Back to all news

Lebbon Crowned Junior Champion In Brands Hatch Finale

15th November 2020 • Simon Paice

Tom Lebbon has made history by securing the 2020 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship title following a tense season finale at Brands Hatch this past weekend (14/15 November).

Lebbon picked up a pair of second place finishes in Kent to wrap up the crown, in the process becoming the first Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner to take the title in their maiden campaign ahead of Josh Rattican (Elite Racing) and Bailey Voisin (R Racing).

The weekend started with a milestone moment for Josh Miller (Elite Motorsport) in qualifying, with an impressive performance securing him his first pole positions in the championship. Close behind in wet conditions was the title protagonists, with Voisin leading Rattican and Lebbon.

That result meant Lebbon ends the season with the honour of being the best qualifier on the grid, and from his second row start he made immediate progress at the start of an opening encounter that was unfortunately interrupted by safety car periods and a red flag restart.

A great launch aided Lebbon in moving around the outside of Voisin at Paddock Hill Bend and then down the inside of Miller into Druids to take the race lead. Rattican followed him through to second, though their progress was halted by the emergence of the safety car.

That pause in action escalated to a red flag as marshals worked to remove two cars from the gravel. The race was restarted with the grid order determined by their positions before the stoppage. Lebbon kept his lead from pole into Paddock, but Rattican was immediately challenging him.

A superb move around the outside at Druids netted Rattican the lead, before the safety car came out again. A perfectly executed restart from the leader got him a crucial gap at the head of the field, which he took full advantage of on his way to a fourth win of the season.

Lebbon followed him home to score a sixth consecutive rookie victory, having secured the class title at the penultimate event at Snetterton, while Seb Hopkins (Elite Motorsport) passed team-mate Miller after the restart to record a popular first overall podium finish in the series.

Voisin battled to fifth on the road at the finish, however a post-race penalty for a safety car infringement dropped him to eighth in the final results. Amongst those moving above him was Tom Edgar (TCR), who set the fastest lap of the race for the third time this year.

Aston Millar (R Racing) made a welcome return to the top six, just ahead of Georgi Dimitrov (Richardson Racing) who rose from 14th on the original grid. Behind Voisin, the top ten was completed by Freddie Tomlinson (R Racing) and Will Jenkins (Elite Racing).

Narrowly missing out on tenth was Joel Pearson (R Racing), William Vincent (Elite Motorsport) and Will Rochford (TCR). The latter’s team-mate, Joe Warhurst, took a strong 14th place finish on his second outing in the series ahead of Joe Wheeler (Assetto Motorsport).

Heading into the final race of the season on Sunday morning, Lebbon now held a five point advantage over Voisin and Lebbon, who were level in second. The original race start was red flagged due to a multi-car incident on the start line, but there were no issues second time round.

A perfectly executed launch from Miller saw him lead the field away and after negotiating an early safety car period, he impressively led throughout the remaining laps to secure a memorable first overall race win and rookie class success in the championship.

Behind, Lebbon was second with Rattican close behind. Voisin meanwhile had been shuffled back to eighth on the opening lap, but he produced an immediate fightback. Picking up three places after the safety car restart, he then gained another spot to join his title rivals on track.

Lebbon fended off a challenge from Rattican two laps from the end, before Voisin came through and made a move on the last tour. There was no change of position though, with Lebbon going through to secure the title, while Rattican crucially got back ahead of Voisin for second in the points.

Voisin was fourth ahead of Hopkins, a result that secured the latter a top five championship finish and third in the rookie ranks. Dimitrov again made impressive progress to rise from 14th on the grid to sixth ahead of Edgar, Tommy Pintos (Elite Motorsport) and Pearson.

James Higgins (Preptech UK) ended the season with a maiden top ten finish, while William Aspin (Elite Motorsport) ran seventh early on before slipping back to 15th. Rowan Vincent (Richardson Racing) picked up a best of 17th in race one, while team-mate Trennon Bettany and Liam McNeilly (Fox Motorsport) sadly retired from both races over the weekend.

The race results for the weekend, as well as the final championship standings, can be viewed here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/204603