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Impressive debut for all new Century line up at Snetterton

The Ginetta GT Supercup resumed at Snetterton last weekend after its annual six-week summer break. Century Motorsport were looking forward to the resumption of the championship with their new look team in the shape of recent signings Pepe Massot and Jamie Orton, both joining the team for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Friday testing showed signs of strong results to come from the pair with Jamie Orton leading the way for Century Motorsport in both of the days free practice sessions. Pepe Massot also put his car inside the top six as he adapted to the very changeable track conditions at the Norfolk circuit. Saturday morning was a stark contrast to Friday in terms of weather conditions with the heavy rain clearing over night. Right from the off it was Jamie Orton who continued to lead the way for Century Motorsport, setting the pace of the field with pole position from early in the session. Looking set to retain the position, Orton’s time was just pipped on the final lap of the session by championship leader Tom Ingram. Pepe Massot proved to be much more comfortable in the calmer weather conditions to qualify his Simula Racing supported machine in fourth position for the opening race of the weekend, despite a broken drive shaft and a developing braking issue during the session.

A slight off on the warm-up lap would prevent Jamie Orton from taking up his front row starting position for race one leaving Pepe Massot with a clear gap in front to make a break for the lead. A good start off the line allowed Massot to tuck in behind reigning champion Carl Breeze for the opening laps of the race. Now setting a consistent pace, Massot was always ready to cease any opportunity to pass the experienced champion. After seven close laps the chequered flag dropped and Pepe crossed the line in a superb third position, his first podium with Century Motorsport.

Sunday morning’s dry conditions provided an ideal opportunity for Jamie Orton to make his way back up the order as he started from the back of the grid after his DNF in race one. Pepe Massot was keen to improve on his third place finish in race one and once again got a solid start off the line. This time Massot had Tom Ingram for company and pushed the former Ginetta Junior and G50 champion very hard during the opening laps of the race. Jamie Orton was making fantastic progress up the order and by lap eight was now up to eighth position. Towards the head of the field Massot was trying everything he could to find a way past the experienced Ingram but as the chequered flag was prepared Pepe crossed the line to take his second third place finish of the weekend, just missing out on second by eight hundredths of a second. Jamie Orton brought his car across the line in eighth position, unable to close the gap to Andrew Watson in the final few laps.

Sunday afternoon’s live televised race three was stopped almost just as it started. Contact between Pepe Massot and Matt Nicholl-Jones at Montreal corner resulted in the latter spinning before a heavy impact from both Marcus Hoggarth and Jamie Orton blocked the circuit and brought out the red flags. The slightly shortened re-start provided Pepe with a superb opportunity to jump into the lead as Nicholl-Jones was unable to make the re-start. A superb start allowed Massot to follow reigning Ginetta G50 champion Mark Davies into the first sequence of corners in second position. However, a role reversal from race two, Pepe was now feeling the intense pressure from championship leader Tom Ingram. The pair were locked in battle for the majority of the race as Davies opened a healthy advantage out in front. However approaching the final laps of the race, the intense battle between Massot and Ingram had allowed Carl Breeze to close right in on the pair. Ingram now had to defend his third position from his main championship rival providing some breathing space for Pepe to safely take his Simula Racing Ginetta G55 across the line in second position and with it his third podium finish of the weekend.

Speaking on Sunday evening, a delighted Century Motorsport Team Principal Nathan Freke added, “as we predicted Pepe has done a fantastic job this weekend. Three very sensible drives and three podiums in his debut for Century Motorsport, we really couldn’t have asked for any better. I’m disappointed for Jamie as his testing and qualifying pace was a true reflection of what he’s got to offer. Luck wasn’t on his side in race one and unfortunately that left him playing catch up for the rest of the weekend in a position where he really should never have been. Knockhill should be very interesting!”

Century Motorsport turn their attentions to the British GT4 championship next weekend as the series resumes at Brands Hatch with Zoe Wenham and Declan Jones looking to over turn their recent run of poor results and regain their championship lead.