Century Motorsport made a strong start to their 2014 Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge debut with their new drivers Frederik Mortensen from Denmark and Japan’s Osamu Kawashima.
With limited pre-season testing, the pair were always going to be faced with a difficult task of quickly getting up to speed in this highly competitive championship.
Saturday morning’s qualifying started well for the pair. Osamu Kawashima qualified his Ginetta G40 in 23rd place while Frederik Mortensen put on a very impressive display and despite one of his times being disallowed for track limits, placed himself 12th for Saturday’s opening race.
A good start from both drivers allowed them to move up the order from the early part of the race. By lap three, Frederik was up to ninth while Osamu was showing more signs that he is improving all the time and moved up to 18th. Over the closing laps of the race, Mortensen continued his charge up the order and took the flag in seventh position. Osamu was not so fortunate and slipped back three places over the closing laps but still managed to finish in 21st place as he continued to adjust this driving style to the unique Ginetta G40.
Starting race two from 13th, Frederik was keen to again quickly get himself inside the top 10. A strong start to the race allowed him to do just that and by lap four he was chasing former G20 champion Matt Flowers for ninth position. The pair had a good battle over the remaining laps of the race before Mortensen finally managed to get past him on the final lap to finish ninth. Osamu Kawashima had a good start to the race. Starting in 24th, he was up two places on the opening lap before falling back to 25th on lap three. Closing in on the pack for the remainder of the race, Osamu took the flag in 23rd position.
Due to start from ninth on the grid for the final race of the day, Frederik Mortensen was dealt a cruel blow when his car’s alternator became faulty after the second race. Due to the tight timetable, a very short turn around between races meant that despite the best efforts of the team, they couldn’t get it fixed in time for Frederik to take his place on the grid. Osamu Kawashima starting from 23rd on the grid was hoping that his experience from throughout the day would allow him to work his way up the order. Now starting from the pitlane, Mortensen was eager to work his way up the field as quickly as possible during the early stages of the race. By the mid point in the race, the young Dane was already up to thirteenth position and showing fantastic race craft as he worked his way up towards the top ten. Osamu was also having another solid run and took the chequered flag to achieve his best result of the weekend in 21st position. Frederik Mortensen proved that he will be a driver to watch this season crossing the finish line in a superb 11th place despite starting from the pitlane.
Team Principal Nathan Freke complimented his drivers on a good start to the season for the team: “Testing was ok for us in our first weekend. Both drivers have improved all weekend. Frederik had some really good results in the races and showed some really good race craft especially in race three where he was forced to start from the pitlane. Osamu has been improving all weekend, which is the objective at the minute. Rockingham will be even better again hopefully.”