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Orton sets the pace for Century Motorsport at Knockhill

Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland would be the venue for the latest three rounds of the 2013 Ginetta GT Supercup. Teammates Pepe Massot and Jamie Orton, who both made their debut for Century Motorsport at the last rounds in Snetterton, were keen to continue their impressive showing in the second half of the season.

While Orton didn’t have lady luck on his side in the races, his free practice and qualifying pace proved that he had certainly found that sweet spot with his new team. Pepe Massot made a superb return to the championship after the summer break. The young Spaniard visited the podium in all three races at Snetterton and was keen to continue this form at Knockhill.

Having narrowly missed out on taking pole position at Snetterton on the final lap, Jamie Orton once again set the fastest time from early in the session in Knockhill before the red flags came out. However Orton altered his crew in the pitlane that he was struggling with fuel surge issues. Despite his crew being granted permission to re-fuel the car, Orton’s fastest times were later removed due to a technicality in the re-fuelling procedure. Despite this, Jamie would line up seventh on the grid for race one. Having had a challenging run during Friday’s free practice sessions, Massot and his Century Motorsport crew had clearly found the pace they were looking for. Fourth fastest time in qualifying would put Pepe seventh on the grid for Saturday afternoons race one taking into account a three place grid penalty from a minor incident at the last round in Snetterton.

Keen to make up for having his pole position taken away from him that morning, Jamie Orton got a superb start off the line and by the end of the opening lap was now up to sixth at the end of the opening lap. Pepe Massot was now locked in battle with former Hot Rod star Carl Boardley. The pair were running bumper-to-bumper right from the opening lap. Orton was now on a charge and eager to make his way further up the order. Now right on Rob Boston’s bumper, Jamie was struggling to find a way past the KX Academy driver. Finally on lap 13, a superb run down to Knockhill’s famous hairpin allowed Jamie to setup a rarely successful move around the outside of Boston to move into fourth position in a drag race down the main straight. Feeling a podium in race one should have been his, Jamie set after former team mate Carl Breeze in the final laps and as they crossed the finish line would just miss out on passing the reigning champion by one tenth of a second. Pepe Massot was unable to find a way past Carl Boardley and as they crossed the finish line Massot finished seventh.

Sunday morning’s race two grid was decided based on the finishing order of Saturday’s race one. Starting fourth, Jamie Orton was confident that his pace would allow him to mix it at the front from early on. Pepe Massot was keen to move up from seventh quickly and reignite his podium run. Jamie got a good start and was staying with the lead pack for the early stages of the race just behind Carl Breeze. The demise of Carl Boardley on lap six allowed Pepe Massot to move up to sixth, but was now coming under pressure from a charging Rob Boston and Andrew Watson who both found a way past on lap nine. Back towards the front, Jamie found himself struggling to find a way past a defensive Carl Breeze, which was in turn allowing Andrew Watson to close in. Eventually Orton managed to get along side Breeze but couldn’t make the pass and this allowed Watson to slip ahead. Trying to get back to challenge again, Jamie spun at Scotsman and this left him down in ninth as he rejoined the action. When the chequered flag was raised, Orton crossed the line ninth followed by teammate Pepe Massot in 13th.

Sunday afternoon’s race three covered live on ITV4 was a final chance for both Jamie and Pepe to reflect their known pace and earn a deserving result. Starting eighth and 12th on the grid respectively, the pair would have to work hard early on to make their way up the order. A superb start for Jamie put him up to sixth at the end of the opening lap. Likewise Pepe was on the move and up to 11th as they started lap two. Once again locked in battle with Boardley, his challenge was brought to a premature end due to an electrical fault, which caused the car to cut out. However once Pepe reset the car he was able to rejoin the action and try to earn some valuable championship points. Back out in front, Jamie Orton was once again chasing down Matt Nicoll-Jones. The abrasive nature of Knockhill hadn’t been kind to his tyres, which prevented him having the edge required to close in and challenge for the position. As the chequered flag fell Jamie crossed the line in fifth with Pepe finishing 13th.

Speaking at Knockhill on Sunday evening, Century Motorsport’s Nathan Freke said, “without the qualifying penalty, I’m sure that Jamie would have returned two wins for us as he clearly had the pace all weekend. Pepe had some tough luck this weekend – sometimes its just not meant to be! We’re looking forward to Rockingham…”