INGRAM MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AT OULTON High Wycombe's Tom Ingram held on to the Ginetta Junior Championship points lead at Oulton Park over the weekend, 5th/6th June, as his Hillspeed squad retained third position in the team's title ...
INGRAM MAINTAINS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AT OULTON
High Wycombe's Tom Ingram held on to the Ginetta Junior Championship points lead at Oulton Park over the weekend, 5th/6th June, as his Hillspeed squad retained third position in the team's title race.
Continuing to make a strong impact during its maiden season in the category, Hathersage-based Hillspeed didn't have the rub of the green in both races but a considered approach by Ingram in round eight -- after an unfortunate round seven error -- enabled the Conway House Dental Practice backed racer to leave Cheshire with a nine point cushion.
Team-mate Seb Morris, competing at his local race track for the first time in his young career, also had some misfortune but he managed to secure a fine 11th place finish during the second of the weekend's encounters to maintain 14th position in the driver standings.
As the youngest driver in Ginetta Junior this season at just 14-years-of-age, the Marford-based rookie continues to deliver performances far belying his minimal experience and dealt superbly with intense pressure from much more experienced rivals.
Qualifying third on the grid for round seven, Ingram ran in the top three early on and although slipping to fifth place on lap two, he moved back into the top four within a lap. On the sixth tour though at Old Hall Corner, an unfortunate spin lost the Hillspeed front-runner 10 places and he eventually finished in 12th position.
For Morris, a good run during the first half of round seven was compromised when his Liberty Properties Plc-liveried G40 was tagged from behind into the chicane. Recovering calmly, Morris finished in 15th place.
Round eight proved to be the better race for both team-mates, Ingram starting fourth and seizing third from chief title rival Jake Hill initially before slipping back to fourth again on lap two at the hairpin. Settling for the top four finish without taking unnecessary risks, the Buckinghamshire teenager held off the challenge of Tom Howard during the closing stages.
Morris lined up on the sixth row of the grid and although slipping a place to 13th prior to a short, one-lap Safety Car period, he benefitted from a tangle between Alex Austin and David Moore on lap four to gain position. Taking the chequered flag on lap nine in 11th place, just 0.2 seconds shy of Carl Stirling, Morris was tantalisingly close to the second top 10 result of his maiden car racing season.
Reflecting on the weekend, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: "We're disappointed the only mistake Tom has made all season has cost him a significant points haul this weekend. He was on for the podium in race one but subsequently finished 12th. It's going to be important for Tom to try and extend his championship lead again at Croft in a couple of weeks.
"Seb drove an exceptional race in round seven. There was one moment where he unfortunately lost a lot of places at the chicane but Oulton Park is one of those circuits which punishes you quite harshly sometimes. His performance in the second race was very strong -- he soaked up a lot of pressure from much more experienced drivers. To finish 11th is testament to his great progress."
Ollerenshaw added: "Tom was given the instruction for race two that he had to keep his mind on the championship. He would have liked to challenge the three ahead of him harder but it was important to take the fourth place and not risk anything."
There are just two weeks to wait until the next event on the Ginetta Junior Championship calendar with rounds nine and 10 taking place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on 19th/20th June.