Oliver Bryant Racing

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31st May 2009

Rounds 5&6 30/31st May 2009 Rockingham – ‘Double outright win for Olly Bryant’

After the disappointment of electrical issues at Spa, Olly Bryant was looking for a decent result at Rockingham. This time Olly was sharing the Ginetta G50 Zytek with former Ginetta G50 GT4 class winner Joe Osborne.

Friday saw further improvements made to the car’s handling on the Avon tyres and some improvements had to be made to the fueling system after the issues at Spa. Olly spent the first few laps bedding brakes and then the session was red flagged. Joe then spent session two getting used to the car.

Qualifying for race one saw Joe set a rapid lap of 1m22.4s to secure pole position. The car’s engine died on Joe’s second flying lapped as the fuel pressure cut. Joe was able to restart the car and limp back to the pits. This was the end of qualifying for Joe but his time was good enough and he held pole from the second place Mosler of Dan Brown. As there was no time to investigate the problem before the second qualifying session, Olly had to hope the temperamental fuel pressure problem did not re-occur!

Olly set a time of 1m22.2s (P3 at the time) and was on a quicker lap when he caught a GT4 Ginetta on its out-lap that cost him time. On the next shot at a quicker time, Olly came across the Dodge Viper of Aaron Scott returning to the pits and this cost him valuable time at the hairpin. By then the tyres were past their best and Olly pitted to save the tyres for the race. Olly was aiming for a mid 1m21s lap, which would have been good enough for pole but bad-luck with traffic meant it was not to be. The car lined up 5th just 4 thousandths of a second off third, 1.5 tenths off 2nd and 6 tenths off the pole time of Allan Simonsen’s Ferrari. Showing just how competitive the second session is, as it features the pro rated drivers.

As has been proven with the winners of the British GT Championship for the past two years, the most important factor is a good driver pairing. Olly and Joe had this and were hopeful of a good result as Joe would be on track with the slower drivers and should therefore be in good shape.

Race 1

Joe made a great start and made the most of his very fresh tyres that had only done one flyer in qualifying to pull out a 4 second lead on Dan Brown’s Mosler. As predicted however, the Mosler was kinder to its tyres and by lap 20, Dan was only 0.5s behind Joe. Dan undid his good work by spinning on the same lap as Joe came in to hand over to Olly. This meant that Olly resumed the race with a healthy lead. Following instructions on the radio to look after the tyres Olly settled into a rhythm to preserve the car whilst monitoring the gap behind to the closing Ferrari’s of Allan Simonsen and Adam Wilcox. The Ferrari is very effective around the twisty parts of the Rockingham circuit and it also preserves its tyres well, allowing it to come on strong in the second half of the race. Unfortunately for Olly, the fuel pressure cut out on lap 35 and the engine died! Fortunately after the qualifying dramas, the team had wired a reserve power supply to the fuel pump, which Olly switched on and the engine fired back into life. This cost a vital couple of seconds and allowed Simonsen to close further. On lap 39, Olly’s lead was down to under 9 seconds and the team asked Olly to push to stabalise the gap, on tyres well past there best, Olly managed to find a second in the car on lap 40 to respond to Simonsen’s threat. Olly held on to win by 4.1s in a fantastic race for Olly, Joe, Barwell Motorsport and Ginetta. It was the G50Z’s first race win and a testimony that the car can be competitive at GT3 level.

Race 2

The Mtech Ferrari 430 had troubles after race one so they switched to their spare car, requiring them to the back of the grid. This meant that Olly lined up in 4th position on the outside of row two. Olly made a good get away but became boxed in behind the Jones brothers’ Ascari. As he was held up high through the bank turned one, the inside line was taken buy the pursuing GT3 cars and Olly lost valuable positions. In an attempt to retake these positions Olly braked very late for the hairpin and drove around the outside of several cars, before being squeezed out onto the kerb and having to concede these positions. On lap 3 the Ferrari of Matt Griffin burst into flames calling for a lengthy safety car period. At the restart Olly made short work of moving back through the field, passing the Rollcentre Mosler up through turn one at over 130mph and then out-braking the Aston Martin of Jamie Smyth into the final chicane. Olly closed onto the pack in front, Allan Simonsen leading from Adam Wilcox’s similar Ferrari 430, then Michael bentwood in the Ford GT, then Aaron Scott’s Dodge Viper. Olly was quicker than this group and he set the second fastest lap of the race on lap 13. Olly was driving the car very smoothly in order to nurse the tyres so they would be in good shape for Joe’s stint. Once with the pack in front the team called Olly in to get Joe out in clean air.

Joe made things harder by stalling as he left the pits costing 5 seconds, this put him straight into the clutches of Dan Brown in the Mosler who was already up to speed. Joe went too deep into the hairpin at turn two in order to defend and ran wide costing valuable time and the Mosler got through. He soon got up to speed however and set about catching the Mosler. After quickly dispensing the Viper, now in the hands of Craig Wilkins, Joe then moved passed Hector Lester’s Ferrari, that Simonsen handed him in the lead. Joe then caught the leading Ascari and Mosler as they battled, slowing each other up. Joe dived up the inside and passed the Mosler into the Tarzan hairpin before fighting his way past the very defensive Jones brothers’ Ascari into the chicane on the penultimate lap. Joe held on to win by 0.6 seconds from the Mosler of Dan Brown who had also found a way past the Ascari.

A fantastic effort on behalf of Barwell Motorsport and Ginetta cars, and fantastic drives from Olly Bryant and Joe Osborne led to two excellent outright British GT wins and some exciting racing.

Rockingham June 07