Having taken the final race victory of the 2013 season at Brands Hatch, Jamie Orton was always looking forward to returning to the Kent venue. A solid run in qualifying earned him third position on the grid for the opening race of the weekend. Tom Oliphant starting his first full season in the championship was still getting used to the unique characteristics of the Ginetta G55 at Brands Hatch but nonetheless placed his car on row four for Saturday afternoon’s first race.
Getting a good start in race one from row two, Orton tucked himself in behind the lead pair of Pepe Massot and Andrew Watson for the opening laps of the race. Tom fell back one place off the line to ninth but was starting to really get the hang of his new mount and move back up the order. Out in front, Jamie was now starting to put pole man Andrew Watson under plenty of pressure for second. Approaching the closing stages of the race, leader Pepe Massot was eventually black flagged for ignoring a jump start penalty promoting Orton to second behind Watson. Oliphant had managed to find a way past Josh Wakefield for seventh before being promoted to sixth with Massot’s exit. Knowing a strong start to the season is key, Jamie consolidated his position in second to the flag. Despite some pressure in the final stages of the race from David Pittard, Tom finished in sixth.
With grid positions for race two taken from the finishing order of race one, Orton lined up on the front row of the grid and keen to climb one place higher on the podium. After an impressive run in race one, Tom was also keen to make his way further up the order for Sunday’s first of two races in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup. However coming into Paddock Hill bend for the first time, Jamie’s race was ended on the spot with avoidable contact from Carl Breeze leaving his extensively damaged Ginetta G55 buried in the Brands Hatch Gravel. A brief safety car period followed to clear the cars before the race resumed. Oliphant now up to fourth spent the early stages of the race putting David Pittard under pressure for third before consolidating another strong result in the closing stages of the race to cross the line in fourth position.
A sterling job by the Century Motorsport team allowed Jamie Orton to take part in the final race of the weekend, all be it starting from the back of the grid. Starting in third position, Tom Oliphant now had his sights firmly set on making his own trip to the podium. Despite a mixed start to the race falling back to sixth position, Tom quickly made his way back up the order to a fantastic second by the mid point in the race. Jamie Orton gained a superb five places on the opening lap as he tried to work his way back up to the front. Yet again however he found himself being a passenger in an unnecessary incident at Graham Hill bend when contact from Josh Wakefield spun him out of the race while running in seventh position. Back at the front of the field, Oliphant was looking very comfortable in second and maintained his advantage over Andrew Watson to take his debut podium in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup.
Speaking after the final race of the weekend, a delighted Tom Oliphant said: “It was a difficult start to the weekend, Friday free practice was good but I never really hooked it up in Qualifying, but the races really came through. I picked off two places in each race to finish sixth, fourth and second and to get a podium in my first round was brilliant. I had a cracking race three and really feel I’m getting to grips with it now!”
Century Motorsport Team Principal Nathan Freke complimented both of his drivers on their podiums: “All weekend Jamie’s pace has been great, putting it on P3 in qualifying and very close to pole. He drove very well in the first race, kept a cool head to finish second. Both race two and three were very disappointing as he was taken out of both races as an innocent bystander. Tom’s weekend got better as the weekend went on. He made good progress in each race and a podium in his first weekend as part of the championship is great for both him and the team. Overall it’s been a good weekend for the team with two podiums and we’re really looking forward to Donington!”