Following a superb opening weekend in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Oulton Park, where Max Bird secured the first win of the season to set his championship aspirations a light, hopes were high traveling to Rockingham for the second weekend of the year.
The experienced Max Bird was hoping he could continue his strong form while car racing newcomer Sami Saarelainen was focused on continuing to move forward as he acclimatised to both his new car and another new circuit.
The weekend as a whole ended up being quite mixed for Bird, who appeared to struggle to rekindle his strong pace from the opening weekend. Retirement on the opening lap from race one left him with plenty of work to do in race two. However it was very much a case of challenge accepted, starting from the back of the grid Bird charged through to the field to complete the race in eighth position. Now perfectly placed to capitalise on the reverse grid for race three, Bird started from pole position. However an apparent lack of pace compared to his rivals, thought to be as a consequence of his race one dramas meant he would take the flag in sixth position.
Sami Saarelainen improved with every lap as he makes the transition from a lengthy spell in Karting to cars. A best finish of the weekend in 15th place despite the odd minor incident along the way was another confidence boosting result for the Finnish driver.
With barely a moment to draw their breath, just 5 days after close of play at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the championship moves to the high-speed Thruxton circuit, this time joining the British Touring Car Championship support package for rounds seven and eight of the series. Running to a limited programme of races this year, Sami Saarelainen has opted to miss this round, therefore Max Bird is the sole Century entrant for the first of two events on the UK’s premier tin-top series support package. Bird will be looking to put the record straight following on from Rockingham and re-ignite his title aspirations.
Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport:
“Rockingham was a little bit disappointing as Max once again showed the talent to continue his run a the front, but for some reason just wasn’t able to match the pace of the front runners. Sami is doing a really good job, and very focused on working through each weekend, improving with every lap and making good strides forward which is really positive. The boys in the Factory have done a great job to prepare Max’s car for Thruxton this weekend in such a short time frame, and we will certainly be putting in a very determined effort to make sure Max can be back up the front.”
Circuit: Thruxton Racing Circuit, Hampshire, UK
Qualifying: 06/05 – 11.30
Race 1: 06/05 – 17.00
Race 2: 07/05 – 13.45