The UltraTek Racing team were in action this weekend in the second round of the British GT Championship at Rockingham. With it’s banked first turn, the Northamptonshire circuit is notoriously hard on tyres and brakes.
Qualifying got underway in warm but overcast conditions with the Am drivers Richard Taffinder and Tim Eakin taking to the track first. It was the Irishman, Eakin who set his fastest lap on his first flying lap of the session to qualify fifth in class with Taffinder making significant progress to put in a career best time. It was then the turn of the Pro drivers, Plowman and Fletcher. Both drivers fought with traffic but managed to put in a series of solid laps to qualify the Nissan 370Z’s ahead of expectations, 4th and 8th in class.
The weather had lifted by the Sunday lunchtime, and the 2-hour long endurance race got underway beneath sun filled skies. The Am drivers got the race going in a session punctuated with safety cars, with Tim Eakin taking the initiative and pushing to gain 3 places in the first ten laps to get into third. Taffinder got off the line safely and pushed in the second half of the race to pressure and pass the Ginetta of Fresle, a great step for the Birmingham-based racer. Eakin was also pushing hard; however, he was turned around on lap 33 by the #66 Porsche, causing him to lose precious time as he rejoined the track, ending his charge and forcing him to the back of the field.
At the hour mark, it was car 53 that came in first for the mandatory pitstop. With Taffinder exiting the car before fuel and tires were refreshed, it was the turn of Plowman to take the wheel. Shortly followed by the sister car #54 when Fletcher replaced Eakin. Both Pro drivers set about chasing down the pack in front but with cars going off and safety cars it was a challenge for both drivers. Plowman took the early initiative gaining 2 places within 3 laps and then hunting down the Macmillan Aston which he took with ease to put the #53 Nissan 5th in class. Despite his best efforts, the safety car disturbed the race and Plowman got held up in traffic seeing him settle for fifth. Fletcher put in a sterling drive in his first ever British GT endurance race, his pace was blistering, and he was lapping at the same pace as the best of the field. However, the earlier collision between Eakin and Jones put him too far down the field and cost him any hopes of a podium.
Plowman commented, “It was a physical race today, the track was extremely low grip, and everybody was suffering from a lack of traction. I managed to use traffic to bully my way past three cars. I didn’t feel that we had the outright pace that we had at Oulton, but this track is not perfectly suited to the Nissan, so I am looking forward to the next rounds.”
Richard Taffinder remarked, “I’m delighted with the pace I found during the race, I need to be stronger in the early stages however it was good to be in the pack and to be able to overtake for position is a not a bad place to be.”
Kelvin Fletcher commented, “The car was mega, and we had good race pace. Unfortunately, I started at the back due to Tim being spun out. I’m encouraged that I could hold my own with the Pros so I can hold my head high.”
Tim Eakin continued, “The team gave us another well-prepared car, so I could attack from the start and make places in the first few laps. It would have been good to hand it over on the podium. However, an unfortunate coming together with Jones in the #66 Porsche sent me to the back of the pack.”
UltraTek Racing will be back in action in the third round of the British GT Championship at Snetterton on the 27th and 28th May. Full TV coverage of the event will be available on Front Runner, the only free- to -air sports channel in the UK.
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