With the traditional pre-event ‘Friday’ free practice sessions taking place a month ahead of the meeting, an additional 15 minute run kicked off proceedings on Saturday morning to allow the field to get reacquainted to the unique, high-speed Thruxton circuit in wet conditions.
Seb Hopkins (Elite Motorsport) posted the quickest time in that session, however it was Aston Millar (R Racing) who went on to set the pace in qualifying. One of the most experienced drivers on the grid, he tamed a damp circuit to score a first pole position in the main series.
Hopkins was close behind to earn a front row start for the opener, while his second best lap time got him the race two pole. A brilliant debut session for Voisin (R Racing) saw him lap as the quickest rookie in third overall ahead of Joe Warhurst (Elite Motorsport).
Thruxton has become renowned for producing epic slipstream racing in the Juniors, and the opening race of the weekend on Sunday morning certainly followed that tradition. Following an early safety car period, a thrilling five car battle emerged for the race win.
Alongside Hopkins, four R Racing cars were in the mix and each of them led proceedings at one stage. Positions changed almost every lap, with Edgar usurping Millar early on, before Josh Miller and Voisin rose to the fore in the closing laps.
Edgar timed a late charge to perfection though, getting a run into the final chicane and swooping past his team-mate to record his maiden Ginetta Junior victory. Miller followed him home, while Hopkins gained ground in the closing laps and took third on the road.
Post-race however Miller was awarded a time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage on circuit, putting him behind Hopkins in the result. Poleman Millar had to settle for fourth in the end, while Voisin secured the first rookie class victory of the season in fifth.
The drive of the race came from Joe Wheeler (Assetto Motorsport), who sensationally climbed through from P17 on the grid to lead home a brilliant battle for sixth position. Close behind was Will Jenkins (Elite Motorsport), who fought back from 12th at one stage.
Also in that group was Freddie Tomlinson (R Racing), Robert de Haan (Richardson Racing) and Liam McNeilly (Fox Motorsport) as they rounded out the top ten, while after spinning to 25th on lap one, Josh Rowledge (Elite Motorsport) came back to 11th and a rookie podium finish.
Max Hall was hot on his team-mate’s heels at the finish as Zac Meakin (Raceway Motorsport) led the next group of cars, finishing ahead of Ian Aguilera (R Racing) and Assetto Motorsport trio Max Dodds, Harri Reynolds and Jamie Osborne.
Aqil Alibhai (Breakell Racing) and Fergus Chalmers (Preptech UK), two drivers joining the series after impressing in the Junior Scholarship contest, enjoyed solid debuts to join Edward Pearson (Richardson Racing) in finishing inside the top 20 and scoring championship points.
The second race of the weekend was televised live on ITV4, with the viewers treated to another fantastic spectacle at the front of the field. Hopkins led away from pole position, with Millar and Jenkins starting strongly to move into the top three.
Hopkins and Millar initially broke away from the pack and had their own duel, with the latter moving into the lead on lap three. Behind, de Haan briefly got into third before a determined Voisin stormed past and closed onto the top two with Hopkins and Edgar in tow.
A brilliant five-way battle for victory formed, with Voisin proving to be the driver on the move as he grabbed the lead on lap six and held it to the finish for a maiden win in only his second ever car race. Millar followed him home for his best result in the championship so far.
Hopkins grabbed third on the penultimate lap to complete a podium double for the weekend and secure the early championship lead, while Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner de Haan capped off his debut meeting with a second rookie podium finish ahead of Edgar.
The final place in the top six was fiercely contested for across the race, with Jenkins gaining two positions on the final lap to get the spot. Rowledge followed him home for a second rookie podium of the day, while Wheeler remarkably improved on his race one heroics to go from 23rd to eighth.
Miller and McNeilly rounded out the top ten, the former slipping back from sixth on the final tour. In the pack behind, James Higgins (Preptech UK) scored championship points in 18th, while Jacob Hodgkiss (Race Car Consultants) just missed out in 21st place.
Jack Sherwood (Elite Motorsport) took 22nd in both races, while Warhurst unfortunately saw his impressive qualifying turn into a couple of tough races and a best finish of 23rd. Enjoying strong debuts too were Scholar Maurice Henry (Fox Motorsport), Oliver Flashman (Richardson Racing) and Adam Brown (Privateer).
The Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship continues in five weeks’ time at Snetterton (12/13 June), where it will be joined by the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup for their season opener.
Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/211803