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Mechanical problems halt Pittard’s title charge

Oulton Park Circuit, Chester, was home to rounds Ten and Eleven of the Michelin Genetta GT4 Supercup over the weekend of the 7th/8th June, with Championship contender David Pittard eager to continue the momentum gained from his stunning double victory last time out at Thruxton.

Heading into the weekend, dark clouds greeted the Sears Morgan Group & KX Akademy sponsored driver as he took to the picturesque Oulton Park circuit for Saturday mornings test and qualifying sessions, with the track soon becoming awash after a deluge of rain.

“The weather was a bit of a rollercoaster and I thought they should have red-flagged the morning’s session because it was so wet,” reflected Pittard. “Still, I managed to qualify P5 later in the day, some eight tenths off pole. I lost that time through a mistake, but starting fifth from the inside of the grid is not the end of the world.”

With the circuit drying for the first race of the weekend, the Hertfordshire based driver knew a good start would be essential, with overtaking notoriously hard around the tight, undulating circuit.

“I got a mega start from fifth, and made the jump into third,” commented the SV Racing driver. “Once we settled down over the first lap, I pretty much knew that’s how we would finish. I didn’t have the pace to challenge for first and second places and simply brought the car home for a solid third place.”

With the points haul taken from third, Pittard moved into the lead of the Championship standings, a result that hadn’t gone unnoticed.

“It’s a great feeling to have taken the lead in the championship. You can’t ask for anymore than that!”, smiled David.

Lining up in third position for the second and final race of the weekend on the Sunday, Pittard was confident that he could continue his string of podiums and further stretch his Championship lead, however mechanical gremlins would strike as the BRDC Rising Star watched the lights turn green.

“Sadly, the clutch went off the line, and I sat there wondering what was happening,” reflected David. ” Everyone flew past me left, right and centre – I was lucky not to get collected! I was only able to make half a lap and was loosing drive, so I pulled over and became a spectator, which was a shame because quite a few drivers were handed jump start penalties, which would have worked in my favour.”

Despite the obvious disappointment of his first DNF of the season, David was positive with the weekend and eager to continue his title challenge as the Championship heads to Croft.

“It’s happened at a double header in the final race, as to apposed to a triple-header, so it could have been worse. We’re only 20-points behind in the championship, which is not much at all as the standings are constantly swinging, and it’s still early doors with a lot to play for.”

The British Touring Car Championship supporting Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup now heads to Croft circuit over the weekend of the 28th/29th June.

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Double win & a second for David at Thruxton

Letchworth based racing driver David Pittard shot into the top two of the Championship standing after a stunning weekend at Thruxton, 3rd/4th May, which saw the Sears Morgan Group & KX Akademy sponsored driver secure two wins and a second place, catapulting the SV Racing driver to within three points of the Championship lead.

Heading into qualifying at the UK’s fastest circuit, David was unlucky to not secure pole position having recorded a lap time a mere 0.003 seconds behind his rival.

As the lights went out for race one, Pittard made another of his trademark starts, taking the lead before dominating the race to the flag, and with it securing the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of over 111mph.

“I can’t believe this has happened!,” commented David, shortly after race one. “I made sure I nailed my start, and just didn’t look in my mirrors at all. I deserved that win and my lap times were strong, coming down as the race progressed. I never expected to achieve a win this early in my maiden Ginetta GT4 Supercup season and especially at Thruxton! I thought it would be a bogie circuit for me, given its fast nature and my lack of track time, but that proved to be completely wrong! Hopefully I’ve now stepped up another level and this continues”.

Once the celebrations had finished it was quickly back to work for Pittard and the SV Racing team following the discovery of a clutch related problem which threatened to cut short his impressive start to the race weekend.

“During the short interval between races one and two we found that the clutch wasn’t disengaging properly, so there was a bit of drama as SV Racing tried to get the car turned around in time,” said Pittard. “Situations like that are crazy, but there was a huge effort by the guys and we made it to the grid for race two.”

Lining up this time on Pole Position, Pittard once again made a stirling start and retained the lead as the pack scampered into the first corner. Immediately getting his head down, the BRDC Rising Star had already managed to pull out a three quarter of a second lead over his nearest rival by the end of the first lap. Maintaining his focus throughout the remainder of the race, Pittard secured another fastest lap as he took his second win of the weekend.

