Tom Gamble took the first win of his Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship career at Donington Park today (15 April) after a frenetic opening race of the 20-strong grid of teenage racers.
In qualifying, Daniel Harper took the first pole position of his career with a 1:23.981s lap. It was the rookies who stole the show, with Scott McKenna continuing to impress as he completed the front row, setting a time just 0.187s quicker than third-placed fellow rookie Kiern Jewiss, who had impressed throughout testing in the build up to the weekend. Local driver Tom Wood completed the second row, whilst Gamble – who only posted five laps – still managed to set a time worthy of fifth place.
A blistering start for Harper in the race saw him hang onto the lead into Redgate for the first time, despite an epic challenge from fellow front row starter McKenna. As the pushing and shoving continued down the order, Dineen ended up in the gravel at the first corner and the safety car was scrambled as the cars completed the opening lap.
Things got back into gear on lap four and in usual Ginetta Junior fashion, mini races started to pop up throughout the order. Gamble snatched the lead from Harper at Redgate, forcing the Douglas driver to run wide and drop to fifth. A great recovery saw him recover to third, just behind Jewiss, who had made similar progress following an earlier skirmish.
At the halfway point the top three had stretched a gap to the chasing pack but behind, an awesome fight emerged for the final spots inside the top five with Dyson on a real charge, picking up three spots on lap five.
The rookie racers were equally as exciting, with Luff, Browning and Canning running four abreast with Digby in a bid to snatch the final spots inside the top 10. A dislodged bonnet for Luff sent him for a brief pit visit, during which Samra and Johnson got themselves involved in the scrum.
As the flag fell, Gamble celebrated, with Jewiss finishing half a second behind him to claim second overall and the rookie class honours. Dan Harper completed the main podium, whilst Smalley and Dyson rounded out the Rookie rostrum.