Oulton Park was a weekend I was really looking forward to as it has always been one of my favourite circuits, and I just couldn’t wait to get going!
I have to confess, though, that the meeting began with a slight error during Friday practice, as I clipped the inside tyre stack on the apex at Knickerbrook chicane, which ended my morning test session early and left me with a damaged car – not to mention a damaged ego!
Nevertheless, the JHR Developments boys worked hard in the midday sunshine and got my SKYCIG/KX-backed Ginetta G55 ready to go again for session two – so I think I owe them a few beers for that one! I ended up P2, but importantly, we knew there was more speed to come.
Going into qualifying the next day, given how high the temperatures were, our plan was always to do as few laps as possible in order to save the tyres for the two Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup races. I managed just that, completing only one ‘flyer’ which was enough to put me on pole position, as my rivals kept pounding round.
Heading into the first race, I was really confident about being able to get a good start and hopefully lead from the front. I did get a good start, but unfortunately Nathan Freke alongside me got a mega start and snatched the advantage into Turn One for the first time. I stuck to his bumper and tried to find a way past, but I waited until lap five to properly launch an attack.
I lined Nathan up to get the cutback on him exiting the hairpin, which I did, but after I got the run I found myself squeezed onto the grass heading down towards Knickerbrook, causing my splitter to dig into the soft ground and get ripped off – along with my front bumper – which cost me all my front downforce.
I had to change my whole approach to the race from attack to defence, with Mark Davies breathing right down my neck all the way to the chequered flag. I’ve no idea how, but I managed to hold him off to secure second place – and with my main title rival Carl Breeze battling a few issues down in fourth, the result enabled me to extend my championship lead.
In race two, we started where we finished race one – so P2 in my case – but again, I couldn’t quite match Nathan’s getaway and had to slot in behind him. And that, despite doing my damndest to find a way past, was where I stayed for the duration.
It was a rather uneventful race up until the final four laps, when I noticed the water temperature starting to climb and my engine performance gradually deteriorating. Once I had crossed the finish line to seal second position, I stopped as soon as it was safe and turned the engine off. It transpired that a punctured radiator was the culprit, which had caused the engine to get a bit warm…
Ginetta took the engine back up to their factory after the meeting and are going through it ahead of Croft this coming weekend. That’s another track I really enjoy, and one that I can hopefully go well at and further increase my championship lead – 49 points is already a great gap, but we want more!
A massive ‘thank you’ as ever to all the guys at JHR and my sponsors KX, SKYCIG and Hansford Sensors – and to all of you for checking out my blog and for your continued support.
Don’t forget, you can follow everything that’s happening with me on Twitter @TomIngram80 and at my website www.tom-ingram.com.
Hopefully I’ll see you soon…