Barwell Cadena: Oulton Podium Shows Bentwood is Back

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Manchester- based racing driver, Michael Bentwood, returned to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship in style, with a third place at his home circuit of Oulton Park.

In the season he celebrates 10 years as a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), Bentwood was pleased to be back in British GT with Barwell Racing. After missing part of last season, the super-fit endurance specialist has joined forces with gentleman driver, Paul Whight in a 600 bhp Aston Martin DBRS9 race car.

Qualifying saw Bentwood set the fastest time ever for a DBRS9 round the picturesque Oulton Park circuit, with a time of 1 minute 38.5 seconds. Despite this being almost two seconds quicker than his fastest 2008 time, it was only enough for sixth on the grid, demonstrating the pace of development in British GT. Bentwood’s co-driver Whight managed a time good enough for a very creditable ninth in the other race of the weekend.

Race one saw Whight take the wheel first and get himself embroiled in a battle with experienced gentleman driver Hector Lester. Whight pushed the Irish driver hard throughout his driving stint and brought the 6.0 V12 machine in right behind the Ferrari driver. A superb pit stop from the Barwell-Cadena crew gave Bentwood the opportunity to get out ahead of Lester’s professional driving partner, Allan Simonsen at the driver change point.
Bentwood was quickly aware just how much faster the 2010 Ferrari F430 GT3 car is than the Aston Martin around Oulton Park and yielded to the Danish GT veteran, rather than overwork his tyres in a desperate defence. From here Bentwood kept a gaggle of other professional drivers at bay with an assured performance and benefitted from the Ascari and Porsche cars ahead of him failing to make the finish. The PorscheGT3 RSR dropping out gave the new Barwell-Cadena team of Bentwood and Whight their first taste of podium champagne in 2010, with a hard won third place.

Buoyed by their first race performance, Whight and Bentwood were confident going in to race two and starting sixth were hopeful of another podium at minimum. After a good start, Bentwood was soon alongside long standing rivals the Jones brothers in their British-built Ascari KZ1R. Going into Old Hall side-by-side Bentwood was happy to ride the outside line as he has done many times at his home circuit.

Bentwood was delighted to be back in British GT and racing with Paul Whight, commenting: “I am so happy to be back in British GT and especially as it has meant linking up with Barwell Motorsport again who are an incredibly professional outfit. It has also been a pleasure to link up with Paul who is without doubt the quickest gentleman driver I have been paired with and has performed fantastically this weekend. 2010 is going to be a great season and we are certainly going to be competitive with this combination of team and drivers.”

Unfortunately, the Ascari car got wildly out of shape in the bend and Bentwood was forced to avoid the sliding car. Evasive action took him on to a dirty part of the circuit which led to an excursion onto the grass. As Bentwood coolly attempted to recover from this excursion the ultra-low DBRS9 was thrown up in to the air by a bump and launched in to the tyre wall. Bentwood was unharmed by the spectacular looking crash and the car can easily be repaired with no structural damage having occurred.

With Whight not being a huge fan of the Knockhill circuit in Scotland, the pair have elected to skip this round and will be back in action on the 5th June, at the Spa Francorchamps Formula 1 circuit in Belgium.

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