Century Motorsport remain in the lead of the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup Drivers and Teams Championships heading into the Brands Hatch GP season finale in two weeks’ time following another successful weekend of racing at Silverstone.
A pair of podium finishes for Tom Oliphant saw him extend his lead at the top of the Pro standings, while Osamu Kawashima remains in AM class contention with a best finish of fourth, as a top seven double for Ollie Jackson helped the team keep a 17 points advantage in the Teams standings.
Oliphant headed to the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ keen to return to the top step of the podium, but the weekend didn’t start to plan in Friday practice. Hard work from the team overnight paid dividends in qualifying though.
A storming 58.237s lap around the National circuit gave him a front row start for the opening race, with him missing out on a record-equalling fifth consecutive pole position by just four thousandths of a second.
It didn’t matter once the race action began though, with a storming getaway seeing Oliphant take a lead he would go on to hold throughout for a brilliant eighth victory of the campaign with a new lap record as well – a result that gave him pole position for race two.
The final encounter would be a tougher affair however as he raced against drivers with the benefit of newer tyres, with a battling performance producing a third place finish for his fifteenth consecutive podium result, a finish that extends his points lead to 49 points on dropped scores.
Fresh from a pair of fourth place finishes last time out at Rockingham, Ollie Jackson was looking to battle for the podium positions across the weekend meanwhile, however a tricky qualifying session put him seventh on the grid for race one.
This provided Jackson the chance to showcase his racecraft once again though, with some great moves during a busy first few laps moving him up to fourth place. His attention then turned from attacking to defending, holding off Jordan Stilp on fresher rubber for many laps before finishing up fifth.
After slipping to seventh on the opening lap of race two, Jackson produced a strong fightback as he passed Reece Somerfield on the next lap before expertly dispatching former race-winner Stefan Hodgetts for fifth into Copse corner.
With tyre wear a real issue in the closing stages he eventually slipped back to seventh at the finish, but another strong weekend in the championship has closed him right up in the battle for the top six in the standings.
Osamu Kawashima meanwhile had a mixed weekend as he took on the most experienced entry in the AM class so far this season. Improving his pace throughout free practice, the Japanese racer was unlucky to only qualify seventh in class when he lost some laps due to track limit infringements.
The pace was shown in the opening race though as he climbed up to fifth at the start before starting a fantastic race-long duel with Fraser Robertson, the duo running nose-to-tail and switching places multiple times before he emerged in front to take fourth.
Kawashima ran fifth in class in the early stages of race two, but as the race progressed he eventually slipped back to seventh position, though another solid points haul from that result means he remains in class title contention heading into the championship finale in two weeks’ time (10/11 October) at Brands Hatch GP.
Tom Oliphant – #15:
“It’s exactly the sort of weekend we wanted. Heading into Saturday, we really didn’t know if we’d be on pole or down in eighth, but we managed to get the front row and turn it into a brilliant win.”
“No matter how the second race went with us coming up against guys with much better tyres than us, we beat Carl [Breeze – chief title rival] in both races and that’s what is key for us to win the championship.”
“It’s great to continue the podium run and it’s come thanks to some really hard work from all the team at Century to get the car in the position we needed it for qualifying. We’ve got to go and do the same job at Brands Hatch now.”
Ollie Jackson – #48:
“There’s been some brilliant racing this weekend and some of its gone my way and some of it hasn’t, but overall it’s been really good fun.”
“Ultimately qualifying has hurt me again and it’s something we will continue to work on, but our racing has been strong again against guys who had the benefit of new tyres, with that really costing me towards the end of race two.”
“Brands Hatch GP next is my favourite track on the calendar and it’s generally been one of my strongest too, so we go there confident and I hope I can help the team win the Teams Championship, that would be my crowning achievement of the season.”
Osamu Kawashima – #11:
“This weekend at Silverstone has been really difficult, but the team have really supported me throughout and helped me improve my pace. Fourth in the first race was really good, seventh in race two not so good, but we’ll work on getting more speed and I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch and trying to get back on the podium.”
Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport:
“We looked to be struggling a bit with Tom on Friday, the car wasn’t quite how he wanted it, but he pulled it out of the bag in qualifying, four thousandths off pole when we were thinking we could be down in seventh or eighth.”
“It was a sublime drive in race one, no mistakes at all and the lap record to boot. He lost out on the first corner in race two and was outpaced by a driver with two new tyres so finished third, but from a championship point of view he extended his lead ahead of Brands Hatch which is ideal.”
“It was another good weekend for Ollie. It was a real test for him this weekend, there was a few drivers joining the grid with a lot more experience in Ginetta’s and Ollie remained at the sharp end of the grid with them.”
“He didn’t quite get qualifying nailed as we’d hoped, but come the races with some set-up changes he drove his socks off, with fifth in the first race and what could have been fifth in the second race before he lost out to the guys on newer tyres. Ultimately he should be pleased with the weekend.”
“Osamu struggled this weekend really and I’m not sure why to be honest. He lost a couple of laps in qualifying due to track limits so was faster than his position, which showed in race one with a great battle with Fraser Robertson.”
“Race two was tough, he didn’t have the pace, so it’s difficult not to be disappointed with the weekend and we’ll be pushing as hard as we can to help him have a stronger showing at Brands Hatch.”