Third win of the year for Richardson Racing at Knockhill
Richardson Racing was able to celebrate a third win of the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season after a strong showing on the long trip to Knockhill.
With all three of the Corby-based team's rookie drivers visiting the challenging Scottish circuit for the first time, pre-event testing would be particularly important - with the trio showing solid pace across a number of sessions held in the run up to the race weekend.
It ended with Georgi Dimitov topping the times in the traditional Friday sessions, with Trennon Bettany producing his most competitive showing to date in eleventh and Rowan Vincent sitting 18th having lapped little over a second off the pace.
Georgi would once again lead the team's challenge in qualifying on Saturday as he secured a place on the front row of the grid as best of the rookies.
A small error from Trennon saw him slide off track after just two laps and left him to start race one from 17th, one place ahead of Rowan who struggled to get a clear lap on the busy circuit.
A hectic opening lap when race one kicked off saw Georgi shuffled back to sixth spot and he would run in a train of cars dicing for the leading places throughout the 15 lap race.
Two safety car periods, one of which resulted in a two-lap dash to the finish, hampered his chances of fighting for the top three as Georgi finished sixth overall and third best rookie.
A solid opening race for Trennon saw him work his way forwards to finish in 14th spot, whilst Rowan recovered well from a tough start to also make up places as he took the chequered flag in 16th.
The grid for race two was determined by the second quickest times set in qualifying, meaning Georgi started from pole position in the #23 car.
A strong start saw him lead the field into turn one although a short safety car period prevented him from building an advantage out front. However, Georgi would make the perfect restart when the action resumed on lap six, and broke away from the squabbles behind to take his third win of the campaign.
The early safety car period was as a result of Rowan being collected by a car that was returning to the circuit after going off at McIntyre's. That led to a trip across the gravel and forced Rowan into the pits for repairs, eventually returning to action having dropped two laps to finish in 18th.
Although he would pick up some damage to the front of his car, Trennon was able to largely stay out of trouble in what would prove to be a somewhat chaotic fight in the midfield to come from 19th on the grid to finish in eleventh.
From the front row again in race three, Georgi led the field through the early laps but would lose out to Josh Rattican on the eighth lap when his rival ran across the escape road at turn one to get ahead.
Held up behind Rattican, Georgi then lost out to both Tom Lebbon and Bailey Voisin before a trip across the gravel at McIntyre's cost him valuable time and dropped him down to seventh spot.
Trennon was in the heart of the midfield action and had fought his way into the top ten before contact from Tommy Pintos heading to McIntyre's saw him lose places. Further contact at the same place as the race wore on left the #41 car crabbing on track, but he was able to bring the damaged car to the finish in 14th spot.
Rowan meanwhile would enjoy a race-long battle of his own with Joe Wheeler and Seb Hopkins before crossing the line just behind Trennon in 15th spot as he made up three places from his starting position.
Georgi ends the weekend third in the standings, with Trennon and Rowan in 17th and 18th.
Rowan Vincent, #19 (Woking, Surrey), said:
"It's been amazing time in Scotland and this is a fantastic track - it's like riding on a rollercoaster! I started a little bit slowly, but I'm pleased with the way that the races have gone and we have worked hard to improve across the weekend. "It's tough to overtake around here so to make up places in two of the races is good, and it'll be nice now to have a little bit of downtime before the next round at Thruxton."
Georgi Dimitrov, #23 (Newmarket, Suffolk), said:
"Knockhill is a weekend that I've been looking forward to as the track is so exciting, and I got up to speed quickly. It was good to get the win in race two and we were just a bit unlucky in the other two as we could have picked up more points than we have done. "However, there is still a long way to go in the championship and this has been a solid weekend. I think we're looking strong for the rest of the year.
Trennon Bettany, #41 (Johannesburg, South Africa), said:
"After a mistake in qualifying, I'm really happy with how the races have gone and it was a lot of fun on track. The first two races went well and in race three, I'd got up to ninth when Pintos hit me and put me into a half spin. Aspin then did the same thing which damaged the right rear wheel and meant the car wasn't straight but I managed to hold on to 14th which I was really happy with.
"I feel there has been massive progression here and the fact that a lot of others hadn't been to Knockhill before means it was more of a level playing field. I think I've proved a lot to myself and can look to now progress from this weekend."