In a weekend characterised by debuts, Century Motorsport enjoyed a strong start to life in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Oulton Park.
With an established reputation amongst the Ginetta G50 ranks, expectations are high for Century in only their first season in Ginetta GT5s, with the continental driving-duo of Frederik Mortensen from Denmark and Japan’s Osamu Kawashima adding weight to their title credentials; credentials that at Oulton Park looked fully justified.
The Danish-Japanese pairing made a solid start to the Oulton weekend in Qualifying on Saturday, with Kawashima putting his G40 on the 23rd grid in only his first venture out onto the Cheshire track, and Mortensen winding up a respectable 12th on the grid-that despite one of his times being disallowed for track limits.
Saturdays opening race saw both drivers make impressive starts, with Kawashima jumping up to 18th within a matter of laps and Mortensen sustaining a race long charge to the chequered flag and a brilliant 7th place finish. For Kawashima, the ever-competitive Ginetta field had its way with the series debutant and forced him back down to a 21st place finish. Nonetheless, with both drivers continuing to adapt to the car, track and series of a whole, race two of the weekend held yet more promise.
From the start, Mortensen soon found himself back inside the top ten and challenging the field ahead, enjoying a close battle with Academy Motorsport’s Matt Flowers for 9th. The battle would prove to be race-long, and on that went the way of the Dane, with Mortensen leaving it until the last lap to dive up the inside of Flowers and take a hard earn’t 9th place. Kawashima meanwhile, had a low key race; Starting in 24th, he was up two places on the opening lap before falling back to 25th on lap three. Closing in on the pack for the remainder of the race, Osamu took the flag in 23rd position.
Race three of the weekend proved by far the most chaotic and perhaps impressive for Century, with a faulty alternator on Mortensen’s car forcing the Dane to start from the pit lane. His teammate meanwhile, continued to learn his trade in the Ginetta GT5’s, taking a solid result of 21st after starting the race back in 23rd. But if progress is the name of the game, then Mortensen stole the show; starting at the back, the young prospect sieved his way through the competitive pack in a display of cutting edge racecraft and ruthlessness, eventually finishing the race in a fantastic 11th place from the very back of the 25 car pack.
Suffice to say after an impressive start to his team’s life in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Century Motorsport’s Team Principal Nathan Freke was delighted. “Testing was ok for us in our first weekend. Both drivers have improved all weekend.
“Frederik had some really good results in the races and showed some really good race craft especially in race three where he was forced to start from the pitlane. Osamu has been improving all weekend, which is the objective at the minute. Rockingham will be even better again hopefully.”
Freke, Mortensen, Kawashima and the rest of Century Motorsport will be aiming to continue their steady progression in the series next weekend at the second round of the 2014 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenege, on the cascading tarmac of Rockingham Speedway.