Cameron Roberts and Matt Chapman each claimed season-best results for Total Control Racing during the third event of the Ginetta Junior Championship season at Thruxton over the weekend, 9th/10th May.
Fresh from a double victory in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Rockingham a week earlier, Wednesbury based TCR hoped to finally get its Ginetta Junior season firing on all cylinders but two robust races again resulted in mixed fortunes for the team’s very rapid young trio.
Wooder produced a stunning performance in qualifying on Saturday afternoon and was unfortunate not to seal pole position – lapping within just 0.036 seconds of the outright pace and instead having to settle for third on the grid. Roberts and Chapman made it all three TCR cars in the top 10, taking the fifth and ninth fastest times respectively.
Unfortunately for Wooder, he wasn’t able to get the launch he wanted at the start of race one on Sunday and slipped back to fourth on the run into Allard before being elbowed down to fifth at the complex and, ultimately, sixth at the chicane.
Roberts and Chapman, meanwhile, also ran in the top 10 off the start and into lap two they held ninth and 10th positions respectively. Following a tangle at the hairpin at the end of lap three, the Safety Car was deployed with Wooder holding fifth position, Roberts ninth and Chapman 11th.
At the re-start on lap seven, Wooder’s hopes of a podium bid went awry when contact with Patrik Matthiesen at the complex, while dicing over fourth place, resulted in a costly spin and he eventually finished the race in 16th place.
Roberts, therefore, moved up into seventh with Chapman just two places further back and on the seventh tour the latter confirmed his pace with the fastest lap of the entire weekend. More bad luck befell TCR, though, on lap eight when a moment for Roberts dropped him to 18th place at the flag.
Chapman was able to profit from the dramas to climb into the top eight but at the chicane on the final tour he was fortunate to emerge unscathed when a two-car tangle ahead resulted in one of the cars making contact with his G40. Luckily, he was able to thread his way through to finish seventh.
Round six on Sunday afternoon was interrupted by two Safety Car periods. Roberts made sensational progress, scything his way through the lap one chaos to move from 18th at the start into ninth before the first Safety Car. Climbing into the top eight after the second of the two re-starts, the Ginetta Junior Scholarship runner-up bested Chapman and Senna Proctor to finish in a career-best seventh place and just miss out on the top six by a mere 0.037 seconds.
Chapman, meanwhile, almost matched his race one result with another competitive drive to eighth place but it was far from a straightforward race. Put wide at the complex on lap one, he fought back from 12th position into the battle just outside the top six and was just over a second behind Roberts at the chequered flag.
“It’s been another tough weekend in the Juniors, a lot of contact unfortunately, but all three lads showed their pace and really deserved a lot more”, said TCR team principal Lee Brookes, “Dave could easily have been on the podium and Cameron and Matt showed they had the pace to run at the front too – especially Matt with the fastest lap of the weekend in race one. We’re disappointed the results haven’t been better, we know we’ve got the pace to be on the podium, but the performances have still been strong and that’s the main thing.”
Next on the Ginetta Junior Championship schedule is the annual visit to Oulton Park in Cheshire over the weekend 6th/7th June. One week earlier, on 30th/31st May, TCR’s Ginetta GT5 Challenge squad will be back in action at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit for the third event of its 2015 season.
Provisional Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
12th Matt Chapman, 57pts; 15th Cameron Roberts, 43pts; 20th Dave Wooder, 23pts
Provisional Ginetta Junior Championship Team Standings (after Rd6):
4th Total Control Racing, 109pts