Strong finish to tricky weekend for Chris Dittmann Racing at Silverstone

Chris Dittmann Racing continued its positive start to the GB3 Championship season with further point scoring finishes at the weekend (May 7/8), as the series had three races on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

Qualifying was competitive, with the top ten drivers finishing within one second of each other, and after an unlucky session for both drivers, the races would be an upward battle for the team.

A technical issue for Branden Oxley resulted in decreased run time for the Thai/British racer, though he refused to give in and pushed to record the 12th quickest time, while McKenzy Cresswell struggled to get the most out of his tyres, coming away in ninth.

Branden had a great start to race one as he made up four places to run eighth on the opening lap, one spot ahead of his team-mate. Despite pressure from Matt Rees in the closing stages of the ten-lap race, McKenzy held position and crossed the line ninth, just behind Branden.

The second race was tougher for both drivers as McKenzy sustained front wing damage while battling with Javier Sagrera, causing his retirement. Branden, using his most worn set of tyres as he started in an uncharacteristic 17th position, fought hard to climb up three places, but was unable to make up any more ground in the dirty air, finishing 14th.

Race three, featuring a reverse grid starting order, was tough for Branden as contact from Rees caused him to slip to tenth position, while McKenzy made up three places to run ninth by lap three. With an incredible show of pace on old tyres, McKenzy continued to battle his way through the field to eventually cross the line six places ahead of where he started to take sixth place.

The team leaves Silverstone with further championship points and valuable lessons learned to aid it for the remainder of the season. Chris Dittmann Racing now sets its focus on the upcoming F4 British Championship races at Brands Hatch on May 14/15 before heading to Donington Park for rounds seven, eight, and nine of the GB3 Championship over the weekend of May 28/29.

McKenzy Cresswell, #8

G1 – 9, R1 – 9
G2 – 8, R2 – DNF
G3 – 12, R3 – 6

Championship: 7 (73 points)

“I found it a little bit difficult to switch the tyres on in qualifying and that really hindered us. I came ninth which is not too bad, and we knew that the pace could be top five, so there were positives to take from the session. I hadn’t had any experience of driving the GP circuit before, I’ve only raced on the National which is four corners, so I wasn’t sure what I was going into. It was a little bit harder than I expected to overtake in the dirty air, so I got held up with that, but overall, P9 in race one was quite positive.

“In race two there were some mistakes on my part, and we didn’t deserve the result we ended up with, but race three felt like a decent end to a bad weekend. Our pace was good, and I managed to get to P6 from P12 on the first lap. If I had got past [Javier] Segrera, I might have been able to get even a few more places because I had more pace than the cars in front, but it’s quite difficult to overtake.

“The tyres were old and most of the people around me had new ones on, which is a good indication of our strong pace. We’re making steps in the right direction and I’m excited to go back out and see how it feels at Donington.”

Branden Oxley, #68

G1 – 12, R1 – 9
G2 – 17, R2 – 14
G3 – 9, R3 – 14

Championship: 16 (48 points)

“In qualifying we had a technical problem at the start, so we couldn’t get out. I stayed on the same strategy as we had planned but unfortunately, we ended up with a lot less time than expected. I missed the in board from the pits, so I went in to change tyres and we didn’t have enough time to get going again. We managed to get one lap in which was supposed to be a warm-up lap and luckily it was fast enough for twelfth.

“Race one was a bit better. We got a good start and held position from there but the technical issues that we had were persisting, so that held us back quite a lot. Race two was our worst starting position because of the problems in qualifying. I started 17th, so we put on the worst tyres just to get that race over with and to ensure that in the third race we’d have the best set to attack with.

“Going into race three, I was very confident because I knew I had a lot more pace. We’d had those issues with the engine since Thursday and we were very slow on the straights. By race three it had improved as the team had done a lot to change things, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough.

“We learned a lot this weekend about the car, and we progressed as a team. Everyone has worked their hardest for me to make sure the car is giving the best it can, but I was just unlucky this weekend.”

Chris Dittmann, Team Owner

“It was a tough weekend in general and we struggled a little bit with pace at times. Qualifying could have been a different with just a few tenths here and there. Both drivers didn’t quite get it together, but they’ve got the potential. When we arrived on Thursday, we had quite a strong package and we changed a few things to help in a few areas, but unfortunately, that hurt the places we were already strong. Towards the end of the weekend, we ended up going back to what we knew.

“It was a good result in the end, and both drivers had strong pace in the last contest. McKenzy had a great race, fighting his way up into sixth, so we can be proud of the way this weekend turned around. We finished the last race with good pace on old tyres against the people around us on new rubber, so that was really encouraging. We’re looking forward to Donington now. The drivers will be working hard over the next couple of weeks, as will the team in the workshop, to try and arrive with the absolute best package we can.”

About the author: Jamie