Optimum upstage the British GT regulars at Oulton Park

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Almost ninety days ago to this date, Optimum Motorsport conducted their first ever test at a cold and damp Snetterton with their new Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 ahead of this seasons British GT Championship that is now taking place from Oulton Park.

Accomplished GT4 racer Flick Haigh was stepping up to the GT3 main stage with the support of AMR factory driver Jonny Adam by her side. Multiple test days later, both at home and abroad had delivered the inexperienced GT3 racer with the track time she needed to become accustomed to the Vantage GT3 and it seems that all of that test mileage that she had put in in some very damp/wet track conditions has already started to pay dividends for them and the team.

Having already claimed top honours in the first of todays Free Practice sessions, qualifying this afternoon for Monday's brace of races was a simple case of each of the team's Pro and Am driver setting their own individual time in order to determine their starting positions for each race.

With the GT3 Am Qualifying session being the first of the day Haigh quickly assigned herself to the top of the timing and scoring board being the quickest the bunch after everyones first lap after Mark Farmer in his #11 TF Sport Vantage GT3 had been initially top until that point. Next time around, Haigh was herself bumped down the order by the reigning GT3 champion Rick Parfett Junior in his Bentley followed by Andrew Howard in his #99 Beechdean AMR Vantage - only until her next lap time came in when she re-gained her top spot position again.

With the Pirelli tyres only appearing to give two decent flying laps, that was enough for Haigh to claim her spot at the front of the grid for the first race on Monday. She also claimed her place in British GT history by before the first female driver to do so.

Next out were the GT3 Professional drivers and having five AMR factory drivers in their midst it had all the hallmarks of a great ten minute encounter - but only it didn't!! - not really.

By the end of their first flying lap, Haigh's team mate Jonny Adam was sitting in P2 just behind the Lamborghini of Phil Keen (just 0.159seconds behind) with the two danish drivers of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim behind him with the TF Sport cars in P3 and P4 respectively. Whatever happened next with the track/tyres we are not sure but it was that no driver was then able to improve upon their first flying lap meaning that Adam would be starting race 2 on Monday from P2 on the grid.

With the weather forecast for Monday's race programme not looking very good at all, her recently acquired wet weather skillset might just do the trick so long as the teams do not start requiring a boat!

All the best and congratulations............

Photo credits - Optimum / Jacob Ebrey

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