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Caroline Reclaims Championship Lead With Rockingham Double

Caroline Reclaims Championship Lead With Rockingham Double

A brace of wins for Jamie Caroline was enough to see him leave Rockingham Motor Speedway as the KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship leader, whilst Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner Stuart Middleton starred with two runners up spots, promoting him to second in the Rookie class.

As the weekend got underway, Devlin DeFrancesco confirmed the competitiveness of the 24-strong grid as he became the eighth driver in as many meetings to claim pole position in the British Touring Car Championship support series.

Unfortunately, his blistering pace in qualifying was no match for a lightening start from Jamie Caroline who took the race lead as the pack headed into Deene Hairpin for the first time, with DeFrancesco dropping behind Patrik Matthiesen.

A spin from the Matthiesen at Pif-Paf forced DeFrancesco to take avoiding action, dropping him to ninth after the first lap. His weekend went from bad to worse as he went off again on laps four and five, leaving him to finish a disappointing 14that the flag.

Out front, Caroline controlled the remainder of proceedings to take his seventh win of the year, keeping his closest challenger Middleton at arm’s length throughout the remaining laps. The 2015 scholarship winner pleased with his second outright podium result nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Proctor pushed on having inherited a podium position which was crucial for his championship battle with new leader Caroline. Teammate Zelos kept him honest, but settled for fourth at the end of the 10 lap encounter.

In the mid-pack, there was a close battle between Charlie Fagg, Matt Chapman, Billy Monger, Alex Day, Matthiesen and Ben Green for the final few spots inside the top 10, with Fagg taking his best result to date at the flag. Similarly, a storming race for Dace Wooder saw him finish sixth after starting 10th.

Race two once again saw Caroline control proceedings from the get-go. Storming off the line, the championship leader was soon up the road, leaving Quinton Hazell-backed Middleton to fend off the advances of Proctor and Zelos for second place.

Although the Ginetta Junior Scholar momentarily dropped to third, a great move on lap three saw him sweep back into his starting position, where he remained to the flag. With Middleton’s elbows out, it was up to teammates Proctor and Zelos to squabble for the final podium position.

The fight allowed Lewis Brown to catch the pair, and the trio haggled for position up until the final lap, when spins for Proctor and Zelos at Deene dropped them both down the order, promoting Brown into third.

Former race winner Billy Monger was on a charge too, despite starting ninth, he manoeuvred his way through the field into sixth and began eyeing the top five by the mid-point. Finding himself joined by Matthiesen and Chapman towards the end of the action, the loss of his JHR Developments teammates saw him inherit the top five result, although Matthiesen managed to sneak past before the flag.

The double win, coupled with Proctor’s troublesome race two means that with four rounds left to run, Caroline has a 26 point advantage over his main rival heading into Silverstone in a fortnight’s time.

Provisional KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship Standings After 16 Rounds

1 CAROLINE, Jamie 405

2 PROCTOR, Senna 379

3 BROWN, Lewis 303

4 ZELOS, Dan 297

5 MONGER, Billy 296

6 HADFIELD, Jonathan 240

7 MATTHIESEN, Patrik 238

8 MIDDLETON, Stuart 231

9 FLOERSCH, Sophia 211

10 HORNBY, Kyle 186