Total Control Racing celebrated its first outright Ginetta Junior Championship podium finish of the year during the season finale at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 11th October, with Matt Chapman producing a fantastic performance to secure his maiden top three finish in the category.
Having to battle through the order in race one of the weekend on Saturday, 10th October, to ninth place after early contact dropped him down the order, Chapman delivered another superb showing in the series finale to carve his way through into third position – and he also set fastest lap too.
Dave Wooder made it a great afternoon for TCR in round 20 when he took his second Rookie Cup victory in as many race meetings with fourth place overall behind Chapman, while Connor Grady took a best finish of 13th position in the final contest on his first visit to Brands Hatch GP Circuit.
“It’s mega being back on the main podium, we’re really pleased for Matt – it feels like a win really with how tough the year has been and how much bad luck the lads have had”, said TCR team boss Lee Brookes, “It’s a bit more special as he didn’t do it from the front, qualifying didn’t go well so Matt really had to fight and work hard for this podium across the two races.
“We had a bit of bad luck with Dave this weekend but fourth, and the Rookie win, in race two was a good result, especially from where he started. If everything had worked out, I really think he and Matt could be one-two in whichever order. Connor has been improving well again this weekend, race two was a good performance and he’s definitely one to watch for next season.”
Due to delays in Saturday’s timetable, rounds 19 and 20 both took place on Sunday with Wooder starting the first contest from fifth on the grid, Chapman in 12th – having lost his best lap time due to a track limits infringement – and Grady in 22nd position.
Holding position off the start, Wooder remained fifth after an early Safety Car period and as the race entered its second half he was tight behind the fight for third place. With nothing to separate half a dozen cars, Wooder pressed on and on lap six he moved into fourth when Senna Proctor ran wide.
Into the eighth and last lap, Wooder’s maiden outright podium was tantalisingly within reach but a bid to take the place into Graham Hill Bend didn’t work out and after a tangle he ended the race down in 15th position.
Chapman had to battle his way back through the order after being forced out wide at Graham Hill Bend on the opening lap. Dropping down to 19th place after recovering from the grass, he made fantastic progress to gain 10 positions on his way to a well-deserved ninth place.
Grady, meanwhile, sustained damage to the bonnet of his Ginetta G40 on the opening lap after contact and following an early pit-stop, in which the team taped the loose bodywork back down, the 14-year-old ended the race in 20th position.
In the final race of the season on Sunday afternoon, Chapman delivered a superb performance to climb through from ninth on the grid to the podium. Into sixth place on lap three, the TCR racer moved into fourth at the end of lap four when two rivals had to serve drive-through penalties and he then grabbed third from Stuart Middleton at Paddock Hill Bend on lap five.
Running in the top three and in a position to try and challenge for second, Chapman – who set fastest lap on the fifth tour – had to settle for third in the end when the contest was red flagged a lap early.
Wooder, from 15th on the grid, produced a storming drive and after climbing into the top 12 on lap one he continued his great progress following an early Safety Car period. Into 10th position by lap four, Wooder leapt into the top six a lap later and climbed into fifth on lap six. Holding fifth when the red flags were shown, a penalty for Middleton elevated Wooder into fourth and the Rookie win.
For Grady, race two was much more fruitful than the earlier contest and although edged back to 21st spot initially, the youngster made great gains during the closing stages before the red flags were shown. Running in 18th position on lap six, he gained four positions before the conclusion to seal 14th place which then became 13th after Middleton’s penalty.
Final 2015 Ginetta Junior Championship Standings:
10th Matt Chapman, 227pts; 13th Dave Wooder, 153pts;
22nd Cameron Roberts, 70pts; 24th Connor Grady, 51pts