Coming from a weekend of mixed fortunes at Oulton Park, Aleksander Schjerpen was hoping to give his 2015 Avon Tyres British GT4 Championship hopes a boost with team mate James Birch at the championship’s first two hour race of the season.
Rockingham Motor Speedway would set the scene for Sunday’s single 120-minute shoot out. Some solid progress during Saturday’s pair of Free Practice sessions left both Schjerpen and his team Century Motorsport confident they had found a good balance in their Ginetta G55.
Starting positions for the race were calculated based upon the combined efforts of both driver’s from qualifying, with Aleksander & James’ effort placing them ninth on the grid for the following day’s race.
Sunday morning presented some very different track conditions with heavy rain at the Corby circuit. With early forecasts suggesting it was here to stay, the morning’s ten-minute warm-up proved to be a crucial session for both drivers to familiarise themselves with the unique characteristics of a GT car on a wet circuit.
However, approaching the start of the race at 13:25, the sun was out, so it was slicks all round as Aleksander got the race under way for Century Motorsport. A superb stint from the Norwegian driver saw him move rapidly up through the field. Confident in his pace, Schjerpen was keen to make the most of his stint before handing the car over to James Birch to finish the race. Just approaching the 60 minute half way mark, Aleksander pitted the car from fourth position to hand over to James Birch for the second stint of the race. An excellent pitstop from the team allowed James to return to the track briefly in third, before settling into a very comfortable fourth position.
Looking set to secure fourth with the potential of challenging for third towards the end of the race, the Safety Car was deployed with 15 minutes to go. With many of the cars around James benefiting from making later pit stops, James struggled to defend his position at the restart as he now ran on older tyres. As the chequered flag fell after what had been a very solid and well-executed race for the team, James crossed the line in seventh position.
Aleksander Schjerpen – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“All in all I’m very happy with this weekend, we got some valuable points which is good. I got quite a good start to the race and I got one or two positions on the first lap. Then it was just about getting past the slower cars in front of us during my stint and maintaining the gap to the cars in front. Century Motorsport gave me a brilliant car so it was really good to push with. James did a fantastic job, but the last Safety Car didn’t do us any good, but that’s racing! Now I’m looking forward to Silverstone!”