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De Haan And Voisin Take Ginetta Junior Victories In Action-Packed Thruxton Weekend

30th August 2021 • Simon Paice

Ginetta Junior scholar Robert de Haan enjoyed a breakthrough weekend in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship with a maiden pair of victories at Thruxton, whilst Callum Voisin also scored a race win in Hampshire.

The weekend began with Voisin (R Racing) setting the pace in qualifying for a second pole position of his rookie season. Will Jenkins (Elite Motorsport) scored a career best second and the race two pole, with Liam McNeilly (Fox Motorsport) continuing his good qualifying record in third.

Aston Millar (R Racing), who took the championship lead last time out with two wins at Knockhill, was fourth quickest ahead of Seb Hopkins (Elite Motorsport), while Aqil Alibhai (Breakell Racing) impressed with a best ever qualifying result of sixth.

The opening race served up its fair share of Thruxton’s renowned slipstreaming action, with a stunning battle forming for the race lead. Voisin converted pole position into the early advantage, before Jenkins swept past at the final chicane at the end of lap two.

Voisin got back ahead next time round but his lead was short-lived again, as de Haan (Richardson Racing) completed an impressive charge from seventh on the grid to the front. A seven car train for the lead at that stage whittled down to a three way battle for the closing laps.

A brilliant defensive display from de Haan netted the Dutchman a maiden overall victory in his rookie campaign, while Jenkins made a welcome return to the podium after sweeping around the outside of McNeilly at the complex on the last lap.

Hopkins emerged from a close duel with Millar in fourth, with Alibhai hot on their heels as he scored a breakthrough top six race finish. He also picked up a first rookie class podium, as did Joe Warhurst (Elite Motorsport) after gaining six places from his qualifying position to finish seventh.

Joe Wheeler (Assetto Motorsport) rose from 16th to eighth ahead of Voisin, however the latter received a post-race time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage during the race. Max Dodds (Assetto Motorsport) therefore finished up behind his team-mate.

Fergus Chalmers (Preptech UK) scythed his way through from 20th to a first ever top ten finish ahead of Edward Pearson (Richardson Racing), Harri Reynolds (Assetto Motorsport), Freddie Tomlinson (R Racing), Jamie Osborne (Assetto Motorsport) and Josh Miller (R Racing).

The second race of the day was another thrilling encounter, with an impressive run from Jenkins seeing him soak up a lot of pressure whilst leading the first half of the race. His defence was breached on lap eight though, as Voisin moved to the front of a six car train at the front.

Voisin went on to lead the remaining laps to record a brilliant seventh win of the season, a result that means he and brother Bailey become the winningest siblings in championship history. Jenkins was shuffled back to sixth at one stage, before gaining four places across the last two laps.

He lost his second place finish though after being handed a ten second time penalty for a false start, dropping him back to 16th in the amended result. His Elite Motorsport team-mate Hopkins benefitted most to score second ahead of fellow title contenders Millar and McNeilly.

De Haan had impressively risen to second in the latter stages, but a moment through the chicane on the last lap dropped him to sixth at the finish behind fellow rookie Josh Rowledge (Elite Motorsport). Assetto duo Wheeler and Dodds ran nose-to-tail to the finish.

They were part of a brilliant multi-car battle at the bottom of the top ten, which also included Tomlinson. Warhurst added a second top ten finish of the day ahead of Miller and Alibhai, with Max Hall (Elite Motorsport) finishing next up on the road.

Pearson, Chalmers and Jack Sherwood (Elite Motorsport) were next up ahead of Jenkins meanwhile. Ian Aguilera (R Racing), Osborne and Reynolds completed the points paying positions, the latter being one of five drivers to receive a time penalty during the race for cutting the chicane.

The final race of the weekend took place on Sunday, with the grid of teenage talents serving up another thriller for the live ITV4 television audience. Voisin and Hopkins held their top two starting positions into an early safety car period, with de Haan rising from sixth to third.

When the action resumed, those three briefly broke away from the quarrelling pack behind as de Haan brilliantly overtook both his rivals at the complex. As the race developed and they continued battling, they were soon caught by Rowledge, Millar and then Wheeler.

Voisin briefly got into the lead at one stage, but de Haan fought back and edged away in the closing laps for a 1.5 second victory. After positions changed multiple times every lap in the podium battle, it was Voisin and Hopkins who ended the weekend with further top three results.

Rowledge was up to third at one stage, but a high speed moment on the last lap dropped him to 12th at the finish. Wheeler therefore picked up a best ever finish in the championship in fourth ahead of Millar, while Jenkins impressively climbed from 17th on the grid to sixth.

Jenkins received a time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage though, putting him back to 11th, with Miller therefore securing a first top six result of the weekend. McNeilly battled to seventh ahead of Warhurst, who enjoyed another rookie podium.

Tomlinson and Dodds rounded out the top ten, the latter having run in fifth at one stage. Behind, Ginetta Junior scholar Maurice Henry (Fox Motorsport) finished a weekend high of 17th, with Jacob Hodgkiss (Race Car Consultants) scoring a second points finish of the meeting in 20th.

Oliver Flashman (Richardson Racing) and James Higgins (Preptech UK) had each picked up a points finish too in the opening race of the weekend, while Adam Brown (Ultimate Speed Racing) ended the meeting with a best result of 22nd in the final encounter.

The Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship paddock now has a four week wait until their next race action, with a visit to Silverstone over the weekend of 25/26 September.

Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/213403