Richardson Racing adds to Junior win tally at Thruxton
The Richardson Racing team added to its run of success in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship with a ninth victory of the season as the series returned to Thruxton for the seventh meeting of the campaign. The Corby-based team made the trip to Hampshire looking to replicate the front-running form it had shown during round three back in May, where drivers Will Martin and Casper Stevenson had both taken to the podium. Recent signing Ethan Hawkey was also hoping to fight for three strong points finishes. Qualifying saw Will secure third place on the grid as the best placed of the three drivers, with Casper slotting into sixth and Ethan taking twelfth having missed out on the top ten by just two tenths of a second. The opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon would be a typically chaotic affair, as drivers battled to make use of the slipstream effect around the quickest circuit on the calendar. Although he would slip back to fifth on the opening lap, Will battled back into the top three after an early Safety Car period and looked well placed for silverware until contact dislodged the bonnet on his car, which then started to rub against the front right tyre. Forced to pit for repairs, he would end up a lap down in 16th place. That left Casper to lead the team’s challenge with a solid run to sixth place, with the rookie fighting his way forwards in the closing stages of the race having also dropped back early on after being caught up in a clash at the chicane when the field was forced to suddenly slow because of a stricken car on track. Casper also took a trip to the podium as third best of the rookies. Ethan meanwhile enjoyed a storming opening lap to rocket up into the top six and had climbed as high as fourth with two laps of the race remaining. However, he would lose out in the slipstream on the final lap as he dropped back to ninth at the finish. Race two later on Saturday would be restarted after an accident on the opening lap forced officials to throw the red flag, with all three drivers able to avoid getting caught up in the incident. The shortened nine lap race would see Will running as part of the leading pack throughout as he bounced back from his earlier disappointment with a second place finish, with Casper just missing out on joining him on the overall podium as he took the flag in fourth spot as second best of the rookies – despite once again picking up damage after an early race incident. There would be misfortune for Ethan however as he was unable to build on another fine start that saw him rocket up into the top six; an incident on the penultimate lap costing him valuable time as he instead had to settle for 14th place. The final race of the weekend saw Will starting on the front row of the grid and he managed to get into the lead on lap one, battling for position with Zak O’Sullivan and title rival James Hedley. O’Sullivan would get ahead into the lead before Hedley dropped out of the battle and retired on lap four, with the pair running together until Will edged back ahead of lap eight. O’Sullivan then got back ahead before Will was forced onto the grass on the run to the Complex – somehow rejoining in second before then reclaiming the lead at Church. Despite carrying damage as a result of the trip across the grass, Will was able to hold on out front to secure his seventh win of the year. Casper and Ethan meanwhile would find themselves in a monumental battle for the final place on the podium, with Ethan in particular impressing after a storming start saw him rocket up the order from 14th on the grid. Ethan would run as high as third but a five second penalty for exceeding track limits ended up with him finishing in an unrepresentative eighth place. Despite being forced onto the grass by one of his rivals on the run up Woodham Hill, Casper also came close to an overall podium finish before crossing the line in fifth spot, with his third rookie podium of the weekend.
Will Martin, #10 (Battle, East Sussex), said:
“Race three was a brilliant way to end the weekend, and it was a fantastic battle; one that I really enjoyed. It was intense from the very start and it was an interesting moment when I got forced across the grass! Despite that, the car still felt okay and to secure the win is great.
“It made up for what happened in race one when we got mixed up in some contact and had to pit. I then played it a bit safe in race two as I didn’t want to risk losing points and settled for the place.
“We’ve made up some ground in the final race and we’ve got to keep pushing in the final rounds to see where we can end up.”
Casper Stevenson, #25 (London), said:
“It’s been a decent weekend, although it’s a shame that I wasn’t able to come away from it with an overall podium finish as I certainly think we were quick enough to achieve it.
“I was right in the thick of the action and I have to thank the team for the work they did to repair the car after races one and two when I got caught up in other peoples incidents.
“I think that Knockhill next is a circuit that will suit me and hopefully I can push for my first win there.”
Ethan Hawkey, #40 (Chislehurst, Kent), said:
“I’m pleased with the way I’ve driven this weekend although the end results are a bit unfortunate. In all three races, I had fantastic starts to make up loads of places, and I think that just shows that I need to work to get qualifying right as then I’d be in a position to try and fight with the front pack. “We have some work to do because my car seems to be stronger in the opening stages of the races and drops away towards the end. However, I’m feeling a lot closer to the team after my second weekend and I’m confident that we can be strong next time out at Knockhill.”