British GT - Round 1 - Oulton Park

25th April 2011

The opening round of the British Gt Championship was held at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend with it's traditional Sunday break which turned out to be crucial and fortutious for us.

Practice & qualifying

Whilst Oulton is the "home" track for Peter and Marcus, it was completely new to Athanasios and 6 years since Michael Mallock last drove here so it was pleasing to see #45 & #44 top the GT4 time sheets in the opening practice session. The second session was to prove disastrous for the #45 car which only managed 3 laps before pulling in with mechanical issues. Peter Belshaw continued to top the GT4 times and both cars times were still good enough to maintain P1 & 2 in the combined classification.
Only 1 KTM took part in qualifying witth Peter posting a 1.44.9 to take pole in GT4 for Race 1 and Marcus setting second fastest GT4 time in the second qualifying session. Alas the #45 car took no part in qualifying and Athanasios was thankful for the enforced Sunday break whilst the boys sorted out his car. Hearts were firmly in mouth during Monday's warm up session when the #45 X-Bow spun to a halt on the start finish straight bringing the session to an early close. Fortunately there was no real issue and both cars were ready to go racing.

Race 1
Peter and Athanasios did the opening stints with the former using his track knowledge and increasing confidence to pull out a strong class lead before handing over to Marcus. Bearing in mind the tribulations of the previous days combined with facing a new track, Athanasios did a sterling job to bring the car in for the changeover with not too big a gap to make up.
Marcus stroked the #44 X-Bow home to win the opening GT4 race comfortably whilst Michael tore through the field to bring the second X-Bow home in P3 and bagging fastest lap into the bargain.

Race 2
How fortunes can change in the twinkling of an eye or changing from red to green in this case. As we headed for the pit wall once the cars had passed to start the second race, there was a large cloud of dust coming from Old Hall / Turn 1. As the dust cleared we could see a red open top car facing the wrong way lodged against the barriers and thus ended the race for #44 X-Bow. So it was left to Michael to uphold ABG honours and this he did with aplomb climbing up to second place overall when he came in to hand over to Athanasios who held on valiantly but in the end, the ever improving works Lotus Evoras proved too quick but he still finished P4. The bonus was fastest lap again for Mr Mallock.

So a bitter sweet weekend with a win, a P3 , 2 fastest laps and a sorry looking X-Bow

So to the next round at the new layout Snetterton in May which will be a 2 hour race.

Some images from Oulton below - courtesy of Mick Herring

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