Sunday 23th of sept., By Liam Redford
Matthiesen falls short of title after spirited Donington comeback
Patrik Matthiesen’s final British GT weekend was full of excitement despite narrowly missing out on the title at Donington Park. Matthiesen and teammate Callum Pointon trailed championship leader Jack Mitchell by 13.5 points heading into the two-hour season finale. It was a challenging weekend with sessions held in both wet and dry conditions, with the HHC Motorsport prepared Ginetta G55 qualifying in ninth. A chaotic start to the race saw Patrik drop to 16th after an early pit stop, however a fantastic recovery drive led to a position inside the top-5 before the mandatory driver change. Pointon brought the car home in sixth, however this left them 7.5 points short of eventual champion Jack Mitchell.
The weekend began with two free practice sessions on Saturday, both held in dry conditions with wet weather initially predicted for Sunday’s race. Callum took the start in the opening session, but sadly an issue kept the team in the pits for the majority of the session. Patrik was able to complete three flying laps in the closing stages to end the session 11th in GT4. The second session was much more positive with both Patrik and Callum gaining valuable track time and setting the fifth fastest time in GT4, just two tenths away from second in class.
Qualifying provided a different challenge for the drivers with the session held in wet conditions. Callum drove in the first session and continued to improve his lap times throughout the session, setting the fifth fastest time in his group. Patrik was out in the second session and looked to consolidate the strong start Callum had made. Matthiesen was unfortunate to see his fastest lap deleted for track limits, leading to his best time placing him 15th in his group. This meant the HHC Motorsport crew would line up ninth for the two-hour race, with their nearest championship rivals starting ahead of them. Jack Mitchell would line up one row ahead in seventh, with Ben Tuck and Ben Green claiming pole position.
Patrik took the start and aimed to move forward from the fifth row of the grid. An incident took place at the Old Hairpin on the opening lap which led Matthiesen to take evasive action across the grass, dropping him to tenth after the opening lap. Despite the early setback, he immediately made up ground by passing JM Littman on lap two, before overtaking the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes the following lap. Unfortunately, Patrik was forced to pit on lap four after the car began to overheat after the early trip through the grass.
A brief pit stop cost Patrik time with the Danish driver re-joining the race 16th in GT4. Once again Matthiesen displayed his great overtaking skills by moving into 14th on his first flying lap out of the pits, before passing Anna Walewska the lap after. Patrik continued his charge forward by passing Nick Jones, Will Moore and Steve McCulley before the safety car was deployed allowing the field to close up. This provided the perfect opportunity to make up for lost time and Matthiesen took full advantage, moving into sixth place by lap 23 as he once again passed the Nissan 370Z of Littman. A series of personal best lap times allowed Patrik to close up on the back of Richard Williams, with the Ginetta G55 entering the top-5 at the halfway mark. A clever strategy call by the team allowed Patrik to run as long as possible, making use of the clear track to set a series of fast lap times at the end of his stint.
Handing over the car to Callum, the Ginetta G55 re-joined the race in sixth with closest championship rival Jack Mitchell in fourth. It was set to be a four-way fight for the title as Charlie Fagg and Michael O’Brien were running second in their Tolman Motorsport McLaren. The early stages of Callum’s stint were relatively quiet until a penalty for Mitchell elevated Pointon into fifth, allowing their championship charge to gain late momentum. However, Callum was overtaken by Ben Tuck with just over 15 minutes remaining, while Mitchell resurrected his title bid by moving up to eighth. Sadly, Callum was unable to progress further with a sixth-place finish ensuring a 100% record of points scoring finishes during the 2018 season, a proud consolation to take away after narrowly missing out on the title.
Patrik should be proud of his drive at Donington, in addition to his impressive performances throughout the year. British GT proved to be an ultra-competitive series, especially in the GT4 class with no repeat winners during the season. Matthiesen’s stand out performance came at Rockingham when he and Callum Pointon won the race by over half a minute, with Patrik also claiming fastest lap. Ultimately, the consistency shown by the HHC Motorsport pairing was not quite enough to claim the title, ending the season in fourth just 7.5 points adrift of champion Jack Mitchell. Nevertheless, Matthiesen has gained valuable experience over the course of the year and will be looking to build on this as his motorsport career develops.