Max Bird started his assault on the 2017 Ginetta GT5 Challenge series at Oulton Park in Cheshire in fine style.
Having joined Century Motorsport earlier in the year the youngster from Chidham was joined in the team by Finland’s Sami Saarelainen, making his car-racing debut.
Having spent Thursday and Friday testing, it was a long wait until Monday to get back on circuit with the spread-out Easter weekend programme at Oulton Park. However instantly marking himself out as one to watch, Bird lit up the timing screens in a wet Monday morning qualifying. By the end of the session, he had placed his Ginetta G40 in second, less than a second behind his nearest rival.
It wasn’t long before the drivers were back on track for the first race around the Oulton Park circuit. Starting from the front row, Bird didn’t make the best getaway and found himself outside the top three during the early part of the lap. However it didn’t take him long to put that right and he had already got himself back up to second as they crossed the start/finish line for the first time.
Eager to catch race leader Ryan Hadfield before he broke away, Bird was immense in very wet conditions. By the end of the second lap, he had caught and passed Hadfield to move into an early race lead.
Bird remained in control for the entire race, and to the joy of his Century Motorsport team, Bird had taken the first Ginetta GT5 Challenge win of the year with a margin of almost five seconds over his nearest rival.
He started race two from pole position and was hoping to repeat his victory. Struggling to get away from pole, Bird slipped down the order, but by the time he completed the opening lap he had got himself back up to third.
Bird was up to second by lap two and started into what would be a race long battle for the lead with Shane Stoney. Swapping places on a number of occasions, eventually it all came down to the last corner, with Lewis Brown now also in the mix.
Getting pushed to the outside of the circuit exiting the corner, it became a drag race to the line with Bird eventually securing third and another podium finish which puts him second overall in the championship standings, a single point off top spot.
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