With only six of the 20 drivers on the grid having previously raced on the high-speed Thruxton circuit, the traditional two Friday free practice sessions were followed by another 15 minute outing on Saturday morning to allow the grid to acclimatise to the unique track.
Voisin (R Racing) and Lebbon (Elite Motorsport) came into the weekend split by only four points in the points standings and they were inseparable in the final free practice, posting an identical time around the 2.36 mile track at an average speed of over 92mph.
There wasn’t much more between them in qualifying, with Lebbon taking his third pole position from four sessions this season by only nine hundredths of a second from his title rival. Their personal duel at the front then continued in the opening race on Saturday evening.
Lebbon led the field away but immediately had Voisin looming large in his mirrors. A first challenge came at the club chicane on lap five, with Voisin storming around the outside and almost getting ahead, however a slide at the exit of the corner ensured Lebbon stayed ahead.
The subsequent loss of momentum also allowed Freddie Tomlinson (R Racing) through to second place. After qualifying a career-best third, Tomlinson fought through from sixth after a grid penalty and made his own charge for the lead on lap eight but unfortunately spun.
That meant Voisin was the chief challenger again and it was second time lucky for the points leader as he went around the outside at the chicane to get the lead. He maintained it to the finish to continue his run of taking at least one win in each race meeting so far this season.
Lebbon slipped behind Rattican (R Racing) at the same time as Voisin and those two swapped places twice more in the closing laps, with Rattican emerging ahead for second place from ninth on the grid. Third was still enough to secure Lebbon the rookie class win.
Joel Pearson (R Racing) joined his team-mate in storming through the field to rise six places to fourth ahead of Seb Hopkins (Elite Motorsport), who had qualified a seasons’ best fifth and finished in the same place for second in the rookies.
Aston Millar had made it four R Racing cars in the top six on the road, however a post-race time penalty for causing a collision cost him a rookie podium. That went to Zak Taylor (Alistair Rushforth Motorsport) ahead of fellow class competitor Josh Miller (Elite Motorsport).
Tom Edgar (TCR) had run fourth early on, but lost ground and had to fight back from 16th to ninth at the finish. He was then promoted to eighth ahead of Millar, while William Vincent (Elite Motorsport) was another to get a time penalty so he lost his top ten result.
A recovering Tomlinson was therefore tenth ahead of two of the stars of the Knockhill weekend last month, Will Jenkins (Privateer) and Georgi Dimitrov (Richardson Racing). It was then the three William’s; Rochford (TCR) from Aspin (Elite Motorsport) and Vincent.
The second race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon and the class of 2020 served up an action-packed thriller for the ITV2 television audience. Tomlinson started strongly to dive around the outside at the complex to take the race lead from Lebbon.
Leading for a few laps, his luck ran out at the same corner on lap four as Lebbon and Rattican stormed past either side of him to take the top two spots, before contact at the next corner spun Tomlinson down the field. Taylor emerged from the commotion in third from Pearson and Edgar.
Moments later, an incident at the final corner for Voisin, who had lost ground early on, and Richardson Racing duo Trennon Bettany and Rowan Vincent led to the race being red flagged. There was a five lap shootout at the restart, with Rattican immediately storming to the front.
Getting a two second lead on the opening lap alone, he was able to keep the chasing pack at arm’s length for the remaining laps to record his second win of the season so far. Lebbon ran second throughout to pick up his seventh rookie class win of the season.
Taylor took the restart in third but was unfortunately spun out of the race at the complex, while Pearson briefly held the place before suffering his own troubles. Miller had no such misfortune though as he grabbed the position and recorded his maiden overall podium finish.
A battling display from Edgar netted him fourth, matching his best result in the series to date, while two great drives came from Tomlinson and William Vincent. From eleventh and thirteenth respectively on the restart grid, they both netted top six results.
Tommy Pintos (Elite Motorsport) finished seventh at the finish ahead of team-mate Hopkins. R Racing duo Pearson and Millar were next up, the latter having been up in fourth at one stage, with Aspin and Jenkins just missing out on the top ten.
Joe Wheeler (Assetto Motorsport) had been battling for a top six finish in the closing stages of the race before a last lap moment dropped him to 13th. Liam McNeilly (Fox Motorsport) meanwhile picked up a best result of the weekend of 17th in race one.
Full race results for the weekend can be seen here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/fil…
The 2020 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season continues this weekend (26/27 September) with three races around the Silverstone National circuit.