Fresh from making his 2015 podium debut at the last rounds in Snetterton, a re-energised Aleksander Schjerpen was coming to Donington aiming to finish his season in style. The Norwegian driver came close to class victory this time 12 months ago, only to have it robbed towards the end of the race with wishbone failure. Schjerpen also welcomed the return of new co-driver Fredrik Blomstedt, who helped him secure a brace of podiums last time out.
Mixed conditions in both of Saturday mornings free practice sessions made it hard for the pair to work with their Century Motorsport team on defining a clear setup for the weekend. Switching between slicks and wets, a downpour in the second session of the morning made it almost impossible to remain on track, sending the pair relatively into the unknown for Saturday afternoon’s final qualifying session of 2015.
Despite their lack of clean track time, Schjerpen set the fifth fastest time in the first part of qualifying before handing over to his Swedish team-mate for the remainder. Blomstedt put in a very solid performance during his stint, with their times combined from both sessions, the pair would line up fifth in GT4 for Sunday’s final 120-minute encounter.
After a hassle-free morning warm-up, Aleksander Schjerpen was nominated to start the race in the #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta. A fully dry and warm Donington Park Grand Prix circuit greeted drivers as the race got underway just after 1pm. When the lights went out, Aleksander was starting his mission of moving up the order. Contact up ahead on the opening lap between the leaders allowed Schjerpen to move into third and looking like he was ready to continue his charge forward.
With the field bunched up, Schjerpen was now right on the tail of the GT4 class leader. When the track returned to green, Aleksander immediately made his intentions clear to the leading Aston Martin that he was looking for any opportunity to pass. Despite making several attempts to move into the lead, Schjerpen dived into the pitlane just on the one hour mark from second to hand over to Fredrik Blomstedt for the second and final stint of the race.
Carrying a 15-second success penalty from their podium results at Snetterton, the Swede returned to the track in fourth. Despite falling back to fifth early on, Blomstedt capitalised on those ahead of him who were handed penalties for pitlane infringements and moved up to third. Struggling for grip late in the race, Fredrik’s tyres were starting to loose their edge. Unable to keep his hard charging team-mate Nathan Freke and the Aston Martin of Daniel Lloyd behind him, Fredrik dropped to fifth which he would eventually secure to the end.
Aleksander Schjerpen – #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“The weekend here went really well, we qualified fifth. I feel my stint in the race was my best of the year so far, the car was just great and I was able to fight for the lead, which was a great feeling. Fredrik did a good job in his stint and we ended the race in fifth. All in all we are happy with the result. We are obviously a little bit disappointed not to win the Silver cup, we came here thinking we were able to win it, but it seemed we could only score half points this weekend so we ended up second, which was a shame. This season has been good, the team has been fantastic in each race, getting a really good setup on the car for us. Now we just have to see what we do in the future!”