Bentwood Bullish after Oulton
Hale-based, Michael Bentwood was concerned by the pace of the mid-engined cars after Rounds 1 & 2 of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park. The weekend was one of consistent performance, with two 8th places giving Bentwood and the Aston Martin DBRS9 owner Tom Alexander valuable points.
During qualifying the ex-F3 star was amazed to find that despite being 3-seconds quicker than his 2007 time, he was two places further down the grid in fifth. Oulton Park was the first opportunity to see where the Ferraris and Lamborghinis were after a winter of development and further equalisation testing. It seemed after qualifying that the planned equalisation perhaps hadn’t been quite enough, Bentwood remains confused by the whole process, commenting:
GT3 is supposed to be a formula where the cars are equalised as much as possible to ensure everyone can compete on a variety of circuits. However, it seems to me that this process often doesn’t account for the updates from the manufacturers that mean cars are continuously getting quicker. I don’t think equalising the cars at Monza, which is not used on the British GT calendar and is unlike any British circuit is useful. The Aston was given a performance break in the winter equalisation but the Italian cars are still quicker.
Both races were to prove challenging for the newly formed 22GT racing team, but the team were pleased to be only one of three teams to score points in both the weekend’s rounds. Bentwood’s team owner and co-driver of the Aston Martin was in good form for race one, and battled through the field from an uncharacteristically low grid position. Bentwood continued the charge, but was ultimately denied the opportunity to fight higher than eighth, by red flags cutting the race short.
Race two saw Bentwood sat in fifth on the grid and keen to add to the points gained in the Saturday race. The ex-BTCC driver was again frustrated as he was forced onto a treacherously slippery kerb on lap 1 and spun to dead last. With grim determination, the Cheshire-born racer fought his way to seventh place before handing over to Alexander. The Telecoms CEO then held station until he was usurped very late on and finished 8th. Despite the lower than expected finish, Bentwood was very pleased with the efforts of the new team, commenting:
The team that we have assembled did a great job and I was delighted with how they all worked. Tom has also upped his game this year and did a sterling job in both races. It will be interesting to see how the season pans out and whether any further tweaking of the equalisation formula might be necessary.
Bentwood will next be in action on the 12th of April for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship’s trip North of the border to Knockhill.
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