British GT – Points finish at Rockingham
George and co-driver Mike Simpson (Ginetta development driver) retrieved a fine 10th place finish in round 5 of the British GT Championship held over two hours at Rockingham Motor Speedway, after a setback just minutes into the race when the gear lever snapped forcing a lengthy pitstop. They re-joined in 26th (and last) place, with a pair of mole grips replacing the broken lever…!
With the pace of the car improving, the pair qualified in 12th place (highest for the Optimum car in British GT so far) with Mike putting in a lap of 1.24.708. This was only 1.3 seconds from the pole time and encouragingly, a few tenths more would have put them firmly in the top 10. Knowing that in race conditions the car was more competitive, there were tantalising prospects for a solid result as George went to the grid for the start.
George settled into 11th place as the race got underway, but “Plan A” unravelled on lap 3 as the gear stick fractured and broke in two, and he limped back to the pits stuck in 3rd gear. The fix was to clamp mole grips to the stub end – an inspired idea from the Optimum mechanics, but tricky for the drivers to cope with for nearly two hours.
George re-joined the race in 26th place and over two laps down on the leader. He pressed on to recover the situation, setting the fatest race lap for the car on lap 12 (1.27.075), and handed over to Mike on the hour in 16th position (although thanks to pitstops by the leaders under a safety car, the car had run briefly as high as 5th). Mike continued the charge and on lap 63 took over 10th position which he held to the chequered flag to record their first British GT points finish. In the circumstances, a good result and some reflection of the progress being made with the car.
TV highlights are on Channel 4: Saturday 23/06/12 07.05am and Wednesday 27/06/12 (please check listings for time) and MotorsTV UK: Sunday 24/06/12 20.28, Monday 25/06/12 15.47, Wednesday 27/06/12
01.13, Friday 29/06/12 12.08.
The championship resumes at Brands Hatch on Sunday 24th June with further two race on the fabulous Grand Prix circuit.