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Solid performance at Silverstone for Century Motorsport

Silverstone’s Grand Prix Circuit played host for round four of the British GT Championship. The Silverstone 500 is the championship’s longest race of the season being run over three hours.

Dark skies moved in over the Northamptonshire circuit just ahead of Saturday afternoon’s two part qualifying session. Contesting qualifying one in car #42 was Tom Oliphant with Aleksander Schjerpen in car #43. Rick Parfitt Jnr and Morten Dons would subsequently take over for qualifying two. Both drivers’ fastest times were added together at the end of the second session to determine the starting order for Sunday’s big race. At the end of the two twenty-minute sessions it Rick Parfitt Jnr and Tom Oliphant who for the second weekend in a row secured pole position with Aleksander Schjerpen and Morten Dons in eighth.

Glorious sunshine soaked the track for Sunday afternoon’s three-hour race. With a season high 36 car grid it was set to be a thrilling afternoon. As the race got under way it was Parfitt who set about showing his intentions early on, opening out a ten second gap after just five laps ahead of his nearest nearest GT4 rivals. Schjerpen who started in car #43 had promoted himself to sixth in the early part of the race. After a brief safety car period racing got back under way but almost immediately, Parfitt was passed by the Aston Martin of Jake Giddings dropping him to second place. Rick pitted the car after 50 minutes to hand over to team mate Oliphant returning to the circuit in the class lead.

Morten Dons was now at the wheel of car #43 and was running in a strong fifth place after 70 minutes before being promoted to fourth when the G55 of Matt Nicoll-Jones retired. Dons set about closing the gap to third place before returning to the pits to hand the car back to Schjerpen at the half way point. Tom Oliphant quickly followed suit hand the leading GT4 car back to Parfitt. Once the cycle of pit stops had ended it was Parfitt in third and Schjerpen in sixth.

A late pit stop from the lead car promoted Rick to second as he was closing in on the TF Sport Aston Martin. A move for the lead going through Becketts resulted in contact causing both cars to spin. Parfitt would suffer a further blow with the Race Director handing him a drive through penalty for his involvement in the incident. With 50 minutes remaining, Aleksander Schjerpen completed the final mandatory pit stop from fourth allowing Morten Dons to finish out the latter part of the race. Soon after taking his drive through penalty, Rick also pitted to allow Tom Oliphant to complete the remainder of their race with 41 minutes to run. What was now turning into a sprint race finish, Oliphant was in his comfort zone closing the gap to third. Just as Tom was lining up to make a move, a small fire developed in the left rear of the car as a result of contact with a GT3 car. Despite continuing for another lap, Oliphant was forced to pit with one lap remaining to have the fire extinguished, ending what was sure to be a podium finish.

Morten Dons completed a blistering last stint attempting to reel in the car of Wylie but time ran out before he could catch the Aston Martin. However Morten was promoted to a strong fifth place finish with the demise of Oliphant’s car. Despite not taking the chequered flag Oliphant and Parfitt were awarded eighth in the results.

Aleksander Schjerpen – #42 Ginetta G55 GT4:
“It’s been a tough weekend for us, we struggled a little bit with the set up of the car but we found a good way to qualify and during the race we found good pace and just kept on going. Our main goal was just to see the finish flag so we done that and we are pretty happy with our result. Morten did a very good job and I am happy with my own job so now I am looking forward to the next race.”

Morten Dons – #42 Ginetta G55 GT4:
“It’s been a long weekend with another new track to learn. I felt quite confident yesterday after just a few laps of practice and I was quite happy with my qualifying time. Today was a really hard race with a lot of traffic so it was hard to get in the rhythm, the team did a really good job setting everything up perfectly and the pit stops went just fine. We need to work on getting some more speed for the next round so we can end up on the podium again but I am very happy with some more points in the bag again and now I am just looking forward to the next round.”

Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport:
“The weekend ran fantastically all the way through, it came to the race and we had a strategy that we stuck to even though the Safety car in the race sort of threw things out a little bit. From a team point of view everything ran smooth in the race it was just a real shame that car 42 stopped a lap early. Both the guys in car 43 did a great job and were very consistent with the lap times but ultimately just weren’t quite quick enough to be able to fight for a podium position today.”