The 2016 Dunlop Britcar Endurance Championship has been a dream season so far for Century Motorsport’s Stephen Fresle and Jacob Mathiassen. Starting their brand new partnership off at the opening round in Silverstone with a win, since then they have been podium finishers at every round so far including another victory last time out in Thruxton.
Friday’s pre-event test would be a day of mixed fortunes for the duo. Jacob benefitted from Croft being one of the few UK circuits that he’s raced at before, but for Fresle it was a totally new experience. With only a selection of poor quality tyres available to them following the last round at the abrasive Thruxton, Stephen and Jacob made the most of the circumstances to prepare themselves for Saturday’s qualifying.
By his own admission, Jacob was disappointed with his result in qualifying, despite placing his Ginetta G55 second in class on the grid behind the on-form Jonny Cocker in the Aston Martin. Just four tenths of a second split the pair over the 2.12 mile lap. Jacob would also start the race for the team getting the three-hour race under way just after 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Clearly getting the hang of rolling GT starts; Jacob immediately began a superb battle for the lead with the Aston Martin. Mathiassen’s charge would receive a minor blow during his stint however with contact from the Class One Mosler. Lucky not to suffer any major damage, Jacob resumed his charge back into battle with Jonny Cocker. On lap 37, Jacob was past and now into the class lead before handing the car over to Fresle for his stint.
Steve has been the picture of speed and consistency so far this season. Getting his stint off to a good start while in the lead, a spin at Hawthorn dented his confidence despite being able to resume unscathed. Unfortunately worse was to come with a visit to the tyre barrier at the Chicane just one lap later causing some heavy damage to the front of his Ginetta.
Making it back to the pits, the Century mechanics jumped on the car and very quickly had the wheels firmly attached and pointing in the right direction, allowing Fresle to return to the track and finish the race, earning some valuable championship points for finishing third in class.
Stephen Fresle – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“For a change this weekend Croft was a circuit that Jacob had driven and was completely new to me, but what a fantastic track. Obviously I am bitterly disappointed to have let the team down with the mistake at the Chicane that could have easily put us out of the race, but thankfully the team pulled the car into the garage and set about replacing the front corner and preparing the car to get back in the race. They knew that a similar fate could affect any of our competitors and the importance of getting back out and being on track and securing whatever points we could for the championship. They are a fantastic team and are the reason why as a team we are so well placed in the championship – I can’t thank them enough. Silverstone cannot come quick enough.”
Jacob Mathiassen – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“It was a weekend with ups and downs. After a good test day on Friday with some promising speed we were ready for a new race weekend. After the qualifying I was a bit unhappy with the result. We struggled with grip on the rear tyres and then Jonny Cocker in the Aston was really fast as well. In the race I managed to keep Jonny under pressure in my stint before handing the car to Steve in P1. Steve did very well until he hit the tyre chicane. He did a good job getting the car back to the pitlane where the mechanics made a very good job of fixing the car very quickly. Teamwork and spirit is the key! We are ready to fight back for the win next time at Silverstone!”
Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport:
“Obviously this weekend has been bittersweet for the team as we’ve had such a strong run so far this year. However we can’t loose sight of the fact that Stephen and Jacob made it to the finish and picked up some championship points that could prove crucial at the end of the season. The boys in the garage did a brilliant job during the race to quickly repair the damage in record time that allowed them to make it to the end. We’ll put this one behind us and focus our efforts on a return to the top step in Silverstone.”
Round 6 – Silverstone, Northamptonshire, UK, Saturday 13th August 2016.