Latest News » 2019 Ginetta GT5 Challenge Rounds 1-3 - Oulton Park
With Pre-season testing proving that both Josh Steed and Danny Harrison had the pace to represent the Academy in the 2019 Ginetta GT5 Challenge, we were gearing up for a full on attack at Oulton Park for the Easter weekend British GT Meeting. Unfortunately, Josh suffered a double fracture to his right arm just 4 weeks before his planned debut in the championship, which meant that he would miss the first 2 meetings at Oulton Park and Thruxton, leaving Danny Harrison to contest the opening rounds without his teammate to work with.
Was that a concern for Harrison? Of course not! Danny took the reins with both hands going into the first round and his first competitive weekend in rear wheel drive machinery.
Qualifying was tough, with less than 1/10th of a second between the top 3, and just over a second separating the top 15 at the end of the session, Danny’s times lined him up 13th and 12th for Race 1 and Race 2 respectively, on the grid of 31 identical GT5 Challenge Cars. A true confirmation that we are racing in one of the most competitive championships in the UK, with a real strength of field to compete with!
Lights out, here we go! Well, sort of, Danny’s first time executing a race start in the GT5 didn’t quite go to plan. A slow get away meant he had dropped back to 17th by turn 2 of the opening lap, but Danny is a real racer, and he wasn’t going to hang about there for long as he battled his way through the field to get into the top 10 on Lap 5, eventually taking the chequered flag in 9th place overall.
Danny had learnt his lesson and got a blistering start from 12th on the grid, making up 3 positions into the first turn this time around, he was on a mission and continued to race through the pack until he was fighting for 5th position. That’s more like it, come on Danny! Then disaster struck, on the penultimate lap Danny had a balljoint failure on the rear corner, making the car uncontrollable (well, for any normal driver it would be, not Danny!). Danny’s determination to finish the race unlocked the drift mode in his brain and he was able to keep the car going long enough to finish the race in 24th place.
Starting positions are determined by the finishing order of Race 2, putting Danny Harrison and the repaired #18 car back in 24th place on the grid with a lot of work to do. Did we mention that Danny could race? Because by lap 4 he had carved through 10 positions to get into the top 15, and continued to climb up the order, notching up 2 places on the last lap to finish just outside the top 10 in 11th place across the finish line.