Ginetta Jr: Series Croft race 1 report

WIN NUMBER FIVE FOR IMPRESSIVE HILL AT CROFT Jake Hill moved back to the top of the Ginetta Junior Championship standings at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this afternoon, Saturday, 19th June, after taking an ultimately comfortable victory ...

WIN NUMBER FIVE FOR IMPRESSIVE HILL AT CROFT

Jake Hill moved back to the top of the Ginetta Junior Championship standings at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this afternoon, Saturday, 19th June, after taking an ultimately comfortable victory during the ninth round of the season.

Having won at every circuit visited so far during 2010, the Kent teenager kept up the momentum with his fifth victory of the campaign and in doing so eked out a two point advantage over erstwhile points leader Tom Ingram, the latter taking his fourth podium of the season with third position.

In between the top two title contenders, Louise Richardson raced to a fine second place finish -- her fifth podium of the year -- after grabbing the spot from Ingram thanks to a great move at Barcroft halfway through the encounter.

Notably for round nine winner Hill, today's success marks his first Saturday afternoon victory of the campaign -- all of his other wins have come during the televised races on Sundays so he's in a great position to fight for his first 'double' of 2010 during round 10 tomorrow.

"It feels mega to finally win the Saturday race -- and what a great way to do it as well", said the elated Tollbar driver, "It was a fantastic race, I didn't just push away from everyone else I did have to fight for it and that's the way I wanted it. I hope it all goes well tomorrow, it'd be absolutely mega to take the double!"

In qualifying, Hill sealed pole position by 0.164 seconds ahead of Ingram who wasn't quite able to string together his quickest sector times. The session did end marginally early though following a fairly substantial excursion off the circuit by Tom Howard. Thankfully, his TJ Motorsport team got his G40 repaired in time for the race.

At the start of round nine, Hill and Ingram got a fairly even launch from the front row of the grid while, behind, Richardson and Alex Austin seemed to make even better starts but neither could find a way through. Hill held the advantage through Clervaux for the first time ahead of Ingram with Richardson third, Austin fourth, Jody Fannin in fifth place and Howard just behind in sixth.

Initially unable to break clear of his pursuers, Hill headed a five car train but managed to pull out a 1.2 second lead on lap two before that was eroded at the beginning of the third tour due to yellow flags being waved at Clervaux -- the result of a spin into the gravel for Ryan Ratcliffe a lap earlier.

With Ingram, Richardson and Austin zeroing in on the rear of Hill's car through Tower Bend and into the Jim Clark Esses, the race leader coped with the pressure extremely well and then benefitted when Ingram and Richardson slowed each other up as they battled over second.

On lap four, Richardson got a better exit from Tower Bend than Ingram and she then passed the Hillspeed car at Barcroft to take second after setting the move up well at the Esses. With Ingram pushed off line, Richardson's pass also gave Austin the opportunity to move alongside Ingram and he too went through to take third and demote Ingram out of the podium placings.

From this point on, Hill increased his lead lap after lap to an eventual winning margin of over five seconds. In addition, he also took the point for the fastest race lap -- to add to the point for pole position -- with a time of 1m40.180 seconds. As it turned out, the two bonus scores have proven to be crucial in giving Hill his slender championship advantage.

The fight for the remaining podium positions intensified, Ingram having a look to take third from Austin at Tower on lap five and then making the move stick through Barcroft. Immediately closing on second placed Richardson, Ingram redoubled his efforts to try and get back ahead of the TJ racer while Austin, in fourth, came under increasing pressure from Fannin.

Defending for all her worth, Richardson managed to keep the visibly quicker Ingram at bay to take second at the finish while the latter almost lost out to Austin who tried to pull off a real opportunist move into the hairpin on the last lap. Running side-by-side out of the final corner, Ingram just had enough in hand to take the flag a mere 0.032 seconds ahead with Fannin not far adrift in fifth.

Sixth place went the way of a battling Howard who somehow managed to keep a train of cars behind him for the duration of the eight-lapper. Reigning champion Sarah Moore was seventh, Adam Bonham finished in eighth, Chris Swanwick took ninth and David Moore rounded out the top 10.

Seb Morris, the championship's youngest competitor, qualified very well indeed in 10th place but the opening lap created difficulties for the Hillspeed racer when a spin out of the first corner dropped him to the tail of the field but he fought back strongly to finish in 12th place -- just 0.7 seconds behind privateer driver Max Coates.

Round 10 of the Ginetta Junior Championship will take place at 16.00 tomorrow, Sunday, 20th June, and will be screened live throughout the UK on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4. Hill once again starts on pole position ahead of Ingram, Richardson, Fannin, Sarah Moore and Austin.

-source: ginettacars.com

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Series General
Drivers Jim Clark , Jody Fannin , Seb Morris , Tom Howard