Misfortune Denies Gordon-Colebrooke Oulton Park Podium Finish
A penalty for Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke denied him a potential podium finish in a penultimate British GT meeting at Oulton Park plagued by misfortune for the Century Motorsport ace (11/12 September).
Fresh from a spectacular performance at the most recent round at Snetterton when he climbed from the back of the field to grab a third podium finish of the season, the Buckinghamshire racer headed to Cheshire lying second in the overall GT4 standings.
With momentum on his side and the chance to cement a one-two in the class championship for his Century Motorsport team, he spent Friday testing and Saturday's pair of hour-long free practice sessions gathering data to fine tune the BMW M4 GT4 machine ahead of the penultimate race meeting of the season.
With two races once again on the timetable for the weekend, both Gordon-Colebrooke and co-driver Chris Salkeld had a short qualifying session apiece to find a strong grid slot for the two hour-long races the following day. Seventh place would be the result in the first, with only track limits penalties limiting the #9 BMW to 10th in the second.
Results in 2021 showed that the Century BMW driver's best performances had come when the green flag dropped on Sundays, and the former Monoposto and Ginetta GT4 Supercup front-runner entered the first of the day's two races optimistic of keeping his GT4 title chances alive.
Taking over the wheel of the car looking to climb up into the podium positions, a charging Gordon-Colebrooke was undone ultimately by a collision with the Balfe Motorsport McLaren at Lodge corner. The damage to the front corner of the car put the car out of the race, but wet weather arrived to throw a spanner into the works for race two of the day.
After a fighting start to the race, the Buckinghamshire racer used his race craft to begin making up progress from the back of the grid in GT4, finding his way by two McLarens in the run up to the mandatory pit stops. The BMW was then handed a slice of good fortune as a safety car infringement allowed him to climb up into the top four in the GT4 silver class, leaving open a chance of a comeback podium.
More bad luck would curtail Gordon-Colebrooke however as co-driver Salkeld was handed a stop-go penalty in relation to a contentious three-car incident earlier in the race, dropping the car to eighth in class when a promising result looked on the cards. Putting the weekend results aside, Gordon-Colebrooke sits just four points adrift of finishing second in the GT4 class, which he could seal with a strong result at Donington Park where he was victorious at earlier in the season.
Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke:“It's a massive lost opportunity. The car was far, far quicker than our results show. We never really got the opportunity to show that in either race despite driving good stints.
"In race one I had the unfortunate incident with the McLaren. It is what it is; I went for it and it didn't come off in the end, but on another day, maybe we would have come out the other side undamaged.
"In race two I tried hard again fighting through the spray trying to make progress. We picked the cars off slowly and proved that the car had pretty good speed, and then our stroke of luck we needed came with a safety car. We started getting excited and were on for an unexpected podium result, but the penalty was a sucker punch. Ifs, buts and maybes.
"We go to Donington with a really, really strong chance of re-taking second place, and we have the knowledge that we are quick there and the advantage of less success penalties. I'm looking forward to that."
Gordon-Colebrooke's 2021 British GT Championship season heads to its season finale next month, as the BMW driver travels to Donington Park for the second time this year over the weekend of 16/17 October.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.