Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit is next on the 2015 motor racing calendar for front-running Ginetta Junior Championship racer Matt Chapman and ahead of rounds 15 and 16 next weekend, 5th/6th September, the 15-year-old says he is brimming with a new-found confidence.
During the category’s annual visit north of the border to Knockhill in Fife a week ago, the Oxford racer produced his most consistently competitive and successful outing of the campaign and was tantalisingly close to securing his long awaited first podium in the category.
Taking a season-best top five finish in the second of the two Knockhill races, having claimed sixth place in the opening encounter after running strongly in the top three during the early going, the Total Control Racing driver earned the sort of problem-free weekend he’s deserved all year.
Matt’s second season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support series has been badly hampered by a variety of issues but after the very strong Knockhill weekend, preceded by outings at Snetterton and Croft where he displayed his true pace with very rapid times in testing, he will head to Rockingham a week from now with his eyes firmly fixed on a spot on the podium.
“Knockhill was definitely our best weekend this year overall, we were quick from start to finish and fortunately managed to avoid any kind of incident!”, reflected the rapid teenager, “It was good to finally get a consistent weekend under my belt and while it was a shame to miss out on the podium, we know it was there for the taking.”
Although a completely different kind of circuit to Knockhill, Rockingham is just as challenging in its own way with a very quick flat-out run around part of the banking of the Oval circuit which leads into the twisty and technical infield section.
Last year, Matt achieved a brace of 11th place results on his first competitive outing at the 1.94-mile ISSC track configuration – just 0.4 seconds shy of ninth place in race two – but his sights are set on achieving much more when the eighth race meeting of the 2015 championship gets underway.
“It goes without saying I’m really looking forward to Rockingham, it’s a good challenge and you’re always guaranteed a lot of slip-streaming and place changing into the first hairpin”, said Matt, “Qualifying well is going to be key again – you can fight through at Rockingham but it’s important to try and get away at the front to avoid any incidents.
“The car was great at Knockhill, as it’s been all year, and I’m definitely feeling the most positive and confident I have all season. Hopefully last weekend was the start of a strong run for us so we can end the championship with some good results.”
Officially timed testing will take place at Rockingham next Friday, 4th September, with final practice following at 09.00 on Saturday, 5th September, ahead of qualifying at 14.00 and round 15 which gets underway at 16.55. On Sunday, 6th September, round 16 is scheduled to commence at 10.55.
Provisional Ginetta Junior Championship Standings (after Rd14): 12th Matt Chapman, 135pts