Chase Fernandez scored a memorable first race win in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship as Freddie Slater notched his eighth victory of the season during the opening day of G Fest at Silverstone (02 June).
Championship leader Slater (R Racing) had a 100% pole position record over the opening three events of the season, but that run came to an end this morning as Charlie Hart (Elite Motorsport) scored his first pole position in the championship.
Hart finished up six tenths of a second quicker than Slater, though the latter did post the fastest second-best time to earn the race two pole. Elite team-mates Alisha Palmowski and Hugo Schwarze were next up as they locked out the second row of the grid for race one.
It proved to be a spectacular opening race around the 3.66-mile Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, with Slater, Hart and Schwarze trading the lead across the early laps. An eight-car battle built up at the front at one stage, before drivers started dropping out of contention.
An incident between Hart and Mckenzie Douglass (Elite Motorsport) ended both their races, before a dramatic moment into Brooklands on lap five saw Schwarze and Slater both spin after making contact whilst going side-by-side for the race lead.
Reza Seewooruthun (R Racing) emerged in the lead ahead of Finn Harrison (Assetto Racing), who had superbly fought through from 20th and last on the grid. On the final lap though, slight contact between the two into Village ran them both wide, opening the door for Fernandez (Assetto Racing) to dive down the inside of both.
Fernandez shot to the flag for his maiden race win, becoming only the fifth Ginetta Junior scholar to take a victory in their debut campaign, with Harrison making it an Assetto one-two. Mikey Porter (R Racing) produced a heroic drive of his own, fighting through from 19th at the end of lap one to third.
Porter led a train of four R Racing cars at the flag, leading home Seewooruthun, Leo Robinson and the recovering Slater. Henry Joslyn (Preptech UK) was seventh ahead of Schwarze, while Palmowski came home ninth after spinning out of the podium battle in the early stages.
Edu Robinson (R Racing) rounded out the top ten ahead of Freddie Allum (Elite Motorsport) and Luca Hopkinson (R Racing), the latter being another to have dropped to the back of the field at one point. Tom Spragg (Preptech UK) had to settle for 13th at the finish, having been battling for the top six before a moment of his own.
The second race of the day saw Slater impressively lead from start-to-finish, however the reigning Winter Series champion by no means had it all his own way. Palmowski and Porter were tucked under his rear wing from the off, with the lead pack growing as the race went on.
The action ramped up on the penultimate lap, with Schwarze a man on a mission as he fought through from fourth to second. Palmowski hit back to briefly get the place again on the final tour, but Schwarze got back ahead at Club and went on to follow Slater past the chequered flag.
Palmowski fended off Porter on the last lap to complete the podium, with each of the top three having now finished on the podium at every event so far this season. Fernandez followed up his win with a fifth-place finish after some exciting racing in the latter stages with Hart and front-row starter Leo Robinson.
Spragg was ninth on the road however a five second penalty for track limits infringements dropped him to 12th on the revised result behind Douglass, Seewooruthun and Allum. Edu Robinson finished 13th ahead of Felix Livesey (Xentek Motorsport), however a post-race penalty swapped them round.
Harry Moss (Fox Motorsport) and Brea Angliss (Breakell Racing) were next up, switching places from their race one result, with Joslyn back in 17th after an issue in the race and a track limits penalty. Holly Miall (Fox Motorsport) completed the finishers, with Alfie Davies (Preptech UK) failing to reach the finish having ended up 18th in his debut Junior race in the opener.
Full race results can be found at www.tsl-timing.com/event/232221
The teenage talents in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship will now tackle four races on the shorter Silverstone National circuit over the weekend (03-04 June).