Grantham-based race team Richardson Racing endured a weekend of highs and lows at Thruxton in the third meeting of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup season (30 Apr-1 May).
Brother and sister pair Andrew and Louise Richardson again impressed with their speed in the G50 class, but the three races at the Hampshire circuit would provide a mixed bag of results for the teenage duo.
For his first ever race at Thruxton, Andrew qualified fifth in the G50 class and 13th overall, despite struggling with the handling of his car through the high-speed sections of the circuit.
When the opening race got underway, Andrew made his usual fast start to jump up to second in class before an incident for one of the G55 cars ahead gave Aaron Williamson the chance to get through and demote Andrew to third. While his car was now more settled through the quicker parts of the circuit, Andrew found himself losing time through the Complex at the start of the lap but held his position to secure a third podium finish of the season; taking the finish in ninth overall.
From ninth on the grid for race two, Andrew made up a place on the opening lap after getting ahead of Williamson into second in class. Although he dropped to tenth overall as a number of G55s worked their way up the order, Andrew maintained second in class until losing out to Williamson at the Complex on lap nine, when contact from his rival caused damage the diffuser. Andrew then ran in twelfth overall and third in class until being hit by Rob Gaffney on lap 13, which damaged the diffuser still further and saw him drop down to fifth in class at the finish.
Avoiding an incident at the start of race three, which caused the race to be red-flagged, Andrew was on the pace when the action restarted, climbing into the top ten overall and running fourth in class before his power steering failed heading though the high-speed left-hander at Noble. Despite that, Andrew continued until an alternator warning light came on, forcing him to pull into the pits to retire.
Andrew now sits seventh in the championship standings following the Thruxton weekend.
“`We struggled a bit to get the set-up right, so we were quite lucky to get the podium finish in race one,” he said. “In race two, I got up to second place but then Aaron hit me in the rear and damaged the diffuser and I was losing grip, and then it broke completely after the contract from Rob.
“The team did a brilliant job to put the car back together for the final race and the car felt great, but then a belt snapped and I lost the power steering going through Noble. At first, I though something had broken on the car but I was planning to carry on to pick up points until the alternator light came on and I had to pull back into the pits.”
Still suffering the after-effects of a bug picked up in the run-up to the event, Louise qualified seventh in class and 15th overall as she too struggled with the handling of her car through the quicker parts of the track.
With her handling issues resolved for the opening race, Louise climbed to fifth in class and eleventh overall on the first lap before climbing into the top ten overall on lap two. However, on the fourth lap, Jake Hill turned across Louise as the pair went into the Complex, with the resultant contact damaging the bonnet of her car. Although Louise held fourth place following the incident, her bonnet then became dislodged on lap nine which severely hampered the handling of the car and left her powerless to defend from the cars behind. As a result, she took the chequered flag sixth in class and 13th overall.
Louise lost a place at the start of race two to drop to seventh in class and 15th overall on the opening lap but soon started to make up places, moving ahead of Jody Fannin on lap two and then Gaffney to take fifth in class and 13th overall by lap six. A spin for Jake Hill at the Complex then allowed Louise to climb to fourth behind brother Andrew. Unfortunately, a spin at the Chicane while dicing for position with Andrew saw Louise drop back to sixth, but she was able to make up more places before the finish to take the chequered flag fourth in class and eleventh overall.
Unfortunately for Louise, her hopes of a strong end to the weekend ended in dramatic fashion when she was involved in a three-car accident at the start of race three. Polesitter Alistair James stalled his G55 on the line and was struck by Williamson, leaving Louise with nowhere to go when his car rebounded in front of her. Showing the strength of the car, Louise was able to escape serious injury, although she was understandably winded by the heavy impact, which put her out of the race on the spot.
Louise ends the Thruxton weekend sitting sixth in the championship chase.
“I made a good start and got ahead of Fannin, and I would have got through without any problems if Aaron hadn’t pinged back in front of me,” she said. “When his car bounced back, I had nowhere to go and there was nothing I could do to avoid him.
“We were close to the pace and got close to the podium again this weekend, but I made some mistakes and got caught up in the chaos on track which meant I couldn’t repeat the results from Donington Park. The car felt so good through all the quick stuff this weekend but luck just wasn’t on our side.”