The Richardson Racing team added more silverware to its ever-growing tally as the Ginetta Junior Championship headed for Oulton Park for the fifth round of the year.
The Corby-based team made the trip north to Cheshire eager to maintain the strong form it has displayed on track so far in 2018, with drivers Luke Browning, James Taylor, Matt Luff and Emily Linscott all in confident mood.
Qualifying for the opening race of the weekend saw Luke storm to pole position on his local circuit, whilst there was a season’s best performance from James as he secured a place on the second row of the grid.
Despite struggling a little with the handling of his car, Matt posted the ninth quickest time with Emily lining up in 13th spot.
The opening race on Saturday afternoon would prove to be a strong one for Luke, who maintained his position out front at the start and was never headed as he crossed the line for a fourth victory of the season. Unfortunately however, a kerb strike during the race damaged the diff on the car, which resulted in it losing oil – meaning that the required amount of fluids weren’t in the car when post race checks were carried out.
Stewards elected to apply the letter of the law and excluded Luke from the results, with the team taking the immediate decision to appeal against the exclusion to the MSA Court given there was no performance advantage and the fact that the oil loss was as a result of an incident on track.
Behind, James rocketed away from the line into third when the lights went out but was then handed a 10 second time penalty for creeping slightly forwards at the start. Maintaining his position of third on track throughout the race with a battling drive, he would end up in tenth once the time penalty was taken into account.
A strong drive from Emily saw her fight hard for position throughout the race, working her way forwards to take an encouraging eleventh spot, although there was disappointment for Matt who was forced to retire early on with an overheating issue.
Race two again saw Luke starting from pole position and once again he would lead the race throughout, building a huge advantage of over 10 seconds to secure victory by the biggest winning margin in the series for nearly three years.
James would again impress with another strong drive at the front of the field, running as a high as a second as part of a train of cars dicing for the final two places on the podium and eventually crossing the line in fourth spot overall as second best rookie.
Although there was further disappointment for Matt as an engine issue again forced him to retire, Emily ended her weekend on a high with her strongest drive of the year so far.
From twelfth on the grid, she fought her way into the top ten in the early laps and was rewarded at the finish with a strong ninth place result.
Next up for the quartet is Croft on the weekend of 23/24 June.
Luke Browning, #11 (Kingsley, Cheshire), said
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s been a pretty flawless weekend for me. We were quick in testing, quickest in practice, put it on pole and then led both races from start-to-finish. To win at my home circuit is a fantastic feeling and it’s a real shame that the hard work we put in in race one was unrewarded. For some reason, we lost the oil in the diff during the race and it resulted in losing the win.
“There was no benefit to us from what happened and it actually slowed the car down, so we’ll appeal against the decision and will have to see if we can reclaim the victory that I feel we deserved.
“Going into race two, I’ll admit that I was feeling a bit angry about what had happened, but I just put that into my racing and pushed as hard as I could. The car was great and the team did a mega job as ever. To win by that margin showed how quick we were and was a good way to bounce back from the earlier disappointment.”
James Taylor, #66 (Rotherham, Yorkshire), said
“It’s been a great weekend for me and I’m really pleased with the way I’ve driven. I’ve shown good pace throughout qualifying and the races and I feel that I’ve shown that can run at the sharp end of the field without any issues.
“Of course it’s disappointing that the penalty in race one meant I didn’t get on the podium but I can still come away from that race knowing that I had the pace to finish third on the road, and we came close to a podium in race two despite being right in the middle of the action.
“Things have clicked this weekend for me and I think I’ve taken a big step forwards, so it’s onwards and upwards from here.”
Matt Luff, #72 (Romford, Essex), said
“It’s been a really tough weekend for me and there isn’t much I can say about it. It looked good after practice, and qualifying was okay considering that the tracking was out on the car a little.
“I’d only done a few laps in the first race when the car started to run hot and I had to retire. We thought we’d solved the problem but then had a further issue in race two that forced me out.
“We’ll have to look at the reasons why but it’s real shame as I feel we could have picked up some strong results this weekend.”
Emily Linscott, #99 (Langdon Hills, Essex), said
“It’s great to finally get a good result under my belt and I think I have shown this weekend that I’m not here to be bossed around and that I can hold my own.
“I’ve said before that I think I’ve driven better than my results on paper show, so to come away from the weekend with a P9 under my belt is great.
“As a racing driver you always want more, but I’m really pleased to bring home a top ten finish. It gives me a lot of confidence to take to Croft and hopefully I can build on this result there.”