“After all the hard work from the team to fix the clutch I’m so glad I could repay them with another win.” commented David. “Rob Boston, my engineer, has done a mega job and has been very patient with me. He has played a huge part in making sure we’re successful. It has been a huge team effort, this is for them.”

Despite securing two wins from the weekend thus far, David had to be content with lining up on the second row for the final race, having drawn fourth place in the reverse grid structure.

A good start saw Pittard jump into third off the line behind Championship veteran Carl Breeze. As the cars rounded the final corner on the first lap, the leader was already beginning to pull a margin to second place and Pittard knew he would have to press hard to pass if he was going to have any chance of a triple win. Despite some stunning driving, the KX Akademy and Sears Morgan Group sponsored driver was stuck in third for almost twelve laps before an intelligent move saw him take second. Unfortunately, the gap to the lead was a huge eleven seconds, meaning David crossed the line at the flag an impressive second, capping of a dream weekend.

“The team gave me a fantastic car for this race so I was confident I could fight for another strong finish to complete an amazing weekend,” said Pittard after the final race. “The team told me to preserve my tyres but I was fully focused on passing cars. I had to bide my time in what was a very different race to the other two, as track conditions and the car’s balance had changed. I was quick in places and had to pick my moments, so I showed my nose a few times at the Chicane and the complex, but Carl (Breeze) made a mistake and I punished him for it by slipping up the inside between Goodwood and Church.”

“Securing second today just caps off a great weekend for us. It is brilliant to be able to give something back to my sponsors, Sears Morgan Group and KX Akademy, for all their support in helping get me on the grid, this really has been a dream weekend!”

David comes away from Thruxton just three points off the Championship lead as the drivers head to Oulton Park for Rounds Ten, Eleven and Twelve, over the weekend of the 7th / 8th June.

Provisional Championship standings

2014 Championship Gallery

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Stunning podium and fastest lap at Donington

David Pittard continued his successful start to the 2014 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup with another stunning podium and fastest lap, having fought his way from the back of the grid at Donington Park over the Easter weekend, 19th and 20th April.

Heading into qualifying for Round Four the Sears Morgan and KX sponsored driver was confident of reproducing the pace shown a week earlier, where he was third fastest at the Championships official test at Thruxton circuit, however a mistake on the final corner saw the Letchworth based driver qualify a disappointing eighth.

“We were looking forward to a strong qualifying, the pace was there in the car and it was just a matter of putting all the sectors of the lap together,” reflected David. “I was very frustrated as I messed up the final corner, the mistake put us 3 positions behind where we should have been, and placed us firmly on the back foot for the first race.”

Having put the disappointment of qualifying behind him the SV Racing driver lined up on the grid for race one. As the lights went out, Pittard once again made a strong start, gaining a position off the line and slotting into seventh.

