MORRIS MAKES HISTORY AS INGRAM HOLDS ON TO TITLE LEAD Ginetta Junior Championship squad Hillspeed enjoyed a typically strong weekend at its home track, Donington Park, over the weekend, 18th/19th September -- points leader Tom Ingram continues...
MORRIS MAKES HISTORY AS INGRAM HOLDS ON TO TITLE LEAD
Ginetta Junior Championship squad Hillspeed enjoyed a typically strong weekend at its home track, Donington Park, over the weekend, 18th/19th September -- points leader Tom Ingram continues to head the driver standings with a healthy margin while team-mate Seb Morris entered the record books as the youngest podium finisher in the history of the category.
"Although we're disappointed not to have won either of the races, it's still been a fantastic weekend for us with Tom holding a 42 point championship lead into the season finale next month and Seb doing an incredible job to take his first podium", said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.
"We're fairly certain he's not only the youngest ever podium finisher in Ginetta Junior but also the youngest to climb the podium in any of the categories on the British Touring Car Championship support package. It's a fantastic achievement and we're all absolutely delighted for him."
Hillspeed started the weekend perfectly on Saturday with an outstanding performance in qualifying, Ingram and Morris spectacularly locking out the front row of the grid for both races to mark a first for the Hathersage-based outfit in its maiden season in Ginetta Junior.
Ingram claimed pole for rounds 17 and 18 by 0.4 seconds and 0.1 seconds respectively ahead of rookie 14-year-old team-mate Morris, the latter impressing with a landmark performance to secure a spot on the front-row of the grid for the first time and then doubling up for race two.
At the start of the first of the weekend's races Ingram got away well from pole with Morris tucking in behind in second on the run through Redgate for the first time. Ingram's chief title rival Jake Hill made a strong getaway from fifth on the grid to move into third and he then grabbed second from Morris into McLeans.
The Safety Car awaited the competitors at the beginning of lap two, due to a multi-car incident in the mid-pack at the first corner on the opening lap, which eroded Ingram's substantial 1.1 second advantage. At the re-start on lap four, Ingram repelled Hill's attack but through Schwantz Curve the latter managed to get ahead.
Ingram wouldn't let Hill break clear and went with him as Morris redoubled his efforts and started to close on the top two once more. But on lap six, Ingram looked to be heading for retirement when his G40 suddenly slowed dramatically. Although slipping to ninth place, the High Wycombe 17-year-old managed to get the car going again after shutting off the engine and he set about a fierce recovery.
Morris, of course, assumed second place but he then hit his own problems on lap eight when a slight moment under braking for the Old Hairpin sent him off the circuit into the gravel on the outside. He managed to keep going though and recovered to the track to eventually finish in 10th place.
Ingram, meanwhile, charged back through the order and managed to battle his way back into the top four to finish just 0.3 seconds shy of the podium -- an important result for the championship with Hill taking the win. It later transpired post-race the car problems were due to an electrical issue related to the fuel pump.
Double podium for Hillspeed Round 18 was the highlight for Hillspeed in terms of podium success with Ingram racing to a highly competitive second place -- just missing out on the win by only three 10ths of a second -- while Morris joined him on the podium for the first time with a supreme effort to take third place.
Ingram led away well from pole position and Morris went with him but on lap two the latter slipped to third behind Hill who went through at Redgate. Hill then grabbed the lead at the same corner on lap four but Ingram was having none of it and ran tight to his rival's tail.
Looking for a way back past, the championship leader than went wide slightly at Redgate on lap six and dropped to fourth although he took third back from Adam Bonham at Coppice and then passed Morris for second at McLeans on lap eight.
The race came under Safety Car conditions at the end for a single lap but at the re-start the order remained unchanged with Ingram finishing in second place and Marford-based Morris earning his first career car racing podium with a sensational effort in third.
Ollerenshaw added: "It's such a shame Tom had the electrical problem in the first race, that cost us dear but he did a great job to keep his composure and fight back to fourth to salvage as many points as possible. In the second race Tom did everything he needed to, he stayed out of trouble, and now he heads to Brands Hatch for the last two races with a good lead in the points.
"Seb has been exceptional all weekend, his progress has been incredible this year and we knew he had it in him to spring a surprise and actually take a podium. It's great to have two drivers up there and although Seb lost the chance at two podiums with his small mistake at the Old Hairpin in the first race, he learned from that and bounced back fantastically well."
The all-important final two rounds of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship will take place three weeks from now, 9th/10th October, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.