Grantham-based race team Richardson Racing secured two more victories in the G50 class of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup on what proved to be a weekend of mixed emotions at Oulton Park.
Hudderfield racer Mark Davies took class honours in both races at the Cheshire circuit to extend his championship lead to 55 points but in the G55 class, Oulton Park turned into a weekend to forget for Andrew Richardson who was forced to retire from both races through no fault of his own.
Andrew had qualified on the front row of the grid in a closely-fought qualifying session but contact on the opening lap from Tom Sharp left him with a punctured tyre – although astonishingly Andrew was able to continue with the car running on the tyre walls. Running inside the top six despite the issue making the car more difficult to handle, Andrew was unfortunately forced out on the penultimate lap when the tyre finally let go and he went off track into the barriers.
From the back of the field in race two, Andrew worked his way through the slower G50 cars in the opening laps before starting to challenge Marcus Hoggarth for position. Right behind his rival at the start of the fourth lap, Andrew made a move up the inside into Cascades only for Hoggarth to turn in on him, with the resultant contact putting him off onto the grass and into retirement for the second time.
“I showed my pace in qualifying which is the positive thing to take away from the weekend,” he said. “The contact with Sharp ruined my chances in the first race as I picked up a puncture although I was able to keep going until the penultimate lap when the tyre finally let go at Lodge and I couldn’t stop the car. That left the boys with work to do to repair the car for Sunday and they did a great job, although I was suffering with understeer and it didn’t feel as good as it had done earlier in the weekend.
“The incident with Hoggarth was deemed to be a racing incident but I was up the inside of him and he turned across and put me into a spin. It’s disappointing, as a weekend that started well has ended with two DNFs and neither were down to anything I’d done.”
Mark qualified third in the G50 class despite a broken diff mount limiting his track time during the session but, with his car repaired, he fought back when the opening race took place to dominate proceedings – ending the race comfortably clear of his nearest rivals as he stormed to victory.
Strengthening his championship lead, Mark them dominated race two for his second victory of the weekend despite his car being stuck in fourth gear for the final two laps.
“I’d have liked to have three races here because I love the circuit, but a double victory is good enough for me as it means I’ve increased my points lead,” he said. “I’ve got to give a lot of thanks to the team as the diff mount broke in qualifying and they got it fixed for race one, and they also put a really good set-up on the car as we’d not had any dry running and we had to try and decide which was the best to go.
“The car felt really good and even when I got stuck in gear in the second race, I had enough of a lead that it didn’t cause any problems.”
Mark was the only G50 in action for the team, with Louise Richardson forced to sit out the weekend after a sponsorship deal failed to come off.
An unforeseen issue for one of his sponsors means Andrew’s participation in the next round of the season at Croft are currently in doubt, with the team working hard to secure the backing to enable him and Louise to compete in the final race meeting before the summer break.
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey (http://www.jakobebrey.com)