So it was off to my favourite UK track for round seven of the British GT Championship, Brands Hatch GP. I had been there two weeks previous competing in the Britcar Endurance Series with Flick Haigh in her Ginetta G55, so all in all a good test ahead of the British GT weekend. The weekend could not have started any better. Myself and Rick showed good pace in both free practice sessions, but I went out and put the time in where it mattered. I scored my first ever pole position in British GT and was the only GT4 car to get in to the 1.33s.
With Dan Brown and Steve Tandy starting from Pole position in the GT3 class, it was a fantastic result for 888Optimum and Optimum Motorsport.
Rick had just returned from a spell in hospital, where he was taken extremely ill due to Crohns disease, I was extremely worried, firstly for Rick’s health and secondly would he be well enough to race at Brands. The main concentration for myself and the team was to ensure we worked with Rick to get the car set up and Rick on the pace. We were running on old rubber, however we worked throughout Saturday to get a good setup for qualifying and it worked out well in the end.
Rick drove a truly awesome first half. He was a class act and although still weak from his illness continued to pull away from the second?place car of James May and Alex Osborne. With this and a slick pit stop by the Optimum team, this placed me in a great position to push ahead and bring the car home safely. Although I had the Century car of Declan Jones reel me in following a visit to the pits, I knew they were a few laps down. As this was an endurance race I knew there was no point in risking anything, therefore best to let them through to ensure I could conserve my tyres and place as little stress on the car.
We followed our fantastic start of the weekend with a fantastic end, we won the race leading from lights to flag, thanks to this win Rick and I have now increased our lead to 27.5 points, it is a fantastic feeling to be leading the championship and we are looking to extend it even more!
Parfitt Jr: I was lucky to pull away a bit, but I was really struggling with my strength after only coming out of hospital earlier that week due to Crohns disease. Now I have to go away and build up my strength because I think I overestimated exactly what I could achieve. Ryan was superb today, the flying Welshman finished the race in a great way and we have to think about the points now. I think we’re in good stead now for Zandvoort, let’s see where we are at by Donington.
I cannot thank Rick and the Optimum Motorsport team enough for all their hard work throughout the season and I cannot wait for Zandvoort, I tested there at the start of the year and I loved it! I think it really suits my driving style and I think rick will get on really well there too!
Also a massive thanks to all my sponsors for all their support this season! Groundhog UK Ltd, GenQuip, ET Fashions, David Mason Watches and Trion:z
You can keep up to date on championship news by following me on Twitter @ryanratcliffe33