The Richardson Racing team secured another podium finish as the Ginetta Junior Championship headed for Thruxton for the third round of the year.
The Corby-based team was seeking to defend the championship lead it had secured last time out at Donington Park, with drivers Luke Browning, Matt Luff, James Taylor and Emily Linscott all ready for the challenge provided by the quickest circuit on the calendar.
Luke was the fastest of the quartet in qualifying as he took third on the grid, with Matt lining up in ninth having also posted a best time within a second of pole. James meanwhile secured twelfth on the grid, with Emily starting the opening race from 15th.
Having lost a place on the opening lap, Luke would spend the whole race dicing for victory but having moved into the lead, he came under pressure from rival Louis Foster on the final lap and slipped back to second. Contact between the two saw Foster slide off circuit and dropped Luke back to third, which is where he would finish.
Matt would run solidly inside the top ten throughout the race and was rewarded with a seventh place finish, with James working his way forward into the top ten to take ninth spot – just missing out on the rookie podium.
Emily would also race strongly and came within half a second of breaking into the top ten, having lapped more than a second quicker than she had in qualifying.
A grid penalty for Luke following the race one incident meant it was James who was the best placed driver on the grid for race two, with the Ginetta Scholarship winner lining up on row five alongside Matt.
The pair would work together to fight their way forwards through the pack ahead, with James getting as high as fourth before he lost out as he battled for position with his rivals and slipped back to seventh.
Matt had also shown he had the pace to challenge for a place on the podium before a slight error at Church saw him run wide, with the performance of his tyres dropping away as he finished in eighth.
An early spin after contact hurt Emily’s chances of building on her race one result and left her with a 14th place finish, whilst for Luke there was disappointment after an impressive drive through towards the podium places was ended by contact at the Complex that put him out with damaged suspension.
Luke ends the weekend third in the standings, with James in ninth, Matt in ten and Emily in 16th spot.
Luke Browning, #11 (Kingsley, Cheshire), said
“We’ve been the quickest driver on track this weekend but I just haven’t come away with the results we could have had. I thought we could have got the win in race one but I lost out in the tow and the incident with Louis was unfortunate towards the end and I felt the penalty was harsh.
“Race two was going well and I was closing on the podium but there was nothing I could have done about the incident that forced me out. Seeing how far back the guys behind were, I wasn’t expecting to suddenly get hit at the Complex and there was no chance of continuing with the damage to the car.
“Having lost the points lead, I’ll be looking to fight back at Oulton Park next time out. It’s my home circuit and I’ll be chasing some strong results there.”
James Taylor, #66 (Rotherham, Yorkshire), said
“I’m really pleased with the weekend and it’s been good to fight higher up the order. Qualifying didn’t go too well and then in the opening race I spent quite a lot of time stuck in traffic which meant the cars ahead broke away and it’s hard to try and catch people when you lose the tow.
“A good start in race two meant I could fight forwards through the field and having got up to the battle for the podium, I felt we could finish in the top three. I think I held off a bit too long when trying to make a move and it cost me as I got shuffled back to seventh at the end, which is partly just experience and something I’ll learn from.
“Oulton Park next is my kind of track and I’m hoping to push towards the podium places.”
Matt Luff, #72 (Romford, Essex), said
“The pace has been good all weekend and whilst the results might not be perfect on paper, we’ve put some good points on the board which is what is going to be important as the season goes on.
“After a solid top ten in race one, it was going well in fifth place in race two and we were in the mix for a place on the podium. I made a small error at Church and the tyres dropped away after that so had to settle for eighth.
“We’ve kept ourselves in the top ten in the points and Oulton Park next is a circuit where I went well last season and nearly got a rookie podium. I’m hoping for a strong performance and I think some strong results aren’t far away.”
Emily Linscott, #99 (Langdon Hills, Essex), said
“I’m a bit disheartened but motorsport is full of highs and lows and unfortunately I’ve just had a few lows. Thruxton is a great circuit to drive but is also very tricky with the slipstream and a small mistake can cost you a lot of time if it means you lose the tow.
“I nearly got into the top ten in race one and enjoyed some good battles on track, and I don’t feel that P11 is a fair reflection of how well I drove. Race two was just unfortunate as I got knocked into Abbi on the first lap and we didn’t quite have the pace we had in race one from then on.
“Oulton Park is next and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had a few tests there and it should be a better weekend for me.”