TITLE DRAMA BUILDS AS RICHARDSON & SWANWICK TAKE MAIDEN WINS Sensational race action from the ever-popular Ginetta Junior Championship delivered two brand new winners at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Sunday, 8th August, with Louise Richardson and...
TITLE DRAMA BUILDS AS RICHARDSON & SWANWICK TAKE MAIDEN WINS
Sensational race action from the ever-popular Ginetta Junior Championship delivered two brand new winners at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Sunday, 8th August, with Louise Richardson and Chris Swanwick each taking their maiden victories.
The latest two Ginetta Junior encounters, rounds 11 and 12, had absolutely everything -- fast paced action, unpredictability, great racing and a little bit of controversy too. What's more, the title picture is as wide open as ever with Richardson now leading the way by a mere two points from Tom Ingram with Jake Hill just a single point further adrift in third place.
Richardson's win in the first of the day's races, for which she had to fight incredibly hard, capped off a superb weekend for the TJ Motorsport runner and she also finished on the podium in the second encounter to really stamp her mark on the championship battle. Swanwick's victory, meanwhile, meant the winner's circle in Ginetta Junior this year has expanded to six drivers.
At the start of round 11, Richardson made a perfect getaway to lead career-best qualifier Adam Bonham who managed to keep Swanwick and Hill behind. Hill had great drive out of the second corner though which put him in an ideal position to pass Bonham for second into the Esses.
Bonham wasn't done though and re-passed Hill brilliantly into the chicane but heading into Riches on lap two, a misjudged dive up the inside by the Tollbar driver resulted in the rear of his car stepping out and contact with Bonham was inevitable. While the latter was unfortunately pitched into retirement, Hill managed to continue but could only recover to 12th place.
With Richardson benefitting from a clear track ahead she pressed on and following the Bonham/Hill incident Swanwick moved into second ahead of Fannin, 2009 Ginetta Junior Champion Sarah Moore, Alex Austin, David Moore, Maverick Domene and an inspired Seb Morris in eighth.
By the end of lap three Swanwick had closed right up with Richardson and after an aborted move at the chicane on the fourth tour, Swanwick mounted a fresh challenge on lap five around the outside into the Esses. As the Team Parker Racing driver turned in, he made contact with Richardson leading to a synchronised spin.
Fannin moved through to the lead with Sarah Moore second and Austin third while the increasingly impressive Morris edged into the top six and his Hillspeed team-mate Tom Ingram appeared in eighth after mounting a stirring comeback from lap one gear troubles. Stuck in third gear on the opening tour, he dropped to plum last but within just five laps he became a podium threat.
Richardson managed to recover from her enforced spin in fourth -- Swanwick getting the worst of it down in 11th place -- but she ate into Fannin's lead and after moving ahead of Austin and Sarah Moore in one tremendous move into the Esses on lap seven, Richardson set her sights on the win.
Closing to within 0.3 seconds of Fannin into the final tour, lap nine, Richardson challenged into the Esses but Fannin held the inside line well. Switching back, Richardson moved to the inside for the Bomb Hole and retook the lead just three corners from the finish. Crossing the line just 0.1 seconds ahead of Fannin, Richardson sealed her first category win in incredible style.
Ingram took third place on the last lap to cap off a truly outstanding drive from the tail of the field. In doing so, he posted the fastest lap and went to the top of the points standings for a few hours at least. Austin was fourth ahead of Sarah Moore while Morris took his best finish in cars in sixth.
Speaking after round 11, Richardson commented: "I was really angry after the incident with Chris (Swanwick), I didn't see it coming at all -- he just turned in on me when we were side-by-side. When I got back into second I knew I could win, I just had to catch Jody (Fannin) which I did -- I'm so happy!"
In round 12 it was Swanwick's turn to climb the top step of the podium but the race wasn't without controversy, much like the opener. Leading well from pole position he headed Bonham, Hill and Richardson but further behind Morris endured a bitterly disappointing end to his weekend when he was an innocent party in a multi-car tangle at the Esses.
Sarah Moore was tipped into a spin and the resulting contact from two or three other G40s led to a seriously damaged front-end for Morris. Requiring the deployment of the Safety Car, the race got back underway on lap six with Swanwick leading Bonham, Hill, Richardson, Ingram and Austin.
Through Coram, Bonham went wide onto the grass on the approach to the chicane but as he cut the corner he emerged back ahead of Hill. On the run to Riches at the start of lap seven though, Bonham dropped back to third but had a spin at the chicane at the end of the lap -- he ended up 15th.
Swanwick held his lead into the last lap, defending hard from Hill while the fight for third was equally tight between Richardson and Ingram. Heading for the Esses, Hill pulled alongside Swanwick to take the lead but the latter wasn't finished and he attempted a last corner pass at the chicane.
Contact between the pair resulted in Swanwick shooting across the grass rather than through the chicane though and he emerged on Senna Straight with the lead to win by 2.3 seconds. Hill ended up a disappointed second with Richardson and Ingram running wheel-to-wheel across the line in a photo finish -- Louise taking it by just 0.001 seconds. Austin finished fifth with Fannin sixth.
Speaking after the race, Swanwick said: "I had a really good start, built a good lead and then the Safety Car came out so I had to do it all over again. Jake (Hill) passed me at the Esses on the last lap but I got a good run through Coram and pulled out to go past him. He blocked and then there was contact and I ended up going over the grass. It's a shame it ended that way but I'm really happy."
Next on the Ginetta Junior Championship calendar is a visit to Northamptonshire's Silverstone National Circuit two weeks from now, 21st/22nd August, for rounds 13 and 14 of the 2010 season.
Provisional 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (after Rd12): 1st Louise Richardson, 295pts; 2nd Tom Ingram, 293pts; 3rd Jake Hill, 292pts; 4th Jody Fannin, 247pts; 5th David Moore, 225pts; 6th Tom Howard, 223pts