Chris Dittmann Racing claimed a first podium finish of the season in the GB3 Championship on a weekend (May 28/29) which proved taxing for both team and drivers, as the series travelled to Donington Park.
It was tough from the get-go for the team, as both drivers surprisingly struggled for the ultimate pace across two days of testing held before the event, which unfortunately continued into the weekend itself, McKenzy qualifying 12th for race one and Branden 19th.
Both drivers fared well in the opening contest, avoiding opening lap dramas to make up a number of places, McKenzy up five spots to seventh and Branden gaining nine places to run tenth. From there, neither driver could make up further ground, McKenzy untroubled while Branden produced a superb defensive drive to thwart Marcos Flack.
On Sunday morning Branden made up six places on the opening lap of race two, to run in 15th, not far behind McKenzy who was quick to get stuck into battle, going wheel to wheel with Nico Christodoulou, as they fought for 12th position. Branden was on the defensive throughout the second half of the race as he successfully held onto 15th position but would then take a five second time penalty for track limits offences, finishing 20th.
For the final contest Branden had a chance to shine, starting third on the grid. He made a good start, taking second place through Redgate and Hollywood, before he and leader Bryce Aron pulled clear of the pack. From there it was a somewhat lonely contest as he held firm to the flag, taking a podium finish to provide a boost on a difficult weekend. McKenzy found himself caught in the pack and struggled to pass, trying a move on Zak Taylor but finding his rival cutting across and causing damage to the teenager’s front wing. He came into the pits to check for damage, re-joining the race in a disappointing 16th position.
The team will now take time to assess the weekend and work to make a step forward for the next rounds of the GB3 Championship season, which will take place at Snetterton over the weekend of June 25/26.
McKenzy Cresswell, #8
G1 – 12, R1 – 7
G2 – 13, R2 – 12
G3 – 10, R3 – 16
Championship: 11 (97 points)
“We’re scratching our heads as to where the pace has gone, both me and Branden. I think we’re making steps in the right direction, which is good. but there’s still more to find. I think, at the moment we’re getting somewhere and we’re trying things, making educated guesses as to what might be the issue. There’s one issue that we’re trying to iron out but it’s just a bit difficult. Branden and I, we’re driving quite well, but there are a few key things that we need to improve on.
“I just didn’t quite have the pace on Sunday, so I couldn’t make up the places that I did in race one. The car made a progression and we’re going in the right direction, but we didn’t really get to show it off in race three because I was stuck behind someone. When I went for a move on him, we made contact into the corner, it broke my wing, and that was my race over.
“It’s very nice winning, but you always learn more on the weekends like this. This is not where we should be, it’s not where we deserve to be, so we’ll head back, really think about this weekend, and about where we can improve and hopefully, at Snetterton, we’ll be all guns blazing at the top.”
Branden Oxley, #68
G1 – 19, R1 – 10
G2 – 21, R2 – 20
G3 – 3, R3 – 2
Championship: 13 (78 points)
“This is definitely the toughest weekend I’ve had, but we will have to get over it and get to the other side. I had to do everything I could to hold tenth in race one. I knew that I had to white line it everywhere because I didn’t have enough pace to even challenge the guy in front or even think about it. I just put everything I had in that one.
It’s nice to take a trophy home, I’ll give this one to the guys, because it’s been tough, but we’ve got to work through it. We had to work hard to figure out how to keep improving and keep up with the other teams. We’ll get on top of it.”