Ginetta GT5 Challenge: Three fourth-placed finishes for Geri Nicosia during round five in Holland – Bucks Free Press

BUCKS-based Geri Nicosia was determined to get his championship challenge back on track even though the odds were now against him after the disappointment at Donnington Park last time out.

A trip to Zandvoort in Holland for round five provided the break the Quattro Motorsport team needed – excitement ramped up due to the announcement that the circuit will hold a Formula One Grand Prix in 2020.

Nicosia

, from Princes Risborough, was on the lead pace during testing on Friday but there was a shock in store during Saturday morning qualifying. He went faster than in testing but the three championship leaders were much faster than could be expected.

One final chance to get a fast lap in was ruined as the session was ended prematurely with a red flag just as

Nicosia

looked like he might improve into fourth. The 20-year-old ended the session 1.7 seconds adrift of pole position and back in seventh place.

The magnitude of this was further realised when looking at the actual grid on the circuit, as the highlight for the weekend, the first race was proceeded by a public grid walk.

The circuit chose to use the standard F1 1×1 grid formation rather than the staggered 2×2 formation the series normally uses. The net effect was that seventh on the grid was further from the start line and, with such a big gap between cars, it would be difficult to overtake regardless how good the start.

Nicosia, who attended the Sir William Borlase Grammar School in Marlow, got off to one of his usual good starts and managed to pass the sixth place car on the run down to the Tarzan hairpin first corner. He then got around the outside of the fifth-placed car to gain another spot.

The front eight cars were running in close formation despite the front three having posted qualifying times that suggested they would disappear up the road.

Nicosia moved up to fourth three laps in but was unable to make any further inroads with overtaking proving difficult on such a narrow circuit.

He did however post the fastest lap of the race, just one tenth of a second shy of his qualifying best.

The 20-year-old started race two in fifth position but another good start saw him move up to fourth around the outside of Tarzan. He then embroiled in a four-way battle for honours throughout the race.

Nicosia was twice able to get alongside the third-place car but, yellow flags warning of a breakdown truck on track and hence no overtaking, meant the attempt to pass had to be aborted both times.

He finished the race in fourth place and once again set the fastest lap.

The final race of the weekend saw Nicosia start in fourth place, this time on the inside of the circuit. Despite his usual good start, the third-placed car was able to move across and cover any pass down the inside, forcing the Bucks man to attempt yet another first lap overtake around the hairpin.

This time it did not work. Nicosia was forced to let the other car through or risk being edged off the circuit and another tortuous race followed.

Nicosia desperately tried to pass the cars in front but, with the four drivers having broken clear of the pack, the front three appeared in triangle formation as they jostled for position leaving nowhere to pass a single car.

The race ended with Nicosia once again in fourth place and just 0.7 seconds from a race win.

Three fourth-placed finishes, combined with the front three challengers occupying the podium positions in all three races, means that Nicosia now sits 113 points from the lead having led the championship for the first half of the season. It is now unlikely that he can triumph barring some unreliability with the two main leaders in the final rounds.

The meeting ended on a high point as Nicosia was awarded the Fastest Ginetta GT5 Driver of the Weekend trophy for his lap in race two.

He said: “It was always going to be a tall order, recovering from our disqualification last time out, but we gave it our best.

“The weekend was lost in qualifying where the main challengers showed pace they could not replicate to gain track position on a circuit where overtaking is difficult.”

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