The 2016 British GT4 Championship has certainly been eventful so far this season for both of the team’s highly competitive pairings. With both crews having tasted the champagne at least once so far this season, a return to the podium was certainly a popular target as the championship makes it’s only visit outside of the UK to the famous Spa-Francorchamps, located deep within the Ardennes forest in Belgium.
With multiple red flags in Free Practice One and sharing a track with almost 60 cars as the European GT4 Championship also featured this weekend, useful track time in advance of qualifying would be in short supply. As qualifying approached, the skies darkened, and as Anna left the garage for her qualifying run, the heavens opened and soaked a large portion of the circuit. Running on slicks, she was forced to pit at the end of the lap for a change to wets, before going on to secure the ninth fastest time. Now it was Nathan’s turn for the second and final part of the session. Leaving the pitlane on wets, the falling rain had stopped and such was the heat in the track he felt slicks were the only option and returned to the pitlane for a rapid pitstop by the team. Lighting up the timing screens from there, Freke would end the session as the second fastest GT4 car on circuit, and when combined with Walewska’s time, the pair would start Saturday’s two-hour round six from third in GT4.
A bumper 57-car grid lined up to take the start in warm and sunny conditions on Saturday morning. With lights out just after 12.25 local time, the packed grid burst into the first corner. With lots of action at the first couple of corners, a rather unwell Anna Walewska managed to keep her nose clean during the opening lap to remain inside the top five. From there, it was a case of doing her best to maintain a strong position during her stint at the notoriously challenging Spa-Francorchamps. Just as the pitstop window opened at the 50-minute mark, Walewska dived into the pits to hand the car over to Nathan for the final part of the race.
Bursting out of the pits, Freke set off on a charge to try and work his way back up the order. Having to carefully work his way through the European GT4 traffic, Nathan was up to seventh after the pitstops were complete, closing down a large gap to Robert Barrable in sixth. His charge however was hampered by a number of European GT4 cars in front, who were faster in sector one and making it difficult to close in and find a way past over the remainder of the lap. Finally finding a way past to move directly behind Barrable, Nathan brought the gap down to just two seconds, but as the chequered flag fell, his charge for position was ended as he crossed the line in seventh.
Anna Walewska – #73 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4:
“So we’ve had a challenging weekend, I’ve not been feeling very well, but the team have been great with me and supported me through it. We knew it would be a case of damage limitation for us, but I know if I can maintain a good top 10 result and hand over to Nathan a strong car with good tyres, then I know that he can do the business. Here at Spa it’s been a really competitive weekend, although Nathan was one of the quickest cars on circuit, the gap between everyone with the European GT4 cars here aswell just made it that much more difficult to get up the order. I’m pleased that we managed to secure a good finish in seventh, but it just means that we really need to push for podiums at the final two rounds in Snetterton and Donington but I know we can do it.”