- Chris Ashby
McKenzy Cresswell Enjoys Solid GB3 Championship Debut At Oulton Park
McKenzy Cresswell enjoyed an encouraging start to the 2022 GB3 Championship in partnership with the BRDC season at Oulton Park this past Easter weekend (April 16/18) as he marked his debut by narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
Graduating into the UK’s premier single-seater series with Chris Dittmann Racing, the 16-year-old made progress in all three encounters to leave the Cheshire venue amassing a solid haul of points courtesy of a trio of top ten drives.
Fine-tuning the setup throughout Thursday and Friday’s test sessions, the Surrey racer set a best time of 1:29.652 around the 2.69-mile International layout in qualifying; which was good enough to secure fifth on the grid once penalties for those ahead of him were applied.
Race one later that afternoon would see Cresswell - who is now part of the BRDC Rising Star and Motorsport UK Academy programmes - deliver a measured drive to net a fourth-place finish.
Making one of his textbook fast starts, the teenager moved into fourth as the field streamed through Old Hall Corner and despite coming under early pressure, he ran relatively untroubled and within striking distance of the top three all the way to the chequered flag.
Returning to action on Easter Monday, Cresswell started race two in eighth by virtue of the second fastest times from qualifying and he produced a near carbon-copy performance of race one.
Aiming to make progress as soon as the lights went out, the Quenched Drinks sponsored driver found himself boxed between two cars as the grid charged into the first turn and leaving him only able to gain one position.
Bringing his bank holiday weekend to a close starting 13th in the reverse grid bout, Cresswell was once again on the move from the get-go and by the end of the first lap he had charged into tenth place.
Running under the rear wing of the driver in ninth for a majority of the 14-lap contest, Cresswell attempted a pass at the Hislop chicane in the latter stages of the race, but a robust block by the car in front forced him off the track and back to 11th.
Following post-race penalties being applied, Cresswell was promoted back into tenth after stewards ruled the defensive move was unfair.
McKenzy Cresswell:“Overall it has been a solid weekend and I leave Oulton Park feeling relatively happy. I’m under no illusions how competitive the GB3 Championship is so to come away with three top ten finishes and plenty to build on is really encouraging.
"I've got to say a massive thank you to the whole Chris Dittmann Racing team as they didn't miss a beat all weekend. We've had a relentless pre-season schedule but they've just cracked on and given me a mega car every time. There is a great atmosphere around the team and I'm sure our time will come this year.
“Looking back, qualifying went well but deep down I knew that there was a bit more pace in the car, especially as I had some traffic to contend with when my tyres were at their peak. Then, race one was all about bringing back some points and we did just that with a fourth place.
“I had a great start in race two but got a little boxed in which prevented me from making further progress. Oulton is notoriously difficult to overtake around so seventh was the best we could manage, but it was still a big positive.
“Race three was a bit up and down as I again had a good start, and managed to make a move around the outside at the Shell Oils hairpin. Later on I got hit off at Hislops whilst trying to make the move for ninth, that’s racing sometimes. There is lots to be positive about and we now head to Silverstone in a few weeks time feeling good.”
The GB3 Championship in partnership with the BRDC continues at the Home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone, on May 7/8.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.