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Roberts top 10 on Junior debut as Wooder & Chapman rue misfortune

Roberts top 10 on Junior debut as Wooder & Chapman rue misfortune

In Ginetta Junior at Brands Hatch, qualifying was unbelievably close with Chapman the quickest of TCR’s trio. Despite being only 0.148 seconds shy of pole, he had to settle for eighth on the grid for race one with Wooder – who led the way in morning practice – 10th fastest, a mere 0.035 seconds slower, and Roberts, who had his best time disallowed for a track limits indiscretion, 16th.

Each of the team-mates endured a tough opening to round one, losing a handful of places, but by the end of lap two Chapman was back up into ninth. Nudged back a spot on the next tour, he was then edged down to 11th by team-mate Wooder who mounted a fightback from 14th on lap one.

As Wooder continued his resurgence by moving into ninth soon after, Chapman was edged back to 11th place but both lost ground before the conclusion on lap 10 with Wooder finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th and Chapman taking 13th place. Roberts, meanwhile, was elbowed down to 19th position at the beginning and although regaining a couple of places he ended the race in 18th spot.

Sunday’s second round proved frustrating for both Wooder and Chapman but the latter did a superb job of avoiding a major accident with his fellow TCR racer. After a multi-car tangle at the first corner, the original race was red flagged which undid a great start for Chapman.

With Wooder lining back up in 11th position and Chapman 13th for the re-start, neither got the best of getaways at the second time of asking with Wooder slipping down to 16th and Chapman almost stalling before ending lap one in 18th position.

Wooder, in particular, made a strong recovery and by the start of the fourth tour he was up into 11th place and racing very well indeed. Into ninth on lap five, the car racing newcomer belied his lack of experience but the next time around, at Paddock Hill Bend, a spin – after his bonnet became slightly dislodged – pitched him into the gravel and out of the race.

Chapman, who arrived on the scene in 12th place, just managed to avoid his team-mate and with very quick reactions he managed to steer around the stricken Ginetta. Although badly delayed, he did recover to finish in 19th position.

Roberts, meanwhile, enjoyed a much less fraught race and put together an impressive performance on his way to a fantastic ninth place finish to mark a hugely successful start to his maiden season in car racing.

After the aborted first start, the Ginetta Junior Scholarship runner-up made a clean launch from 18th place and by lap six he had climbed through into the top 15. Running comfortably and showing a good turn of speed, Roberts moved into 11th following the incident involving Wooder – which led to the deployment of the Safety Car – and then gained two more places before the finish on lap 11.

“All three drivers we’ve got in Ginetta Junior this year have got good pace, qualifying didn’t work in our favour and that affected the races, but we know there’s a lot more to come”, said Brookes, “In the end we didn’t get the results Dave and Matt deserved, but Cameron’s ninth place in the second race was a positive way to leave Brands Hatch. We’re confident of much more at Donington.”

Rounds three and four of the Ginetta Junior Championship season will take place at Leicestershire’s Donington Park National Circuit on 18th/19th April. The Ginetta GT5 Challenge, meanwhile, will resume at Rockingham in Northamptonshire over the weekend 2nd/3rd May.