Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge squad SV21 had an encouraging start to their championship campaign last weekend at Oulton Park, David Pittard being a front-runner throughout despite being unlucky to miss out on a podium.
Former Britcar ace Pittard qualified on the front row alongside Luke Davenport for the weekend’s first two of three races held on Saturday (March 30), but found himself spinning to the back of the field in race one after contact with Davenport heading into Old Hall for the first time. Fuelled by determination after his first corner off, the Hertfordshire youngster became the quickest man on track for much of the race, charging through the field to grab sixth from Gary Duckman on the line.
“The first race didn’t go to plan”, said Pittard. “After just edging into the lead on the way into the first corner I couldn’t quite complete the exit and was edged out onto the grass, causing me to loose the rear of the car and spin in front of the whole pack. Fortunately I was missed by everyone and managed to rejoin in last place. Not the way I wanted to finish the first race, but considering I dropped back to last place finishing 6th is still a good result”.
Pittard’s race one disappointment looked to have turned around in the day’s second race later that afternoon, running in third position for much of the race before having to sustain pressure from Oli-Basey Fisher with a oversteering machine, suffering the heartbreak of being pipped to the flag by the former Ginetta Junior racer two corners from home.
“I made a mistake on cold tyres at the bottom of Cascades, again spinning, ultimately dropping me down to 3rd. The car started to feel very twitchy so I focused on driving a clean race and bringing it home. Unfortunately, Oli (Basey-Fisher) managed to get passed me at Druids on the last lap”.
The final race of the day saw Pittard burst into the race lead after two laps following a great start up to third, before stealing second spot at Druids and then moving past Brad Bailey into the race lead with a bold obertaking move at the Cascades left-hander, commanding a thrilling four-car dice for the lead for much of the race before Bailey lunged at the SV21 driver into Old Hall, forcing him onto the grass and down to second where a defensive race continued.
Eventually, a spin at the final corner of the race dropped him out of the podium positions, Pittard completing an unlucky but ultimately encouraging debut GT5 weekend with fourth. “The small set up change transformed the car, and with it I knew we had the pace to challenge for the win.” he added. “Once I got into the lead I tried to break away, but ended up having to defend quite hard, finally loosing out at Turn 1 by running wide and having a big moment. It was a disappointing result to finish 4th, the win was definitely there for the taking.”
Despite not coming home from the Cheshire circuit with the champagne and silverware, the SV21 driver was encouraged by his front-running pace after so little pre-season running, and is already full of optism that his luck will change at Rockingham next month: “Overall it was a good weekend. We fought with the regulars who have had over a years experience with the car compared to our 45 minutes of winter testing!
“I am disappointed to have not given the team the podium results they deserved this weekend, but am absolutely confident that at Rockingham next month we can put together some serious results.”
The team’s second driver, Alex Drabble, sealed an eighth place as his best result on his own debut in the series, an 11th place and a non-finish topping off a learning weekend for the former Formula Ford racer.
SV21 director Piers Maserati added: “I’m pleased that we set some good foundations for the year ahead. We’ve shown that the cars possess great pace, which bodes well for the next round at Rockingham in May. David had a strong start to his campaign and showed that he will be aiming to fight at the front going forward, this will provide a solid benchmark for Alex, who is only entering his second season of racing with no karting experience.”