Richardson Racing showed solid pace on what proved to be a truncated weekend of racing as the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship headed for Oulton Park for the fourth round of the 2021 season.
The Corby based team headed to the Cheshire circuit hoping to add to an impressive haul of rookie class silverware this season, with first year drivers Robert de Haan, Oliver Flashman and Edward Pearson all having made strong progress in the opening three rounds of their first season of car racing.
Qualifying would be an ultra-competitive affair that saw the top 14 drivers on the grid covered by a single second - with Robert posting the 14th fastest time. Edward and Oliver would both pick up their best qualifying results of the season to date, with Edward lining up in 16th place for the opening race, and Oliver taking the start from 20th.
All three drivers would keep out of trouble when the lights went out at that start but an incident at turn one on lap two saw a car go off into the barriers and the race red-flagged.
Robert would take the restart from twelfth place, with Edward 16th and Oliver 22nd having lost places at the first start.
Despite dislodging his bonnet after contact with a spinning car at Knickerbook on lap one, Robert managed to climb up into eighth place and he would remain in the top ten despite damage to the front of his car until the fourth and final lap when he was forced off track at Cascades and into retirement.
An astonishing opening lap for Oliver saw him rocket up into 15th spot, with Edward recovering from losing places at the start to sit 18th going into the final lap.
Oliver took full advantage of the squabble that saw Robert forced off track to climb to eleventh mid-way through the final lap, with Edward 14th as the pair ran as part of a huge gaggle of cars battling for position.
Oliver would lose out in the final sector as he was shuffled back to 15th on the run to the line, with Edward amongst those to sneak through as he took 14th; the pair split by just a tenth of a second.
Unfortunately, delays to the schedule as a result of multiple incidents across race day prevented race two from taking place, with that race now being rescheduled for the next meeting at Knockhill in two weeks time.
Oliver Flashman (Benfleet, Essex) - #17 Ginetta G40:
"At one point I'd made up eleven places and even though I lost a few right at the end, a 15th place is still my best result so far. To make up so many places at a circuit like Oulton Park is great and I'm improving every weekend and getting closer to where I want to be.
"I'm taking a lot of confidence from this weekend even though we only got to race once and hopefully I can build on this performance at Knockhill. We have a few tests ahead of the weekend to learn the track, and I'd like to try and qualify better so I can push towards the top ten."
Edward Pearson (Guildford, Surrey) - #41 Ginetta G40:
“I got a really good start when the race got underway and managed to hold my place through until the red flag, but it didn't go to plan on the restart as I got hit at turn one, which dropped me right back. "I just had to get my head down and push when there wasn't many laps of racing left, and to come back through to 14th place is a very good way to end the weekend."
Robert De Haan (Eerbeek, Netherlands) - #46 Ginetta G40:
"Qualifying was really close but the race was going well and I had got up into the top eight at one point. Sadly, I got taken out by someone behind me on the final lap and the trip across the grass destroyed my car and it put me out.
"It's a real shame that we didn't get to do race two because Oulton Park is such a nice track to drive but it means we get another race at Knockhill, which is something to look forward to."