Century Motorsport got their 2016 Britcar Endurance Championship season off to the best possible start at Silverstone this weekend, with the newly announced driver pairing of Stephen Fresle and Danish driver Jacob Mathiassen putting on a fine display of speed and consistency throughout the day to secure their first class win of the season.
Having stepped foot inside a Ginetta G55 for the very first time during Friday’s pre-event testing, Mathiassen was faced with a tough challenge, but one which the Dane seemed totally unphased by. Impressing both his team and co-driver from the off, a solid day’s testing for the pair put them in good stead for Saturday’s action.
Opting to gamble on running slick tyres with dark clouds looming on a damp Silverstone Grand Prix circuit just before midday on Saturday, Jacob once again impressed not only the team, but co-driver Fresle to ease himself in, understand the grip levels and set a sequence of fastest times in his class before returning to the pits. Happy with their progress, and with word of heavy rain for the afternoon’s race, Stephen Fresle returned to the track on wet tyres to complete the session and secure second place in class and ninth overall on the grid.
Starting just after 4pm, heavy rain had descended on the Northamptonshire circuit, making tyre choice very straightforward. Jacob Mathiassen started the race for his first ever rolling start, and despite dropping a couple of places at the first corner, settled into a good rhythm to move back up the order. Jacob’s task was made all the more challenging with an intermittent wiper issue; however the Dane completed a solid stint to hand the car to Fresle for the second part of the race. A superb pitstop allowed Steve to return to the track, now earning him a healthy class lead. A very solid run by the Buckler Environmental supported driver was ended early, when the race was red flagged due to a sudden downpour of rain, but this in turn handed a first Britcar class victory to the all new pairing.
Ruben Anakhasyan joined Stephen Fresle in graduating from GT Cup this season to the Britcar Endurance Championship. Opting to drive without regular co-driver Ollie Hancock this weekend to maximise his driving time ahead of some of the championship’s longer races, Anakhasyan’s weekend started well during Friday testing and Saturday morning’s Free Practice. The Russian driver was clearly getting to grips with the tricky Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. Opting to follow his teammates and gamble on slicks for qualifying, Ruben was unfortunate to slip off the track early in the session, necessitating some repairs by his team of mechanics before the race.
Starting from the back of the field, Ruben’s opening stint was very impressive, charging up the order to 19th overall after just two laps. Following a brief trip to the gravel hindering his charge, Anakhasyan was able to continue, and by the pitstop window was now up to sixteenth overall, which would be his finishing position with the race being ended 30 minutes early with a red flag due to the deteriorating conditions.
Stephen Fresle – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“We’re loving it today! It’s been a funny old day as it started off dry. In qualifying the team made a good call to put us out on slicks and Jacob did a great job to set a good time, I just had to go out and break in some wets for the main race. In the race, Jacob started and was on the pace as the conditions got worse as the day went on. After the pitstop I went back out in fourth and we managed to move up to the lead and won! Towards the end it got really bad, the conditions were horrendous with cars spinning off everywhere, but for us its been a lovely day!”
Jacob Mathiassen – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“It’s been a great day for us. We got some laps in the dry in the morning, but then in qualifying we had to make the decision to go out on slick tyres on a track that was a little bit wet. In the end it turned out well and we ended up P2 in qualifying in our class. In the race, we started in heavy rain and it was my first rolling start so I found it difficult to stay with the other cars in my class. I think over the race we both did a great job. I am really pleased with this opportunity Century have given me, what a weekend!”
Ruben Anakhasyan – #88 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“Well the first race has been a difficult race. Today I drove on my own which is a bit different for me. Qualifying didn’t work out, but all in all I’m quite happy. It was a long race in difficult weather conditions. I made one mistake but all in all it was ok and we will see how the next race goes.”
Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport:
“There’s no doubt this has been a great start to the Britcar Endurance Championship for us. Jacob has quickly become a very welcome addition to the team, both he and Stephen are getting on very well and that’s been proven in today’s result. Ruben had a slightly more challenging day, but his overall performance has been good. He made some really good progress in the race in some very difficult conditions. A big thanks to the team as a whole today. The boys did a great job to get Ruben’s car repaired after qualifying, and there was some great calls made throughout the day in both qualifying going on slicks and in the race for our pitstops in some really difficult weather conditions.”