By Liam Redford 03.04-2018
Rain-shortened British GT debut for Patrik Matthiesen
Patrik Matthiesen has made his debut in the British GT Championship with HHC Motorsport at Oulton Park. Teaming up with Callum Pointon, the pair of drivers showed excellent pace in the dry qualifying session in which they claimed pole position for race one. Wet conditions led to a challenging opening race where Patrik brought the car home in ninth, collecting valuable championship points on debut. Sadly, the second race was abandoned due to persistent heavy rain with Matthiesen and Pointon scheduled to start from the fourth position.
The meeting began with two test sessions on Friday where both Patrik and Callum enjoyed some good running prior to the weekend in dry conditions. Although little can be read into lap times at such an early stage of the weekend, the team set the fastest lap by a Ginetta during Friday’s session, including an impressive third place overall in GT4 during the opening session.
Saturday brought two practice sessions for the HHC Motorsport team, followed by qualifying later in the afternoon. The opening practice was held in damp conditions with Patrik making a late switch to slick tyres which paid dividends as he set the second fastest time in GT4. With fully dry conditions in practice two, both Callum and Patrik could make their final preparations ahead of qualifying. The pair of drivers did a great job at maximising the speed of their Ginetta as Patrik set the car’s fastest time in the closing stages of the session, recording the third fastest lap.
Qualifying was split into two groups with Callum driving in the first to set the grid for race one and Patrik in group two. A great effort from Callum meant the HHC Motorsport team would line up on pole position for the first race of the weekend. With Patrik driving in the second group, this would mean he was matched alongside the Pro drivers from the Pro/Am GT4 cars. Despite the added challenge, he did a great job in his debut British GT qualifying to set the fourth fastest time with an almost identical lap to that of Callum in the first session.
The first race of the weekend started behind the safety car with extremely cold and wet conditions at Oulton Park. Callum began the race from pole position and did a superb job to fight off the challenges from a group of McLaren’s to pit the Ginetta G55 in the lead of GT4. Patrik re-joined the race in first position with just less than half of the race remaining. A small off-track moment at the start of the stint dropped the HHC Motorsport car to eighth, with experience pro driver Joe Osborne also finding a way past shortly after. Patrik was determined to fight back and passed the Ginetta of Ben Wallace on lap 21 and began to pull away from his fellow former Ginetta Junior driver. The new Mercedes AMG GT4 was showing great speed on its series debut and Michael Broadhurst passed Patrik in the closing stages, moving him down into ninth. An encouraging end to the race saw Matthiesen set his fastest lap while chasing the Mercedes to claim a solid points finish in very tough conditions on his debut.
Race two was set to be held in mixed conditions before a downpour before the race, meant another safety car start with Patrik behind the wheel. Four laps were completed under controlled conditions before the red flag was displayed due to further heavy rain and standing water accumulating on the circuit. Unfortunately, this led to the abandonment of the second race and the remainder of the meeting at Oulton Park with no points awarded due to the minimum race distance not being completed.
Patrik can take good encouragement from his debut in British GT, without having the results to show for it. The single lap pace of the Ginetta G55 was strong with both drivers gaining valuable in experience in a range of different conditions. The second round of the British GT championship will take place at Rockingham on the weekend of 28th/29th April with Callum and Patrik targeting the first piece of silverware in the series.