Freddie Slater made it five Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship wins in a row with a Silverstone double before Leo Robinson ended his winning streak with a memorable maiden victory this past weekend (06/07 May).
Already the youngest ever Ginetta race-winner and champion, Slater (R Racing) further wrote his name into the Ginetta record books in qualifying on Saturday morning. Excelling in the wet conditions around the Silverstone GP circuit, he went two seconds faster than anyone else for the biggest pole position margin in Junior history.
Alisha Palmowski (Elite Motorsport) went second quickest. She edged out her rookie team-mate Charlie Hart by just 0.046s for a front-row start. R Racing duo Reza Seewooruthun and Mikey Porter were next ahead of another Elite pair in Hugo Schwarze and Mckenzie Douglass.
Conditions had worsened by the time the opening race came around and it sadly ended up being a truncated outing. Palmowski made the best launch off the line to take the lead off Slater through Copse for the first time, however a few corners later they switched back through Stowe.
Behind them at the same corner, an incident between Assetto Racing team-mates Chase Fernandez and Finn Harrison led to the introduction of the safety car. Once action resumed, there was a quick change for third place as Seewooruthun passed Hart.
The safety car boards were straight back out tough as Edu Robinson (R Racing) found his way into the gravel trap at Copse corner. As the rainfall and surface water increased, the decision was made to red flag the race. Therefore the result was taken back to the end of lap three.
Slater therefore took the win ahead of Palmowski, with Hart classified third ahead of Seewooruthun. Douglass gained two places across the single racing lap to finish fifth, while Schwarze was sixth on the road before a two-place penalty post-race dropped him behind Porter and Tom Spragg (Preptech UK).
Henry Joslyn (Preptech UK) capped off a positive first day in the championship with ninth place. Luca Hopkinson (R Racing) rounded out the top ten on the road before being disqualified from the race result. Freddie Allum (Elite Motorsport) was therefore classified tenth ahead of Felix Livesey (Xentek Motorsport).
Fox Motorsport pair Harry Moss and Holly Miall took weekend best results in 12th and 13th respectively ahead of Leo Robinson (R Racing). Brea Angliss (Alastair Rushforth Motorsport) was another to score her highest finish of the event in 15th.
The rain had gone by the time race two came around on Sunday morning. It was a case of déjà vu at the start of the race as Palmowski once again shot past pole-sitter Slater to lead into Copse. Her advantage was short-lived though, as she took to the grass at Maggotts and spun.
Slater was back in front therefore heading into a safety car period, caused by a busy first lap that saw Spragg, Angliss, Moss and Miall retire from proceedings. Once the action restarted, Slater stormed away at the front of the field. He went on to take the chequered flag 5.575s clear of the field. It was a crucial margin after receiving a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits.
Behind him, one of the most captivating duels in recent Ginetta Junior history took place. Schwarze and Seewooruthun ran side-by-side for multiple laps of the Grand Prix circuit. It was Schwarze who eventually emerged in second place ahead of his adversary.
Another exciting battle behind saw Leo Robinson overcome the challenge of Hart for fourth place, with the latter eventually slipping behind the recovering Palmowski. Douglass survived a wide moment on the grass on lap one to finish seventh ahead of Harrison.
Porter ran second early on before a contact-induced spin dropped him back to ninth ahead of 2023 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner Fernandez and Hopkinson. Edu Robinson, Allum, Livesey and Joslyn completed the 15 finishers for the race.
Slater had become the seventh driver ever to win five consecutive Junior races. Slater started from pole position once again for the final race of the weekend. A chaotic opening lap saw Schwarze initially take the lead before dropping back to seventh, with Leo Robinson emerging in front from Hart and Slater.
The frenetic action continued on lap two. It was Slater who emerged back in front, with Porter remarkably moving into second from ninth on the grid. That didn’t last long though, with Robinson rising to second and commencing battle with Slater.
Robinson challenged the leader on multiple occasions but couldn’t quite get passed. That didn’t matter in the end, as Slater became one of ten drivers to pick up track limits time penalties. Therefore it was Robinson who took the win ahead of Palmowski, who had climbed from sixth to third in the closing laps.
Slater finished up third in the revised result to complete his 100% podium record for the season so far. Porter and Hopkinson completed the top five on the road, the latter from 11th on the grid. However, track limits penalties for those dropped them behind Schwarze and Seewooruthun.
Joslyn benefitted from penalties for Hart and Fernandez to take eighth as the trio completed the top ten on the final result ahead of Spragg and Harrison. The field was completed by Allum, Edu Robinson, Moss, Livesey, Angliss and Miall.
Full race results can be found at www.tsl-timing.com/event/231805
All three races can be watched back at www.youtube.com/user/ginettatv
The 2023 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship continues with a trip to Donington Park in three weeks’ time (27/28 May). It will be the series’ first outing on the Grand Prix layout for the first time.