Saturday morning, in extremely windy and damp conditions, the qualifying session got underway. Nathan Heathcote and Jack Oliphant qualified in fourth and fifth respectively and Peter Bassill qualified in 11th.
The first race was at 14:45 under the stormy Derbyshire skies. The race was to be very frustrating, with not much racing involved due to safety cars taking over 7 of the 12 laps. An incident on the first lap saw four cars come out of the race, two of which were competitive Am Class drivers. This promoted Heathcote to second, Oliphant to third and Bassill to 10th.
Racing resumed on lap 5 and before long a second incident led to another safety car being deployed. Three laps later, with just four laps remaining, racing resumed and the number 15 car of Taylor sneaked past Oliphant. Moments later, Heathcote slowed for an incident ahead and Taylor managed to get past Heathcote then too, leaving Heathcote finishing in third place and Oliphant in fifth. On the final lap of the race, a broken power steering belt caused Bassill to finish the race in the gravel trap.
After a very long wait due to the schedule falling behind, race 2 finally got underway at 18:30 Saturday evening in dry but windy conditions. Heathcote grabbed the lead off the line and controlled the Am class race right up until lap 11 of 18 where a small mistake by Heathcote saw him drop down the order to the back of the field. He fought his way through and managed to cross the finish line in seventh place.
Oliphant had a storming first few laps and by lap 10, he was in third place, being promoted to second once Heathcote clipped the kerb and spun out. The number 11 car of Lewis found a way past Oliphant, leaving Oliphant to cross the line in third place.
Bassill found his rhythm and his final few laps were filled with green sectors – improving his lap times, finishing in 10th place.
Sunday’s race, shown live on ITV4, saw a reverse grid of the top four from race 2, putting Oliphant second on the start grid. A steady getaway off the line saw Oliphant drop a few positions meanwhile Heathcote was on a mission to get to the front. Heathcote set the fastest Am Class lap on his third lap, before disaster struck. Just as Heathcote was finishing his next flying lap, the car in front lost control at the final chicane and Heathcote took avoiding action but couldn’t clear the car completely – hitting his rear corner, sending him into the tyre wall on the pit straight. Luckily, Heathcote was unscathed despite the car being severely damaged. A further two more cars were caught up in the incident bringing the red flags out.
The marshals and circuit staff did an excellent job of clearing the track of debris along with the four cars. 30-minutes later there was a race restart. Oliphant impressed from the start, finding third place with three laps to go. He was putting in some phenomenal lap times and he crossed the finish line in third, taking away his second trophy of the weekend along with achieving the fastest Am Class lap of the race with a speedy time of 1m10.491s.
Bassill continued to improve his lap times and came away with his best result of the weekend, finishing in seventh.
There is now a long break until the next Ginetta GT4 SuperCup round, with no races in the month of May. The next round will be held at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit on 15th – 16th June.
Nathan Freke, owner of Century Motorsport:
“Overall it was a good weekend for us. The last race was a real shame and no one likes to see an incident like that, but I’m glad all the drivers were OK. There was a lot of damage to Nathan’s car, but this is the nature of racing and we will be back on the grid all fixed for Croft.
Jack had a great weekend, showing some blistering pace and some great race craft and should be very happy with his results.
Peter had a bit of a shaky start to the weekend but really found his groove in the races and the times really started to tumble, which is something he should be really happy with.
We are looking forward to Croft already!”
“Donington was pretty much everything I’d hoped for! I’ve always been strong there and it’s a bit of a shame it didn’t come later in the season. But I felt we had an amazingly balanced car thanks to Century, and I like to think my racecraft only got better as well. All in all a brilliant weekend spent with the team and my family – just a shame we have to wait 6 weeks until Croft!”
“It’s a massive shame to not come away with some better results this weekend. We had the pace but it just wasn’t to be. Onwards and upwards for round 3 at Croft Circuit.”
“A great weekend despite the weather. The cold and wet posed some challenging conditions but I found my form again and the lap times tumbled. With some excellent experience at my home circuit I am now super excited for Croft.”