27th September 2021

Millar, de Haan and Jenkins Collect Silverstone Ginetta Junior Victories

Aston Millar has extended his points advantage in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship with a third win of the season at Silverstone, with Robert de Haan and Will Jenkins also scoring race victories.

Millar, de Haan and Jenkins Collect Silverstone Ginetta Junior Victories

A fascinating qualifying session in the early morning fog culminated in points leader Millar (R Racing) scoring a double pole position, his first since the season opener back in May. Seb Hopkins (Elite Motorsport) was close behind as he secured front row starts for the first two races.

Those two were three tenths of a second quicker than the next contender, with Liam McNeilly (Fox Motorsport) jumping to third with his last lap of the session. Finishing in an impressive seasons’ best fourth place was Ian Aguilera (R Racing), ahead of fellow rookie de Haan (Richardson Racing).

The opening race began with a fast start for Hopkins moving him into the race lead through Becketts for the first time, with Millar slotting into second. Behind, de Haan also made early progress to rise to third and by the end of lap three, he had stormed to the front of the field.

Pulling over a second clear at one stage, the Ginetta Junior scholar had to go on the defensive in the final few laps as a four car train closed onto his tail. From seventh on the grid, Jenkins (Elite Motorsport) had risen to second and mounted a challenge for the lead on the penultimate lap.

A bold move didn’t pay off though, with de Haan holding on for a third win in four races following a double success at Thruxton last time out. Jenkins was second, as Hopkins followed his team-mate home to complete the podium.

There was last corner drama in the battle for fourth, as McNeilly and Jamie Osborne (Assetto Motorsport) came to blows. The latter had to retire from the race, having been on course for a maiden top six result, while McNeilly nursed his car home in sixth.

Benefitting from that to finish fourth was Millar, who had earlier dropped to ninth after an off track moment. Joe Warhurst (Elite Motorsport) continued his great recent progression in the series with a seasons’ best fifth overall, as he and Harri Reynolds (Assetto Motorsport) scored rookie silverware.

R Racing trio Josh Miller, Freddie Tomlinson and Aguilera picked up top ten finishes following some close fought battles on track, with James Higgins (Preptech UK), Josh Rowledge (Elite Motorsport), Fergus Chalmers (Preptech UK) and Aqil Alibhai (Breakell Racing) amongst those in the mix for a top ten berth.

Race two followed on Sunday morning, with the talented teenagers serving up another thriller for a bumper crowd in the Silverstone grandstands. Hopkins shot past pole-sitter Millar to lead through Copse for the first time, before they switched positions back at the same corner on the next lap.

That was short-lived for Millar though as he was shuffled back to fifth, with Hopkins leading from de Haan, Jenkins and Osborne. That group then commenced a brilliant five way scrap for the victory, with Jenkins making a decisive move into Brooklands on lap six.

Millar followed him to second and despite his best efforts, they stayed nose-to-tail through to the finish as Jenkins secured a first win in the series. De Haan fell back to fifth at one point, but fought back well to score the rookie victory in third overall.

Hopkins had to settle for fourth overall, with Osborne bouncing back from his race one frustration with a seasons’ best fifth place ahead of Rowledge. McNeilly had dropped a couple of spots on the final lap to finish seventh ahead of Josh Miller, who was part of a four-way R Racing battle at one stage.

Team-mate Tomlinson tailed him to the chequered flag ahead of Reynolds, the latter joining de Haan and Rowledge on the rookie podium, with Warhurst and Higgins just missing out on the top ten. A close battle behind included Edward Pearson (Richardson Racing) and Zac Meakin (Raceway Motorsport).

Seven time race-winner Callum Voisin (R Racing) was having an uncharacteristically tough weekend meanwhile, adding a 15th in race two to 22nd in the opener. Behind was team-mate Luke Watts, the leader of four drivers making their championship debuts at Silverstone.

The final race of the weekend was televised live on ITV4 and proved to be an historic encounter. After trading the lead with Millar on lap one, pole-sitter Jenkins held the advantage through the opening stages before being shuffled back to fourth on lap five.

De Haan assumed control with a stunning double move on Jenkins and Millar at Copse corner, with the Dutchman heading an eight car train at the front of the field. His defence was breached on lap eight though, as Millar and Jenkins dived down the inside at Brooklands.

The battle for victory ultimately came down to three cars on the last lap as Millar fought with de Haan and Jenkins. The latter duo demoted Millar to third out of Copse, however he got back ahead of Jenkins soon after and went on to challenge de Haan coming out of Luffield.

The top two ended up running side by side to the chequered flag, with Millar stealing his third win of the season by only 0.010 seconds – a new championship record for the closest ever race finish. De Haan and Jenkins completed their podium hat-tricks for the weekend.

There was a four way battle for fourth in the closing stages, with Rowledge battling through to take the place from McNeilly. Miller was sixth on the road, however a 20 second penalty for track limits infringements dropped him to 23rd, with Voisin therefore completing the top six from 15th at the start.

Having been battling for the podium early on, Hopkins ultimately dropped to seventh at the finish ahead of Higgins in a seasons’ best eighth. Tomlinson and Osborne rounded out the top ten ahead of Aguilera and Pearson, with Joe Wheeler (Assetto Motorsport) a brilliant 13th from 28th on the grid.

Jacob Hodgkiss (Race Car Consultants) and Ginetta Junior scholar Maurice Henry (Fox Motorsport) rounded out the top 15 with their best results of the weekend, with Jack Sherwood (Elite Motorsport) taking his highest finish of 17th behind. Max Hall (Elite Motorsport) peaked with 16th in the opener, while Adam Brown (Ultimate Speed Racing) enjoyed a highest result of 24th.

Watts scored a pair of points finishes on his maiden weekend meanwhile, with fellow debutant Thomas Jack Lee (Race Car Consultants) having picked up points in the opener. The other new recruits, Haydn Chance (Preptech UK) and AJ Rock (Team HARD), took best finishes of 22nd and 24th respectively.

The penultimate meeting of the 2021 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season takes place at Donington Park in two weeks’ time (09/10 October).

Full race results for the weekend can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/213803


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