Century Motorsport continued their superb start to the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season with a victory apiece for Tom Oliphant and Osamu Kawashima at Donington Park this weekend (18/19 April).
Oliphant and Kawashima secured wins in the Pro and Am class respectively in the opening race of the meeting, each adding a second podium finish on Sunday, whilst Ollie Jackson picked up three more top ten finishes on his second weekend in the championship.
Returning to the scene of his maiden SuperCup victory twelve months ago, Oliphant was full of confidence for the second meeting of the campaign after taking a podium finish at the season opener at Brands Hatch two weeks ago.
After setting the pace in the opening free practice session on Thursday, Oliphant just missed out on a front row start for race one with the third fastest time in qualifying, his best lap being just 0.172 seconds shy of pole position.
An opportunistic move heading down the Craner Curves for the first time saw Oliphant grab second early in race one, a position he maintained for the next spell of the race before making a challenge for the lead.
A great move into Coppice gave him the advantage four laps from the end and showing his pace from there, Oliphant quickly set the fastest lap of the race as he took his third career SuperCup victory by six tenths of a second.
That result gave him pole position for race two, however some robust moves from rivals in the early stages left him down in fifth. A tremendous fightback though saw him pick off a couple of his adversaries to take a third podium finish of the season so far.
Another battling performance in race three featured a tremendous overtake around the outside of 2012 champion Carl Breeze into Redgate, his efforts culminating in a fourth place finish to end the weekend third in the championship.
For Jackson, the focus of the weekend was on sustained progress as he continues to adapt to his Ginetta G55 GT4 in his first year in the championship. After qualifying tenth, Jackson kicked off the opening race in superb style by scything his way through to sixth at the end of the first lap.
A great drive in the competitive field saw Jackson fight his way to a seventh place finish to start the weekend – a result he improved on in race two with a composed drive to a second top six finish of the season so far.
The final race saw luck go against Jackson in the midfield battles as he finished tenth, but another positive weekend overall ended with him seventh in the standings as he and the team continue to work on finding the optimum set-up for the car and driver.
Kawashima meanwhile continued to show progression throughout his third weekend of SuperCup racing, the Japanese racer building on some positive running in practice by qualifying second in class and thirteenth overall.
In the opening race, Kawashima settled into second in class in the early stages whilst pulling away from the car behind, before a great end to the race saw him take the lead in dramatic style two corners from the end for his maiden Am class victory.
With confidence high, Kawashima ran second in class throughout the second race of the weekend for his fifth consecutive class podium finish, in the process taking his best overall finish so far of eleventh.
Whilst an unfortunate incident on the opening lap of race three resulted in a retirement, Kawashima ends the weekend second in the Am class championship standings.
Tom Oliphant – #15: “It’s been a really good weekend, we’ve come away with over eighty points. We had fantastic pace in practice, qualifying and all three races, which comes down to some hard work from the team. I was disappointed to not get on the podium for a third time as we had the pace to, but overall we’ve taken a step up from Brands Hatch and it’s great to reward the team with a first win of the season.”
Ollie Jackson – #48: “It’s been another great weekend with some really good, fun racing on track. The final race was a little disappointing, but we’ve ended the meeting with two more good results under our belts. The team have done a great job all weekend again, working hard to try and get the set-up right, and we’re making progress.”
Osamu Kawashima – #11: “I’m really, really happy with our results this weekend, getting my first win in the UK racing and a second podium on Sunday. Thank you very much to the guys at Century Motorsport. I’m forgetting the final race and looking to keep improving next time at Thruxton.”
Nathan Freke – Team Principal, Century Motorsport: “We were really pleased with Tom’s pace all weekend, we made some good progress together on car set-up. He was unfortunate not to start on the front row, but was rewarded with the win in race one after a great drive."
“He fought back superbly in race two after being knocked back to fifth, though we felt like a potential win was robbed from us really with the contact, and he battled well in race three as well to just miss out on the podium."
“With Ollie, we made some real progress in the races after a disappointing qualifying. He produced two amazing starts and gained places in the first two races with some really good racecraft. Race three didn’t go his way, but it was a good weekend overall."
“Osamu made great progress throughout the weekend, improving his lap times every time he went on track. He drove brilliantly in the first race to take the win on the final lap and as he’s still finding his feet in the championship, picking up two more trophies is really good for him. On the whole it’s been a positive weekend for the team and we’re looking forward to some more good results at Thruxton.”
The 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup continues in three weeks’ time with Rounds Seven, Eight and Nine around the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton, on 9/10 May. Before then though, the team return to Avon Tyres British GT Championship duty at Rockingham on 2/3 May.