Five weeks since the first half of the Ginetta Junior Championship reached its conclusion, Oxford’s Matt Chapman says he is refreshed and raring to go when the 2015 season resumes at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk this coming weekend, 8th/9th August.
Having enjoyed a summer break which included work experience with the Williams Martini Racing Formula One Team, the Total Control Racing driver is determined to put the misfortune which has blighted the first five race meetings of the year firmly behind him and start afresh.
Undoubtedly one of the quickest drivers in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category, 15-year-old Matt’s second season in Ginetta Junior can certainly be summed up as ‘character building’ but his desire to claim his first podium is undiminished.
“We’re going into the second half of the season properly aiming for a fresh start, we had so much bad luck during the first part of the championship but hopefully that can all be put behind us and we’ll be able to show our true pace and performance at Snetterton”, he commented.
“All year we’ve had the pace to challenge in the top six and to fight for the podium, but for one reason and another it just hasn’t worked out for us – mainly in qualifying which has made the races a lot more difficult than they needed to be.”
Currently placed 12th in the championship, the Oxfordshire teenager’s biggest target for the season resumption is to qualify strongly at Snetterton to ensure he has the best chance to be in a position to battle for his maiden silverware.
All too often over the course of the first five race meetings of 2015, Matt has had to carve his way through the order after trying qualifying sessions despite his pace being more than a match for the championship contenders – as proven by his fastest lap pace in round five at Thruxton in May.
The third event of the season at the Hampshire venue, the fastest track on the Ginetta Junior calendar, was the most successful of his campaign so far with a best finish of seventh place in the event’s opening contest.
Adding another seventh place at Oulton Park in early June in round eight, plus eighth position in the first race, the last encounters before the summer break at Croft in North Yorkshire delivered a bitter blow. Contact, not of Matt’s making, in the opening race resulted in his first non-finish of the season and had a knock-on effect into race two where he had to line-up at the back of the grid.
“Croft was a bit of a nightmare really and very frustrating as our testing pace was really strong, as it has been for most of the year”, said Matt, “Qualifying is the most important thing to focus on and get right next weekend, I know TCR will give me a great car as they have all season. If we can start on the first two or three rows, hopefully we can avoid any problems and have our best weekend yet.”
After officially timed testing at Snetterton on Friday, 7th August, the Ginetta Junior drivers have an additional free practice session on Saturday, 8th August, ahead of qualifying at 13.50 and the first race of the weekend, round 11, at 16.30. On Sunday, 9th August, round 12 will begin at 13.50 with live coverage on ITV4 and online streaming at www.itv.com/btcc
Provisional Ginetta Junior Championship Standings (after Rd10):
12th Matt Chapman, 87pts