DOMINANT DRIVE BY INGRAM EXTENDS SERIES LEAD AT SILVERSTONE Silverstone National Circuit continued to be a very happy hunting ground for Tom Ingram today, Sunday, 22nd August, as the 17-year-old Hillspeed driver eased to his third win of 2010 --...
DOMINANT DRIVE BY INGRAM EXTENDS SERIES LEAD AT SILVERSTONE
Silverstone National Circuit continued to be a very happy hunting ground for Tom Ingram today, Sunday, 22nd August, as the 17-year-old Hillspeed driver eased to his third win of 2010 -- a dominant victory in an otherwise action-packed, incident filled encounter.
While Ingram was able to drive his own race, untroubled at the front, the remainder of the action was fraught with a lot of robust contact and several drivers coming to grief -- most notably former championship leader Jake Hill who was forced to retire on lap four with a damaged G40.
Fellow title challenger Louise Richardson also had her own problems to contend with, two separate incidents requiring her to stage a recovery twice in order to retrieve perhaps her hardest fought podium of the season.
Speaking after the race, Ingram said: "It's been an absolutely fantastic weekend -- taking fastest lap, both pole positions and two race wins is incredible. There was so much going on behind and as soon as the fighting started I knew I had to try and get my head down, pull a gap and get away. It really has been a fantastic couple of races for us, to lead the championship too is fantastic."
At the beginning of round 14, Richardson got the jump at the start from second on the grid to lead through Copse but at Becketts she ran too deep after her car got unsettled under braking and so Ingram assumed the lead ahead of Hill. Richardson dropped to 15th by the time she recovered but quickly began to progress through the midfield.
On lap two, Ingram continued to lead the way from Hill but the Tollbar driver sensed an opportunity to try and pass into Brooklands on the outside line. Ingram kept things neat and tidy to maintain his lead while third placed Chris Swanwick took his chance to dive inside Hill for second -- the latter then slipping to sixth after going wide.
Just behind, the ever-improving Seb Morris was involved in contact with Tom Howard while the pair battled over eighth at Brooklands and they both went wide onto the run-off. Almost on a corner by corner basis, one position or another changed hands and with just a couple of laps completed the race looked set to ignite further.
Into lap three Ingram held a 0.6 second advantage over Swanwick with Jody Fannin third, Maverick Domene fourth, Alex Austin in fifth and Hill sixth. But as the tightly packed group headed through Brooklands, contact to the rear of Hill's car resulted in a collision with Domene as they diced for position and the pair went off.
While Domene was able to recover into an eventual finishing spot of 10th place, the damage to Hill's car was too severe. He limped back to the pits but had to retire, thus ending any chance he had of trying to extend his previously unbroken streak of 'Sunday' victories.
With the cars behind tripping over each other and tangling at almost every part of the 1.64-mile track, Ingram pressed on and on the fourth tour his lead had expanded to a huge 3.1 seconds. In the meantime, Richardson's progress continued as she moved into the top seven.
Continuing to build his lead without trouble, Ingram proved to be uncatchable but the fight over the remaining podium positions was as fierce as ever with Swanwick still second but Austin into third on lap six at Becketts past Fannin. Richardson also moved up into the top five at the expense of last year's champion Sarah Moore.
Fannin then went back to second but as Swanwick tried to regain the place there was contact which forced Fannin off and, behind, Moore also had a spin. Swanwick held second into lap seven but with Richardson now third he had his mirrors full.
At the end of the lap out of Luffield, Richardson went for the inside line through Woodcote but Swanwick squeezed her onto the grass. Not to be denied, Richardson pressed on impressively and at Becketts on the eighth tour she took second place. At the end of the Wellington Straight though, she ran wide and all of the hard work was undone again.
With Ingram in a race of his own, second place now belonged to Team Parker Racing's Adam Bonham -- on course for his first ever podium in Ginetta Junior -- but the fight over third raged once more with Richardson taking the place back on lap nine.
Contact between fourth and fifth place runners Austin and William Foster though, exiting Copse, required the deployment of the Safety Car but such was the collision officials choose to red flag the race with both stricken cars in a dangerous position.
Therefore, the result was taken from the end of lap nine and Ingram was credited with a 15 second winning margin ahead of Bonham and Richardson. Fourth place went the way of a very impressive Ryan Ratcliffe, by far his best ever finish, ahead of a similarly spectacular fifth place result for Finlay Ratcliffe. Swanwick took sixth but he was later excluded due to some robust driving.
Commenting on his first podium visit, Bonham said: "I just had to try and keep everything as clean as I could while everything was going on around me. It was a crazy race but it's great to take my first podium. At Snetterton I qualified second so I was hoping for more there but here it's all come good."
Next on the agenda for the Ginetta Junior Championship will be its annual trip north of the border to Knockhill Circuit in Fife over the weekend 4th/5th September.
Provisional 2010 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (after Rd14): 1st Tom Ingram, 368pts; 2nd Louise Richardson, 351pts; 3rd Jake Hill, 323pts; 4th Jody Fannin, 265pts; 5th Tom Howard, 243pts; 6th David Moore, 225pts