The Richardson Racing team enjoyed a winning start to the second half of the Ginetta Junior Championship season with a double success at Snetterton. The Corby-based team made the trip to Norfolk looking to fight towards the sharp end of the field with drivers Luke Browning, James Taylor, Matt Luff and Emily Linscott all eager to return to action following the series’ summer break.
Luke led the team’s challenge during a challenging qualifying on a damp and drying track to secure third place on the grid, with Matt eighth, James tenth and Emily in 19th – an electrical issue having prevented her from setting a representative time during the session.
The opening race would see Luke involved in the battle for the lead throughout, running second in the early stages before being shuffled back to third on lap four when forced wide whilst going for the lead.
Chasing down the two drivers ahead, Luke reclaimed top spot when the pair made contact on the penultimate lap and duly wrapped up his fifth win of the year.
Matt would also enjoy a strong start to race day as he battled hard inside the top ten throughout, putting the misfortune he had endured in the opening half of the season firmly behind him with a solid run to seventh spot.
James meanwhile just missed out on a place in the top ten with eleventh spot, whilst Emily would cross the line in 18th.
Despite dropping a spot to third at the start of race two, Luke soon fought his way back to the front of the pack and, having taken the lead on the second lap, set repeated fastest laps as he remained out front to the finish despite the close attention of points leader Adam Smalley.
Behind, Matt enjoyed his best result of the year to date with an impressive drive from eighth on the grid that showcased his skills.
Despite dropping outside the top ten on the opening lap, he quickly fought his way back up the order into the top six and before the half-way stage had arrived, found himself in fourth place. Fighting hard to try and get onto the podium, he would eventually finish just a second away from a place on the rostrum.
James would follow him home in fifth place as second best rookie driver after a fine drive through the pack from 13th spot, whilst Emily looked set to enjoy a strong result herself after a storming start saw her fight her way forwards from 19th on the grid to run inside the top ten within three laps.
Unfortunately, an incident on the penultimate lap would then force her to retire – meaning little reward for what had been one of her most impressive drives of the season.
The grid for race three saw Richardson Racing cars starting an impressive first, third and fourth with Luke starting from pole position.
Although losing a spot to title rival Smalley at the start, Luke ran second throughout in challenging damp conditions, with the pair thrilling the watching crowds as they went wheel-to-wheel on track.
Lapping several seconds quicker than anyone else, the pair would charge away from the pack behind and despite briefly getting ahead on the track, Luke was eventually forced to settle for the runner-up slot – picking up the biggest points haul of the weekend in the process.
Behind, James and Matt found themselves fighting over third place through the opening lap, with James holding the position in the early stages of the race before slipping behind a charging Louis Foster – ending the race just off the overall podium in fourth spot.
Matt’s hopes of dicing for the top three would be ended by failing windscreen wipers, which left him struggling for visibility from half way through the opening lap. A brief run off track on lap two cost him valuable positions although he drove well to take eighth despite the issue.
For Emily however, the weekend would end in disappointing fashion when two cars ahead suffered spins on the exit of the Bomb Hole, leaving her with nowhere to go. The resultant contact put her out of the race on the spot.
Luke Browning, #11 (Kingsley, Cheshire), said
“I’m really pleased with the way the weekend has gone. I’m happy, the team is happy and we’ve put some good points on the board so there is no reason to complain.
“We had luck on our side a little bit in the opening race with what happened to the guys ahead, although we showed we had the quickest car, and then the second race I was comfortable out front from the moment the lights went out.
“In race three I tried my best to find a way through but Adam drove well to defend in those conditions and we had to settle for second. It’s good points on the board, which are key for the championship, and we’ll aim to repeat it next time out at Rockingham.”
James Taylor, #66 (Rotherham, Yorkshire), said
“It was tough coming into the weekend for me after an incident in testing that limited my track time and put me on the back foot. Qualifying was okay considering I hadn’t had much time on track and after a difficult first race, it was great to come through the field to take fifth in race two – it was just mega.
“I didn’t think I’d be in a position to end the weekend fighting for a place on the podium so I’m delighted with race three and it’s a good way for me to kick off the second half of the season.”
Matt Luff, #72 (Romford, Essex), said
“Having got back up to speed in practice, it was good to qualify eighth on the grid and I felt good going into the races. To get seventh in race one was a solid start and race two was great for me, to fight back after a tough start and finish in fourth.
“Race three was just unlucky as I made a good start but then the wipers failed half-way round the opening lap and I couldn’t see in the spray ahead. It meant I had a trip off the circuit and from then, I had to just try and make sure I kept it on track. It’s a shame, because I’m sure we could have had a podium without that issue.”
Emily Linscott, #99 (Langdon Hills, Essex), said
“I feel I drove well this weekend , but the end results certainly don’t reflect that. It’s really unfortunate that there were various incidents throughout the two days that were totally out of my control, as they have prevented me from picking up some strong results.
“In race two in particular, I think I showed what I can do to fight my way into the top ten but I end up coming away from Snetterton with probably the worst set of results I’ve ever had. It’s been extremely tough, but it’s all part of the massive learning curve that I’m on. I’ve just got to put it behind me and move forwards.”