Michael Crees once again set a blistering pace in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup at Oulton Park this past weekend (09/10 June), with a sensational pole position in qualifying unfortunately being followed by a couple of difficult races.
Returning to action after a six week break, the Premier Contract Supplies supported racer headed to Cheshire determined to continue his incredible start to his maiden Supercup campaign, having taken a fantastic pair of victories across the opening two meetings of the year.
Crees made a statement of intent in the opening free practice session on Friday, remarkably topping the timesheets in the AM class by over a second, and come qualifying the next day he would produce another top performance in his Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4.
A stunning display saw Crees’ best effort of 1m 26.04s secure him a third consecutive class pole position by over seven tenths of a second, with his sheer raw pace highlighted by him setting the second fastest time overall in the final sector of the lap.
The Broadstairs-based driver would convert that pace into a great drive in the opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, rising to seventh position overall as he built an impressive seventeen second lead at the head of the AM class.
Unfortunately five laps from the end of the race, heavy contact with a kerb on the inside of Cascades sent him wide exiting the corner, which caused a build-up of grass in the front end of the car that led to his engine overheating, forcing him to retire into the pitlane.
It was a devastating conclusion to the race, but the reigning GRDC+ champion looked to come back stronger in race two the following day as he lined up sixth on the AM class grid in front of a huge trackside crowd and the live ITV4 television cameras.
It would prove to be a rollercoaster race for the 34 year old, who once again showed his tremendous pace as he picked his way past his class rivals, however some driver mistakes would drop him back and lead to him ending the entertaining race in sixth position.
Crees, who races with the support of Nutanix, Hansgrohe, Creesons, DDS Demolition, Daikin, Roca, DPC Group, RadiatorsOnline.com and SMG Croydon, will be back in action in two weeks’ time at Croft in North Yorkshire (23/24 June).
Michael Crees: “It’s been a bittersweet weekend. Our pace has been outstanding all meeting, it’s the quickest I’ve been so far this season, but I just haven’t done myself justice in the races and didn’t deliver the results that my team or my sponsors deserved.
“I’m still an amateur driver, this is only my second year of racing and I’ve jumped straight into a GT4 car, so I’ve got to expect some mistakes as I learn the car, racecraft and every aspect of racing – I’ve probably learnt more this weekend than in any other so far in my career.
“It still feels gutting to lose out on two podium finishes though, but there’s still plenty of positives to take from the weekend. The pace is there to be battling with some of the Pro drivers and it’s getting better every time we go out in the car.
“It was an incredible experience to race in front of such a huge crowd. A lot of people told me that the BTCC at Oulton Park was a special event and they were right, there was a fantastic atmosphere all weekend and it was awesome to be a part of it.
“I’ve never been to Croft before and I don’t even know what the circuit looks like, so it will be a whole new experience for me. I’m not expecting to go there and win races, but hopefully I’ll be able to get up to speed quickly and challenge for some more silverware."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography