HILL WINS FINAL ROUND AHEAD OF NEW CHAMPION INGRAM Tollbar Racing's Jake Hill won the final round of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship at his home track, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, this afternoon, Sunday, 10th October, to seal the ...
HILL WINS FINAL ROUND AHEAD OF NEW CHAMPION INGRAM
Tollbar Racing's Jake Hill won the final round of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship at his home track, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, this afternoon, Sunday, 10th October, to seal the runner-up spot in the driver standings.
With his title bid having ended in retirement on Saturday after spinning off through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend while dicing for the lead with Louise Richardson, Hill hit back in perfect style during today's shortened 13 lap encounter to claim his 10th win of the season.
Newly crowned champion Tom Ingram shadowed Hill home in second place to take his 13th podium finish of 2010 but for Richardson the race was a bitter disappointment -- two costly spins, the second leading to retirement and red flags, ending her hopes of finishing the year as Vice-Champion.
"Saturday's race was disappointing but it had to be done as far as I was concerned", said Hill, "It was the last lap so I needed to go for it -- it didn't work out unfortunately but I put that behind me today and just went for the win. I didn't quite get the last re-start right, Tom (Ingram) was right there, but whether it was red flagged or not I had it sorted."
Richardson lined up on pole position for the final round with Hill alongside, Ingram and Jody Fannin on row two, the impressive Maverick Domene and 2009 Ginetta Junior Champion Sarah Moore fifth and sixth on the grid and Seb Morris and William Foster on the fourth row.
Making a good getaway in her TJ Motorsport Ginetta G40, single-seater aspirant Richardson started the last race of the season a mere two points adrift of Hill in the championship so if she could remain in the lead the points difference would be enough to see her crowned Vice-Champion.
Easier said than done though, especially in a category as competitive as Ginetta Junior, and through Paddock Hill Bend she lost the lead to Hill who -- undaunted after his excursion at the first corner in round 19 -- produced a superb pass around the outside. Richardson hit back into Druids Hairpin but the lead switched again on the run down to Graham Hill Bend with the Tollbar racer up to first place.
As the top two fought tooth and nail, Ingram settled in to third place ahead of Fannin, Sarah Moore and the impressive Alex Austin -- as on Saturday, the latter made a terrific start from ninth on the grid. The race then came under Safety Car conditions following a spin into retirement in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel for Finlay Ratcliffe.
Recovery of the car took a long time and the re-start wasn't possible until lap nine. When racing did get back underway it wasn't long until another driver ended up on the sidelines, this time Austin's FML run car at Clearways from sixth position. Foster was therefore promoted into the top six but David Moore got ahead of the Tockwith driver out of Paddock.
Lap 10 marked the start of the drama for Richardson when a spin exiting Druids dropped her down the order to eighth place and all hope of taking the runner-up spot in the championship looked to be long since gone. Hill therefore led from Ingram with Fannin third ahead of the two Moores.
Before much longer the Safety Car was deployed once more, this time due to Adam Bonham's car going off at McLaren. Jake Giddings was also involved in the incident but he managed to recover to the track -- albeit in last place.
After two laps under caution, racing resumed on the 13th tour with Ingram glued tight to the rear bumper on Hill's car. The Hillspeed driver wasn't able to find a way past but Sarah Moore did make up ground at the re-start by challenging and passing Fannin for third on the run up Hailwood Hill.
Into the final lap, a grandstand finish was on the cards between season-long title protagonists Hill and Ingram but another spin for Richardson -- this time at Clearways -- necessitated the race being red flagged with her car stranded in a dangerous position.
With the result counted back a lap Hill won by just 0.1 seconds from Ingram and Sarah Moore took the final podium spot, her third rostrum finish from the last four races, to cap off a very strong conclusion to an otherwise less-than-spectacular season for the Eurotech driver. David Moore was fourth, Fannin took fifth and privateer Max Coates rounded out the top six.
Tom Howard finished in seventh position ahead of Patrick McClughan, the category's youngest competitor, Domene and Brad Bailey. William Foster had an unfortunate spin at Graham Hill Bend on what turned out to be the last lap and so lost sixth place -- he recovered in 13th position.
Looking back on the final round, new champion Ingram said: "Without a doubt I think I was quicker than Jake (Hill) and it may have been a different story without the Safety Car periods. There was no point taking any risks today though, I was only out there to have fun after winning the championship yesterday. Ending the year with another podium is fantastic and shows how consistent we've been."
Ingram will now go on to enjoy a prize test drive with the Pirtek Racing team in its Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Vauxhall Vectra, the very same car which was piloted to victory by Andrew Jordan during the final round of the BTCC season at Brands Hatch this afternoon.
Final Provisional 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions: Champion: Tom Ingram, 556pts; 2nd Jake Hill, 491pts; 3rd Louise Richardson, 454pts; 4th Jody Fannin, 352pts; 5th Tom Howard, 340pts; 6th David Moore, 321pts