Solid Start for Parfitt and Ratcliffe
The first weekend of the 2013 British GT4 championship saw a bumper grid of 32 cars at the famous Oulton Park race circuit. Optimum Motorsport drivers Rick Parfitt and Ryan Ratcliffe took two second place finishes over the Easter break to provide a solid start to their championship campaign. Having never competed in the British GT Championship, both drivers were keen to finish strongly during their first weekend racing together and now stand second in the championship standings.
“Our main aim for the weekend was to score two podiums so we’re pleased with two second place finishes” said Parfitt.
With severe fuel pump issues in qualifying the pair were pleased to qualify 4th in their respective sessions.
Race 1 saw Parfitt start the race and the pair lead for several laps after the mandatory pit stop and driver change. However, the team would later be given a pit-stop penalty after the car had left the pit lane too early – not within the minimum time required.
Ratcliffe pushed hard to retake the lead from the Century Motorsport Ginetta G50 but the gap was just too large following the pit-stop penalty.
A strong start in race 2 saw Ratcliffe rapidly progress into second place by the end of the first lap. After briefly closing on GT4 leader Declan Jones in the Century Motorsport machine, braking issues started to hamper Ratcliffes pace – a binding brake calliper would later prove to be the cause. The car pitted during the mandatory pit-stop and Ratcliffe handed over to Parfitt.
The binding brake pad issue subsided slightly following a long safety car period towards the end of the race. This allowed Parfitt to pursue Wenham, who had by now taken over driving duties from Declan Jones. Parfitt made several attempts to take the lead over the remaining 2 laps of the race but Wenham defended well to take the chequered flag first by a mere 0.29 seconds.
“Rick and I are over the moon with our weekend at Oulton Park” said Ratcliffe. "It was our first weekend racing in British GT, our first weekend racing together and our first weekend racing with Optimum. Overall, it’s a great start for us”