McNeilly (Fox Motorsport) tasted victory in the opening race of the weekend, before race two was unfortunately postponed due to delays in the timetable across the day. That will now be contested next time out at Knockhill in two weeks’ time.
After the Oulton Park weekend began with an extra free practice session for the teenage talents on Saturday morning, it was rookie Josh Rowledge (Elite Motorsport) who starred in qualifying later that day with a brilliant first pair of pole positions in the championship.
A close session saw the top three drivers split by just a tenth of a second, with Aston Millar (R Racing) securing a front row berth. Max Dodds (Assetto Motorsport) was a seasons’ best third, with Callum Voisin and Josh Miller (R Racing) completing the top five.
With restrictions lifting to allow unlimited spectators at a BTCC event for the first time in over 18 months, a huge Cheshire crowd greeted the field for the opening race on Sunday, which was also televised live on ITV4.
As Rowledge led away at the start, an action-packed opening lap behind saw Dodds briefly grab second through Cascades, before Voisin worked his way ahead. The race was soon neutralised however with the emergence of the safety car, which then led to a red flag stoppage.
The race restarted with a four lap sprint to the finish, with Rowledge once again converting pole position into the lead. It all changed at the Hislops chicane however, with McNeilly emerging at the head of the pack – an impressive rise from eighth on the original grid.
Rowledge had slipped to fouth meanwhile behind Miller and Millar, with Voisin another to have fallen back in the close-fought racing. The leading group ran nose-to-tail across the remaining laps, with a tremendous defensive display from McNeilly securing him a second victory of the year.
Miller and Millar completed the podium, the latter making a welcome return to the top three for the first time since the season opener. Rowledge secured the rookie class spoils in fourth, with Freddie Tomlinson (R Racing) finishing in a seasons’ best fifth place.
Harri Reynolds (Assetto Motorsport) converted a best ever qualifying result into his first piece of Ginetta silverware with second in the rookies. He was sixth overall ahead of Elite Motorsport duo Will Jenkins and Seb Hopkins, Voisin and Jamie Osborne (Assetto Motorsport).
Two of the drives of the race came from Maurice Henry (Fox Motorsport) and Aqil Alibhai (Breakell Racing), who secured career best finishes of 11th and 12th from 21st and 24th on the grid respectively. James Higgins (Preptech UK) also made up ground through the race to 13th.
Richardson Racing team-mates Edward Pearson and Oliver Flashman converted their best ever qualifying results into top 15 finishes, the latter celebrating a season high race finish too, while Fergus Chalmers (Preptech UK) made a return to the points behind.
A tough race for title contender Tom Edgar (R Racing) resulted in a 17th place result, while Elite Motorsport’s Joe Warhurst, Jack Sherwood and Max Hall were the final points finishers. Joe Wheeler (Assetto Motorsport) was next up ahead of his frustrated team-mate Dodds.
Ian Aguilera (R Racing) and Jacob Hodgkiss (Race Car Consultants) were the final drivers across the line, with Robert de Haan (Richardson Racing) and Zac Meakin (Raceway Motorsport) unfortunately not making the finish.
The Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship paddock is now preparing to head north of the border to Scotland for four races at Knockhill in two weeks’ time (14/15 August).
Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/eve…