PERFECT WEEKEND AT SILVERSTONE FOR NEW SERIES LEADER INGRAM Hathersage-based Ginetta Junior Championship team Hillspeed celebrated its second and third race wins of the 2010 season at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 21st/22nd ...
PERFECT WEEKEND AT SILVERSTONE FOR NEW SERIES LEADER INGRAM
Hathersage-based Ginetta Junior Championship team Hillspeed celebrated its second and third race wins of the 2010 season at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 21st/22nd August, thanks to an outstanding performance by new points leader Tom Ingram.
The High Wycombe driver, who celebrated his 17th birthday during the build-up to the event, arrived in Northamptonshire third in the championship standings with only three points separating him from the series lead. After a remarkable weekend though, with two pole position starts, a brace of fastest race laps and two superb victories, Ingram is the man to beat having opened up a 17-point advantage.
For rookie team-mate Seb Morris, the weekend's racing provided an opportunity to again confirm his burgeoning pace and racecraft in the fast-paced Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship supporting series. Although unfortunate incidents in each encounter prevented him from securing two strong top 10 finishes, the Marford 14-year-old nonetheless impressed his peers yet again.
Reflecting on his hugely successful weekend, Ingram said: "It's been absolutely fantastic -- to take pole position for both races, set the fastest lap each time and bag two wins is incredible. To leave with the championship lead too is fantastic. Big thanks to the guys at Hillspeed for giving me a great car again this weekend, they've done a tremendous job and deserve this success."
Qualifying on Saturday went extremely well for Ingram with the teenager utterly dominant during the 15-minute session. Posting a fastest lap of 1m11.824 seconds to take the round 13 pole position by a full three quarters of a second, he went on to claim pole for round 14 as well with his second best time of 1m11.931 seconds -- some eight 10ths of a second better than his closest rival.
Morris, meanwhile, headed row eight for Saturday's encounter while for Sunday's televised race, he started an improved 12th on the grid. In race conditions though, the first year competitor went on to deliver performances worthy of a top six finish.
At the beginning of round 13 on Saturday afternoon, Ingram and title rival Louise Richardson battled hard for the lead through Copse for the first time but at Becketts the Hillspeed racer made sure of first place on the inside. Richardson had the optimum line into the complex though and Ingram was then forced across the grass on the inside at Luffield to drop him to third place.
On the second lap, things got even tighter for Ingram when Chris Swanwick unceremoniously pushed him onto the grass along the flat-out Wellington Straight. Boldly keeping his foot firmly on the accelerator Ingram rejoined the track before being forced wide again, this time at Luffield, but he was unfazed by the questionable driving and managed to recover in second ahead of Swanwick.
Rapidly closing on leader Richardson over the next couple of laps, and taking title rival Jake Hill with him, Conway House Dental Practice-backed driver Ingram hit the front at Copse on lap five when Richardson ran wide under pressure at the first turn but then Hill took the lead at Brooklands.
At Copse on lap six though, Ingram moved back to the front once more and from that point on he gradually managed to edge away to a three second winning margin. He also posted the fastest lap, and new lap record, of 1m12.137 seconds (81.79mph).
Morris steered his Liberty Properties-backed Ginetta G40 through the order superbly well and by lap seven he was into the top six and looking well on course to equal the best result of his rookie season so far. Unfortunately, disappointment followed on the final tour when a spin under braking pitched the Hillspeed racer around and he came home in 13th position -- a great shame after a superb drive.
Round 14 -- which was screened live across the UK on ITV4 -- featured some of the most robust and fierce action encountered all year in the Ginetta Junior Championship. Luckily, Ingram managed to make a break after getting the lead at Becketts on lap one and after seeing off his opposition he left them trailing in his wake as he scorched to a memorable 15 second victory in truly dominant style.
Morris, looking to make amends for his race one disappointment, climbed through from 12th at the start to the edge of the top eight by lap two but he was bundled off the track at Brooklands by Tom Howard as they diced for position, dropping the youngster to 16th. Unfortunately, Morris was then forced to retire in the pits on the sixth tour with damage.
Looking back on the Silverstone weekend, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: "Obviously, we're absolutely delighted for Tom and the team as a whole to have taken two wins and to have done so very convincingly. Tom was in superb form all weekend, he's proven once more he's the most consistent driver in the championship and he deserves to be leading the points standings.
"Seb is doing a fantastic job, he's improving and learning so much every time he's on track and with a quick, experienced team-mate like Tom alongside him, he's able to see precisely what he needs to do to get closer to the front. Without some misfortune in the races, he would easily have finished in the top six. Seb may not have taken the results he deserved but he performed superbly."
Knockhill Circuit in Scotland is the next venue on the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship calendar just a fortnight from now, 4th/5th September -- the event will provide the first ever experience of the very challenging 1.27 mile track for both Ingram and Morris.