Local Silverstone race for Alex turns into a roller coaster weekend.
With the penultimate round of this year’s Kick Start Ginetta Junior Championship taking place at his local circuit, Silverstone, Alex had only one objective, to strengthen his overall championship position and try his best to get on the podium.
Having tested back at the circuit in February, his Team JHR Developments were able to use this knowledge to find a good set-up and Alex immediately repaid their work by posting the 6th fastest time in his Carlube MIS Ginetta Junior in the first free practice session, on Friday.
As the sun came out for the second free practice session, Alex went faster again ending up with the third fastest time, just 0.139 seconds off the fastest time.
Saturday warm-up saw him again set the 3rd fastest time just 0.28 seconds off the fastest time. This was a perfect start prior to the fifteen-minute qualifying session where the grid positions for the two races on Sunday would be decided. With 19 cars on the track all looking for a clear lap to set a fast time, luck and good positioning would be the key to setting a front row position.
“The team found a good set-up on the car and I managed to find one clear lap to set my first fast lap which put me in fifth position. I tried to improve on this but, with all the cars on the track, I could not find the gaps in the traffic to improve on this time. With only one clear lap, ending the session with 5th and 9th fastest times is not bad for my first Silverstone qualifying,” commented Alex.
As the crowds queued to take up their positions to watch Sunday’s races the 19 Ginetta Junior drivers lined up on the grid for the 11-lap race. Alex starting from the third row of the grid got a good start and broke away with the five leading cars. As the cars started to battle, four more cars joined the five front-runners and this group would remain together until the chequered flag. As the laps clicked by, the cars changed places corner by corner and Alex got shuffled back down to 8th place before fighting back and finishing the race in a well-deserved 7th place.
"I got a good start and then I had to drive as fast as I could whilst still protecting my position. At every corner we were three or four cars going for the same position. It was great fun and, from the reactions of the fans at the track, they really enjoyed the spectacle, as I am sure the millions of TV viewers did as well. The last lap was just crazy, as any of us could have won the race. Finishing 7th has moved me up in the Championship to 9th place which is a bonus for not getting on the podium.” said a jubilant Alex.
The highs of the first race, however, came crashing down like a stone when Race 2 ended on the second corner of the first lap. Alex became the innocent victim when another driver lost control of his car and crashed into the front of his car, damaging the steering so badly he could not continue.
Not finishing in the second race also meant he lost his ninth place in the championship as with a zero points score he slipped back to tenth place again.
The final Championship round takes place in two weeks at Brands Hatch and, with only 9 points separating Alex from 9th place in the championship, he will be trying his hardest to make up the gap and move back up the Championship rankings.
“It is disappointing not finishing the second race. I saw a number of cars colliding behind me in my mirror and thought I was clear of the mayhem. Then as I turned into the corner, a car came flying across the grass and hit me, bending the steering. I tried to carry on but I had the steering on full-lock just to try to go in a straight line. I just managed to get the car back to the pits but the damage was too much to continue. As they say ‘that’s racing’ and now it’s onwards and upwards to Brands Hatch” reflected Alex
Follow Alex's Race Weekend updates on Twitter @AlexSedgwick9.