The KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship fulfilled its claims of being an unmissable addition to the British Touring Car Championship support package at Donington Park this weekend, and a pair of white knuckle races saw Senna Proctor extend his championship lead after a brace of podium finishes.
Jonathan Hadfield claimed his maiden pole position for the first of two KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship races at Donington Park, and a good start saw him hold onto the lead on the opening lap – despite multiple challenges from Proctor, who had a storming start to climb from fourth to second.
As usual with the teenage grid, there was action all the way through the field from the moment the lights went out, as a blistering start from Matthiesen enabled him to climb from 13thinto sixth over the two opening tours, quickly latching onto the back of the leading quintet.
With the order switching throughout the race, the top five saw Zelos, Monger, Brown, Proctor and Tregurtha each have a nibble at podium positions whilst Hadfield held firm out front. Brown and Proctor were the early favourites, but Brands Hatch race winner Monger kept them honest, with the trio trading places throughout the middle of the race.
Matthiesen was still on a charge however, shuffling Zelos and Tregurtha down the order during his climb to fourth place and in doing so leaving Tregurtha to battle with Floersch, Middleton and Hornby in the mid pack.
As the opener drew to a close, Hadfield claimed a strong win, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of Proctor, who was followed over the line by Monger. In the rookie class, an impressive drive by Matthiesen saw him take the class win, ahead of Tregurtha and Floersch.
Great drives from Ben Green - who started from the pit lane - and Seb Perez who had an early spin and dropped to next to last saw the pair recover to 15thand 16threspectively during their first outing of the weekend.
The second KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship encounter delivered once again on its thrilling reputation with tooth and nail racing throughout the field in the final round. Hadfield started on pole position, but a fraught opening lap with a plethora of position swapping saw Proctor lead from Hadfield and Monger as the drivers crossed the line for the first time.
A further eight laps of edge-of-your-seat action ensued, with the top three running nose to tail throughout much of the Donington Park circuit, before the foursome were joined by Dan Zelos and Lewis Brown at the halfway point.
Having made a storming start despite starting from 20th, Pirtek-backed driver Caroline had an incredible race to charge into the top ten over the first few laps, before he found himself challenging teammate Floersch and JHR driver Zelos for fourth overall, with BTCC driver Andrew Jordan’s protégé taking the position and narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
The final three laps were all about the frontrunners, who swapped places on the road right up until the flag. A bold move from Proctor gave him the lead over Hadfield as the race reached its climax, whilst Brown passed Monger at the Chicane on lap seven for third. Although Monger reclaimed the position shortly afterwards, the move was fruitless as he was handed a five second penalty for exceeding track limits, dropping him to 10thon corrected times.
The result sees Proctor leave the Northamptonshire circuit with a 32 point championship lead, and speaking after the final race, he said; “That was a mega tough race! Johnny [Hadfield] really made me work for the win, but it’s a really great way to end our second weekend of the season and take away a healthy points lead as we look towards Thruxton.”
If you are keen to see more of the close racing the KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship provides, the championship rolls into Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on May 9/10.