Difficult Snetterton GT Homecoming For Basey-Fisher

Ginetta G55 racer Oli Basey-Fisher endured a problematic outing at Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend, 21st/22nd June, during the latest two rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship – a raft of difficulties conspiring to spoil the Great Finborough sportsman’s ‘home’ race meeting.Relishing the prospect of making his first appearance of the year at his local track, 18-year-old Oli’s hopes of challenging for a second GT4 Class podium finish of the campaign were pretty much dashed from the outset in a pair of torrid free practice sessions on Saturday morning.First, the late supply of a race engine with all of the requisite parts meant the Academy Motorsport mechanics were only able to finalise the fitting of the powerplant into the No.55 car with 10 minutes of the opening session remaining.More drama then followed in session two when the starter motor failed after a single lap. Although this was fixed, it then became apparent the steering pump had also broken – leading to retirement from the second practice hour.Heading into qualifying without any meaningful set-up work being completed, and not a single flying lap of Snetterton 300 Circuit in the GT4 car under his belt, Oli piloted the Ginetta for the round five session and did a very impressive job to haul the car into fifth in GT4 on the timing screens.Taking the first stint of Sunday’s opening one hour race, Oli quickly climbed into fourth in class and smartly saw off an attack from the Aston Martin of Ross Wylie on lap two at Riches. Initially running as part of a three-way battle for second and third in class, Oli unfortunately slipped back into Wylie’s clutches when the tyre pressures went a little too high – a legacy of the lack of practice.Unfortunately edged back to fifth a couple of laps prior to making the mandatory driver change on the 14th tour, Oli handed over the Century Logistics and DCB (Kent) Ltd liveried Ginetta to team-mate Matt Nicoll-Jones with just over half an hour remaining on the clock.Rejoining the race sixth in GT4, Nicoll-Jones was nudged back to seventh before being warned by officials after being adjudged to have exceeded track limits. After a third warning, the team was hit with a five second time penalty which meant an eventual finish of eighth place.“The first race was more a learning experience than anything due to the lack of testing, so the set-up wasn't quite right and we lost a bit of time through this”, reflected Oli, “We also lost a fair bit of time in the pit stop which certainly lost us positions in the race. The whole weekend was very frustrating due to us being on the back foot from the beginning, which made everything really quite hard.”Nicoll-Jones started the second encounter which was actually red flagged on only the second lap following a multi-car collision at the first corner involving several GT3 cars. After a delay of roughly an hour, required to facilitate barrier repairs before racing could resume, round six was re-started behind the Safety Car, over a reduced 55-minute duration.Nicoll-Jones climbed as high as fifth but slipped to eighth before the pit-stop at mid-distance. Oli lapped as consistently as he could during his stint but a 35 second penalty, applied after Nicoll-Jones was once again deemed to have exceeded track limits earlier in the contest, meant the duo ended the race in seventh position – not indicative of the fact Oli had been battling for the podium.“Race two looked very promising with the first start, and Matt managed to get up into third”, said the Suffolk racer, “The re-start was unfortunate and due to the single file re-start, and the revised grid, it was a lot harder to come through the pack. Matt’s penalty was also rather unfair as it was caused by a GT3 car running him off the track.“I took over and although towards the end I was fighting with third and second on track, the penalty meant it didn't matter which was a great shame. We did, however, show great pace in the race, and were even running as the fastest GT4 car at one point, which was very promising considering everything that happened.”Next on the Avon Tyres British GT Championship schedule is a trip to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for the sole overseas event of the season. Rounds seven and eight of the campaign will take place at the world-famous track over the weekend 11th/12th July.