from him, with none of the mechanical nail-biting of race one.
“Two wins from two races is an unbelievable result; we’re over the moon,” said Cameron. “It was easier passing the Rosso Verde car than I thought it was going to be, because we didn’t have to pass him on track. I don’t know what went wrong with their pit stop but he came out behind me. Happy days!”
As Lester was dropping back from the lead he was coming under increasing pressure from the David Ashburn in the Trackspeed Porsche, which had benefitted from pit delays for the Predator CCTV Ferrari, however Lester was able to hold on to complete a brace of second places.
“Better that than finishing nowhere or spinning off or something,” said Ulsterman Lester. “We arrived here in a very disorganised fashion so to salvage two second places, we’re very happy.”
Predator CCTV's problesms saw them drop back to seventh, behind both the United Autosport Audi's and the Chad Racing Ferrari of Paul Warren and Tom Ferrier.
There were more problems for the Preci-Spark Ascari, the Jones brothers forced to retire after only six laps.
In the G4 class race honours, like those in qualifying, were split between the Speedworks Ginetta of Christian Dick and Jamie Stanley and Benjamin Harvey and Rory Butcher in the ABG Motorsport KTM X-Bow. Each won the race they started from the class pole, Speedworks the first and ABG the second, both times with the Piranha Motorsport Lotus 2-Eleven a strong third as they open a full British GT campaign.
The Kinfaun Racing Porsche was the sole representative of the Cup Class, aimed at attracting refugee teams from single make series, but despite the lack of competition driving duo John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh still recorded two strong finishes, coming home eleventh overall in race one and an amazing eighth in the second race of the weekend.
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography