GJr: Series Silverstone qualifying report

INGRAM TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH SECOND WIN OF 2010 Hillspeed's Tom Ingram made a timely return to the top step of the Ginetta Junior Championship podium at Silverstone this afternoon, Saturday, 21st August, with a superb victory during the...

INGRAM TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH SECOND WIN OF 2010

Hillspeed's Tom Ingram made a timely return to the top step of the Ginetta Junior Championship podium at Silverstone this afternoon, Saturday, 21st August, with a superb victory during the 13th round of the season -- the result also giving him a six point lead in the driver standings.

Having celebrated his 17th birthday during Friday's official test day, Ingram continued the party feeling in the Hillspeed camp with a dominant performance in qualifying as he took pole position for both of the weekend's races by three quarters of a second.

The race was a much different prospect though as the top three drivers in the championship fought tooth and nail throughout the 11-lap duration, Ingram emerging victorious after a very robust and fiercely contested battle with both Louise Richardson and erstwhile series leader Jake Hill.

"This weekend everything has just clicked for me, thanks to all the boys at Hillspeed for giving me a fantastic car", said Ingram, "It's obviously fantastic to win, I had to work hard for it, and to move to the top of the standings is great. At this point of the year it's all about the championship, it's between me, Louise and Jake and it's all getting very close."

While Ingram annexed pole position extremely comfortably, behind him things were much tighter around the 1.64-mile National Circuit with Richardson sealing a front-row starting slot ahead of her TJ Motorsport team-mate Jody Fannin, who shared the second row with Team Parker Racing's Chris Swanwick. The third row comprised Tollbar's Hill and the ultra-impressive Maverick Domene.

As the race got underway, Ingram and Richardson leant on each other through Copse Corner with the latter moving ahead but on the exit of Becketts Ingram re-assumed the lead. On the run down Wellington Straight into Brooklands though, Richardson had the line for the corner and defended hard on the exit resulting in Ingram running wide into the gravel on the inside of Luffield.

With the delay to the cars behind allowing Richardson to open up a decent margin into lap two, Ingram's enforced excursion dropped him to third behind Swanwick with Hill in fourth, Domene steering his Tockwith G40 into fifth place and Fannin slipping to sixth.

The robust nature of the opening lap certainly seemed to set the tone for the race as, on the second tour, Ingram again found himself off the track on the run along the straight as Swanwick moved over on him in a bid to retain second place.

Boldly keeping his foot planted on the accelerator, Ingram managed to recover from the grass to run door-to-door with Swanwick through Brooklands and the pair continued their spectacular dice into Luffield with Ingram coming out on top and Hill nipping past Swanwick for third.

In the meantime, Fannin and David Moore -- fourth and fifth in the championship respectively as the Ginetta Juniors arrived at Silverstone -- tangled at Copse and both retired on the spot. Even though failing to score, Fannin holds on to fourth in the standings but Moore slips to sixth.

Into lap three, Richardson had the benefit of a 1.9 second cushion due to the constant battling behind but Ingram and Hill closed in at a rapid rate and as the race entered its fourth tour the lead was a mere 0.1 seconds.

At Copse on lap five, Richardson ran wide and this gave Ingram all the invitation he needed to move ahead while Hill followed suit to demote her to third. The place swapping most certainly hadn't finished though with Hill hitting the front just two corners later at Brooklands.

With the top three championship contenders covered by only 0.4 seconds going into lap six, the race looked poised for a grandstand finish but the decisive moment came at Copse on that very lap when Ingram moved back into the lead.

From that point on, he managed to edge away from his pursuers and eventually took the win by three seconds. The battle for second raged to the finish though with neither Hill nor Richardson wanting to miss-out on the runner-up spot.

With nothing between the pair over the course of the final five laps, Richardson looked to have produced the decisive move at Copse into the last tour -- lap 11 -- as she grabbed second but Hill hit back impressively around the outside at Becketts to edge ahead. Into Brooklands though, he ran too deep on the brakes and opened the door for Richardson to move through.

At the flag, just 0.2 seconds separated the rivals while a very impressive fourth place went the way of the deserving Domene -- by far the young racer's best finish in Ginetta Junior -- almost six seconds clear of Swanwick.

Alex Austin rounded out the top six for FML ahead of Eurotech Racing's Sarah Moore and Piranha Motorsport's Ryan Ratcliffe in a superb eighth, a career best effort from 17th on the grid! Jake Giddings took ninth in his FML car with Team Parker's Adam Bonham 10th.

Disappointment came for the category's youngest competitor, 14-year-old Seb Morris, on the last lap when a superb run from 13th on the grid into the top six was undone by an unfortunate spin. Mounting a tremendous drive in his Hillspeed-run G40, Morris underlined his outstanding pace with the fourth fastest lap of the race -- the quickest of all going to team-mate Ingram.

Round 14 of the 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship will get underway at 15.55 tomorrow, Sunday, 22nd August, and will be screened live in the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channelITV4. Ingram will aim to defend his championship lead from pole position but has Richardson alongside him on the front row, Fannin and Hill on row two and Swanwick and Domene on row three.

Provisional 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (after Rd13): 1st Tom Ingram, 331pts; 2nd Louise Richardson, 325pts; 3rd Jake Hill, 323pts; 4th Jody Fannin, 247pts; 5th Tom Howard, 229pts; 6th David Moore, 225pts

-source: ginettacars.com

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Series General
Drivers Chris Swanwick , Jody Fannin , Seb Morris , Tom Ingram , Tom Howard , Jake Giddings , Ryan Ratcliffe