On the verge of completing her second season in the British GT Championship, Anna Walewska was hoping she could finish her season as well as it started, with the final round of the year taking place at Donington Park. Having proven to be amongst the main pace setters this year over the two-hour long races, Walewska and teammate Nathan Freke were hoping a strong result was on the cards.
Saturday’s free practice was hampered with wet weather and red flags during the two sessions. Lighting up the timing screens in both sessions however was the #73 University of Bolton and Westons Ginetta of Nathan Freke and Anna Walewska. The pair were hoping this would be a sign of things to come for qualifying, as they would have to serve a five-place grid penalty carried over from the last round at Snetterton.
As ever qualifying was a typically hard fought shootout. Anna felt her best lap was compromised during the session, her best time putting her 13th in the AM class. The Pro session top ten was split by just one second, Nathan’s time just six tenths shy of the pace sitting Beechdean Aston Martin. On combined times, the pair would place their G55 11th overall in GT4.
A trouble free morning warm-up set the scene for a good day on Sunday with glorious blue skies lighting up the picturesque Derby circuit. Starting from 16th on the grid courtesy of their five-place grid drop from Snetterton. Getting a good start to the two hours of Donington Park just after 1pm, Anna had already jumped three places on the opening tour as the Safety Car was deployed to deal with a first corner incident.
When racing resumed on lap four, she was now locked onto Aaron Mason’s Ginetta hoping to continue her speedy promotion up the order. By the mid-point in her stint, Walewska was now up to thirteenth in GT4 and lapping consistently on every tour. As the pitstop window opened at the 50-minute mark, shortly afterwards Anna dived into the pits, a superbly executed stop sent Nathan Freke out on circuit, fully fueled and with new tyres, ready for a big push to the end of the race.
When the pitstop shuffle had finally settled, Freke was now up to tenth in GT4, and eagerly looking to move further up the order. Starting to put a sequence of strong laps together, Freke had catapulted himself up to seventh before capitalizing on the struggling Ross Gunn five laps from the end to move into sixth. There he would remain as he crossed the finish line, but some post race penalties would promote the duo to fifth and with it, reward their challenging season with third overall in the 2016 British GT4 Pro/AM Drivers Championship.
Anna Walewska – #73 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“What a year it’s been, new team, new teammate for me and we’ve hardly been off the podium all season. A win at the Dubai 24hr was a great way to kick the season off and the success didn’t stop there. It’s only my second year in British GT and we all gelled so well together. It’s been a pleasure driving with Nathan Freke and Century Motorsport. The reward for me is working alongside the University of Bolton Motorsport students and seeing them progress through the year. I’m so very proud of them all. We couldn’t have had the success without their input. My thanks also go to my sponsors the University of Bolton and Westons. Finishing third in the British GT4 Pro/AM Championship has really proven our success.”