Olly proved that he’d lost none of his speed and competitive edge at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium this weekend. Driving a Mad Croc Racing Corvette C6.R, he set fastest lap of the Championship race in the fifth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship on his way through from the back of the field to just outside the top ten.
His 19th and 17th place finishes would, however, reflect the true nature of these competitive events, with secondary contact from a third party affecting the outcome of both races for the #12 Corvette.
“There was so much contact; just silly driving, in some cases,” said Olly. “At the beginning of today’s Championship race I must have got hit four or five times and some of the moves were just plain reckless. It’s disappointing as I think we showed we had the speed in the car, and could have done a lot better.”
Starting from 16th place on the grid for yesterday’s ‘Qualifying’ Race, Olly’s Finnish team mate, Pertti Kuismanen, was the innocent party in a three-way accident involving Michael Bartels’ Maserati and Jamie Campbell-Walter’s Nissan. The resulting damage to the nose of the Corvette resulted in extreme understeer for the remainder of the race, and 19th was the best that could be achieved in the circumstances. A win by the sister Mad Croc Racing Corvette of Xavier Maassen and Jos Menten went some way to raise the spirits of the team.
An improved starting position of 12th, despite having struggled to find a good set up for the qualifying session, promised better things for today’s second one-hour race. Oliver explains what happened at the start.
“We all got through the first lap but on the second I got punted in the last corner by Makowiecki’s Aston Martin who, in turn, had been punted by Grosjean’s Ford. The contact spun me round and put me all the way to the back.
“I had a good run after that though, and had caught that car up again by the time I came in for the pit stop. Getting fastest lap of the race on the way was good for me personally, and the team, but Pertti got the rough end of the Safety Car intervention which put us a bit further back again. No one mentioned in the Drivers’ Briefing that there’d be two safety cars and unfortunately Pertti got caught behind the second one which was just bad luck.”
Oliver now heads straight back to the USA for some testing prior to next weekend’s sixth round of the ALMS at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course at Lexington, Ohio.