Charlie Robertson fended off a determined challenge from Carl Breeze to take his third win of the season in Round 10 of the 2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup at Oulton Park.
Bouncing back well from a tough weekend last time out at Thruxton, pole-sitter Robertson produced a composed performance under immense late pressure from Breeze to take victory, the latter being left to rue an early error that cost him nearly three seconds.
“It’s been a really good day,” Robertson told TCF. “Thruxton wasn’t great, so coming here we had to do something to get my championship back on track, and to get a win in the first race of the weekend is the perfect way to do it.”
Robertson nearly lost his chance of victory before the race had even started however, a spin at Cascades on the formation lap leaving him stuck in the wet grass. Fortunately help from some burly marshals got him back on track, sparing his blushes.
The HHC Motorsport ace produced a good start off the line to maintain his lead heading into Old Hall, while behind great getaways from Breeze and David Pittard saw them leap into the top three at the expense of Century Motorsport’s Jamie Orton.
2012 Supercup champion Breeze was quickly onto the rear bumper of Robertson’s Ginetta G55 GT4 and feigned a move into Old Hall second time around. Later in the lap his challenge had a blow though when a lock-up under braking into Knickerbrook forced him to negotiate the slip-road chicane.
Breeze just emerged ahead of Pittard in second, but found himself now 2.6 seconds adrift of the race leader. After getting back into his rhythm, the gap was soon gradually decreasing as Breeze hustled his United Autosports Ginetta around the undulating Oulton circuit.
With four laps to go, Breeze found himself within half a second of Robertson and looking for an overtaking opportunity. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t forge an opportunity, allowing Robertson to go on and take the win by 0.373 seconds.
“Carl [Breeze] was really, really fast over the opening few laps. I thought he might have gone for a set-up that would have made him quick early on, but he was fast throughout,” added Robertson.
“I saw him drop down the escape road and thought that was my chance to get away, but I made a few mistakes and he caught back up. He was relentlessly chipping away at me, but I managed to hold him off.”
Behind, a fierce battle for third raged throughout the twelve lap race, with Pittard heading a train of cars wanting to take the final podium spot. Orton and his Century team-mate Tom Oliphant led the charge, however the latter’s fight ended when a steering problem led to an off-track moment at Cascades and eventually retirement.
Describing himself as “the cork in the bottle”, Pittard had to use all his racecraft to successfully hold off Orton and take his fifth consecutive podium, in the process reclaiming the championship lead for the second time this year.
“Starts are one of my strengths, and it is for Carl [Breeze] too, so I knew there’d be a nice Ginetta sized gap ahead of me. I just slotted into third and I knew that was going to be the finishing order really, as it’s so narrow around here I knew it would be difficult to overtake,” said Pittard.
“After that I’m not really happy with the race. I was expecting to at least fare some sort of challenge to the front two, so we’ll work tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Orton took fourth, while enjoying a return to form was Luke Davenport, the United Autosports ace being right in the thick of the action en-route to a fifth place finish.
Erstwhile championship leader Andrew Watson slipped down to tenth early on after a poor start, but the Douglas Motorsport racer fought back well and set the fastest lap of the race en-route to a top six finish.
Academy Motorsports duo Will Burns and Sean Huyton were next up, Burns losing his top six placing to Watson on the penultimate lap, while completing the finishers was Pepe Massot. Reece Somerfield and Dan Norris-Jones both retired into the pits.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/142303g50.pdf