Rookie podium for Richardson Racing on tough Snetterton weekend
Richardson Racing was able to secure a third rookie class podium in the 2021 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship despite a challenging weekend on track at Snetterton.
The Corby-based team headed for the Norfolk venue with Ginetta Scholarship winner Robert de Haan and fellow rookies Edward Pearson and Oliver Flashman all looking to build on the progress they made in the season opener at Thruxton.
Qualifying around the longest circuit on the calendar proved to be a closely fought affair, with Robert leading the team’s challenge in twelfth place with a fastest lap little more than a second away from pole. Edward would end the session in 23rd place on the bumper grid, with Oliver in 26th for the opening race of the weekend.
That opening race would prove to be a shortened affair that featured just four racing laps, providing the three drivers with limited opportunity to make up places.
Robert was able to battle his way into the top ten and was starting to put pressure on Josh Miller for ninth when an incident elsewhere on the track saw the safety car deployed - and it would remain on track until the chequered flag flew.
Edward made a strong start to jump up into the top 20 on the opening lap and had progressed to 18th before the caution period, with Oliver taking 24th spot.
The second race of the weekend would see Robert battling inside the top ten throughout as he diced for the rookie class victory with Josh Rowledge throughout, eventually taking the flag just behind his rival in ninth overall - moving up a spot post-race when one of the cars ahead was excluded.
Edward would be shuffled back down the order in the early stages but stayed out of trouble to take 22nd place, with Oliver in 26th after early contact; all three drivers eager to fight further up the order in the televised final race fo the weekend on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the race would prove to be one to forget for both Robert and Oliver after a chaotic opening lap, with the pair picking up damage that would leave them with no option but to retire to the pits.
Edward however came through the first lap drama to make up a stunning ten places, leaving him running in twelfth spot when the safety car was deployed to allow damaged cars to be recovered from the circuit.
Although he would then lose two places in the closing stages, Edward crossed the line in 14th spot for his best result in the series to date.
Oliver Flashman (Benfleet, Essex) - #17 Ginetta G40:
"Friday testing went well but then qualifying was more challenging and we had some work to do in the races. It was good to make up places in race one but then in the second race, I got hit early on which damaged the car and I didn't end up where I should have been. I got a great start in race three and made up loads of places in the first few corners but then it all kicked off ahead and I ended up making contact with someone which made the bonnet come off and I had to pit.
"I know we have the pace to run higher up the grid and Brands Hatch is my home track so I hope we can go well there next time out."
Edward Pearson (Guildford, Surrey) - #41 Ginetta G40:
"The weekend has been tough but I'm really pleased to end it like that. I made my own luck a little bit on the opening lap to stay out of the trouble ahead but that was a result that I really needed and it's great to score my best result so far.
"I think we will have a really strong car next time out at Brands Hatch, so having got a bit of boost to my confidence with that result, I hope we can push towards the top ten when we go there in a few weeks."
Robert De Haan (Eerbeek, Netherlands) - #46 Ginetta G40:
"It's not been bad weekend and the first two races went okay. We had good pace in the car and it was just a bit of shame that race one had the safety car as it stopped us finishing higher. It was good to get on the rookie podium in race two but then the final race was just unlucky as I got caught up in a crash when someone went off and I had nowhere to go.
"We've done a lot of testing at Brands Hatch and were quick, so I feel confident that going there, we can fight towards the front."