Century Motorsport continued their positive start to the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup season with another podium filled weekend in the third meeting of the season at Thruxton.
Fresh from taking their first wins of the season last time out at Donington Park with Tom Oliphant and Osamu Kawashima, the Century team had high hopes for their annual visit to the fastest circuit in the UK.
Tom Oliphant headed into the weekend with confidence high, having picked up two podium finishes at Thruxton last season and finished third in the official pre-event test, which unlike other rounds took place a month prior to the race weekend.
That meant Oliphant and the rest of the field’s first time on track was in the all-important qualifying session. It proved to be a frustrating outing for Tom as he didn’t quite hook up a perfect lap, leaving him fifth in the times – though a post-session penalty for a rival in front promoted him to the second row.
Tom went on to maintain his fourth place grid start throughout the opening twelve lap race, with some strong pace at the end of the race seeing him close to within a second of the podium positions at the finish, which boded well for the longer sixteen lap races two and three.
It ended up being a quick start to race two that was key for Oliphant, a great move down the inside of erstwhile championship leader Jamie Orton at Goodwood on lap four putting him on course for a podium finish in third.
The reverse grid for the final race placed Tom on the front row and with two new tyres saved for the race he was confident of fighting for the win. After slipping to fourth at the start, Oliphant was getting set to challenge for the top three when he was forced to retire.
For Ollie Jackson it was a first race outing at Thruxton in the Ginetta SuperCup, though with years of racing around the high-speed Hampshire circuit under his belt the former BTCC racer was confident of challenging for top six results.
That mission was accomplished in qualifying, Ollie taking sixth on the grid for the opening race, narrowly missing out on fifth by just seven hundredths of a second. A fantastic start to race one saw him take that spot with a slick move around the outside into the complex, however a visit to the pits hampered progress, but he was a man on a mission when he rejoined the pack, and showed top six pace throughout as he fought from dead last to eleventh at the finish.
In the final race, Ollie was in the thick of a fantastic four car battle for fifth place. After switching places with his rivals numerous times during an action-packed race, a last lap move secured him seventh at the flag - however with a driver having previously passed him under the safety car, that became a third top six finish of the campaign.
Osamu Kawashima meanwhile was making his first race outing at the fastest race circuit in the UK, a challenge he took on in style. The weekend started in sensational style as he finished over one and a half seconds clear of his closest competitor in qualifying to take his first AM class pole position.
With a grid penalty carrying over from Donington he started the opening race fourth in class on the grid, but a superb opening lap saw him quickly re-assume the class lead – an advantage he held for the whole race to take a second class win of the campaign by over six seconds.
Osamu slipped to second at the start of race two, however he comfortably maintained that position for the remainder of the race for another podium finish. That proved to be the case again in race three, with him holding second throughout to make it seven class podiums in nine races this year.
Tom’s podium finish in race two has helped him maintain a top four championship standing despite his race three disappointment, with Ollie cementing seventh in the points with his two top ten finishes. Osamu meanwhile has pulled 34 points clear of his closest rival in second in the AM class.