“The start wasn’t bad, and we gained a place. After missing a spinner right infront of me I almost managed to make up some more places, but I then found myself in a sandwich between Luke (Davenport) and Tom (Oliphant). With the pressure from Tom behind I wasn’t able to have a proper go at Luke as I had to keep defending from Tom. It was a good battle throughout the race, but a little bit frustrating too as we had the pace to push further up the field.”
Approaching the second race the BRDC Rising Star driver lined up seventh, and was greeted with torrential rain, making for incredibly difficult track conditions around the 1.9mile circuit.
“The second race of the weekend saw very treacherous conditions,” said David. “It was my first chance to drive the car in the wet, and after a reasonable start I managed to make a place up at the opening corners.”
In a sensational overtake that was described by the TV commentators as “move of the year” David scythed his way through the pack, and quickly made his way up to the back of the top five.
“I could barely see through the spray as it was so thick, but I managed to pick my way through a great scrap between myself, Harry (Woodhead) and Jamie (Orton). Harry was holding everyone up so I knew it was important to clear him quickly. I managed to slip through the middle of the two of them on the way into the chicane, pull away, and then catch and pass Sean (Huyton).”
As Pittard rounded the final corner on the last lap, it was a race to the line between David and Tom as the pair fought for fifth place, with David just missing out at the flag.
“Unfortunately, I just missed out on fifth place in race two, but the result of finishing sixth was kind to us, giving us pole for the reverse grid in race three.”
As David and the SV Racing team headed to the grid for the final race of the weekend, the previously wet Donington circuit was quickly drying, presenting the drivers with a tough decision when it came to tyre choice, particularly as the Sears Morgan sponsored driver was lining up on his first Pole Position of the season.
“Going to the grid we were all on wet tyres, but due to a delay in the start of the race everyone slowly pushed back into the pits to change over to slicks, and start from pit lane! As we were on pole, we had the most to loose from changing tyres, so made the call at the last minute and as a result ended up starting from the pit lane dead last.”
Having made the decision to change tyres and start from the pit lane, David was restricted to starting the race without the luxury of the warming-up lap, meaning he would start the wet race on cold, slick tyres.
“It was the craziest start to a race I’ve ever encountered! The first 2 laps were very slippery and I slowly picked off the other slick drivers, working hard to get heat into the tyres. As soon as the tyres started to come on, I was setting fastest laps and closed down before passing the cars still on wets.”
With his pace ever increasing, Pittard set the fastest lap of the race, and quickly closed up on the back of the leading trio.
“I was still setting fastest laps as I closed up to the lead three. Unfortunately I ran out of laps to make a move, but I knew the car in front was to be given a five second penalty, meaning I crossed the line third. It was a really great result, one which the team and my sponsors fully deserved given all the effort they put in.”
The weekend wasn’t yet over for Pittard, as the Brunel University student headed over to the Tesco Filling Station for his final media commitments for the weekend.
“After my podium appearance and TV interviews for ITV I quickly dashed to the Tesco The Filling Station to join Touring Car legends Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff on stage to talk in front of over 150 people about my weekend so far, and answer questions that the crowd had asked. The buzz of being in front of all those fans was a real highlight for me, and I want to say a big thank you to Tesco for having me, and Sears Morgan and KX Akademy for making this weekend possible.”
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Pittard third fastest at Official Thruxton test

Following a tremendously successful opening of his 2014 Championship campaign at Brands Hatch Circuit, the Sears Morgan sponsored SV Racing driver headed to the ferociously fast and technical Thruxton circuit in Andover for the first time, determined to continue his position at the front of the pack.

At just under 2.4 miles, and with a top speed of over 133mph, Thruxton circuit is the fastest in the UK and welcomes the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup of the weekend of the 3rd & 4th May, once again supporting the British Touring Car Championship.

“Brands Hatch was a brilliant weekend for us, one which has really set the bench mark for our next race at Donington over the Easter weekend”, commented David. ” The official test at Thruxton took place today due to the limited track time at the circuit, but its a circuit that I have always wanted to drive, and boy did it deliver!”

“The day started well as I applied the knowledge given to me by my SV Racing team and driver coach Paul O’Neil. I found the track to be almost of two halves, one muscling the car around the slow stuff, and two finger tip driving around the fast!”

Finishing the morning in a solid seventh place having utilised only old tyres, the BRDC Rising Star set about analysing his data and onboard video ahead of the afternoon session.

“After going through the data I and a list of things to change for the second session,” he reflected. “After some install laps we put on some newer tyres to get a real feel for the track. The tyres absolutely transformed the car and the whole circuit came alive, especially out the back! With lap times dropping by around 2 seconds, I could really push through the whole lap and my confidence grew.”

“Initially we went P1, which really surprised me, but I was over the moon with the result. On my last flying lap I made a small mistake heading into the final chicane, locking my tyres and loosing time on what would have been an even faster lap. We ended up finishing P3, which considering this was my first time to the circuit was incredible – the whole team were just as please!”

“After a successful test today I am really looking forward to coming back to Thruxton and working on finding event more time in the car,”he said. “In the meantime our focus shifts to Donington next weekend and building on our Championship points, and importantly rewarding our sponsors and the guys at SV Racing for all their continued hard work.”

The KX Akademy supported driver now heads to the Derby based circuit of Donington Park in preparation for rounds four, five and six of the Championship taking place over the Easter weekend, with Official testing taking place on Thursday 17th. Racing takes place on both Saturday 19th April and Sunday 20th with live TV coverage on ITV4.

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Race results: Oulton Park June 2012

Race results from this weekends Britcar MSA Endurance Championship at Oulton Park will be appearing here following the race!

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