Charlie Robertson will take a provisional 25-point lead into the final two races of an unpredictable Ginetta Junior Championship season two weeks from now after a bittersweet outing at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 6th/7th October.
Just missing out on his seventh win of the year in round 17 on Saturday by a mere 0.078 seconds, but nonetheless claiming his 12th podium of the campaign, the 15-year-old was then punted out of round 18 on Sunday – thankfully, though, it didn’t have a major impact on his championship lead.
While on overall scores the HHC Motorsport driver’s advantage has been reduced to 23 points, when the category’s ‘drop score’ ruling is applied Charlie’s lead increases by two meaning he will go to Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit a fortnight from now in the box seat.
“Being knocked out of the second race obviously isn’t the way I wanted the weekend to end”, said the Whyteleafe youngster, “The plan was to stay out of trouble, and pick up as many points as we could but there was nothing I could do about what happened – I was just hit from behind under braking and that was it. Luckily, with the race one podium, we’re still leading the championship.”
Charlie started off the weekend perfectly with pole position for both races and he made a great start to round 17 on Saturday afternoon, opening up a substantial lead of two seconds on the first lap and settling in to a comfortable rhythm at the front.
By the start of lap four, the Surrey racer’s lead was almost three seconds but Andrew Watson then began to chip away at Charlie’s advantage. By lap 13, Watson was right behind the HHC driver and went for a move into Becketts which Charlie sensibly chose not to fight – wisely thinking about the championship with title rivals Sennan Fielding and Niall Murray much further back.
On the last lap though, Charlie was right behind Watson and heading into the complex for the final time they were side-by-side. Getting terrific drive out of Luffield and into Woodcote, Charlie almost pipped his rival on the line with a mere 0.078 seconds between them at the flag .
“I got a really good start and I was comfortable for the first half of the race but then I saw Andrew [Watson] starting to catch me and I knew he was quick, he was fast in the testing on Friday and was quick all weekend”, commented the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-supported racer.
“When he did the move, there was a chance I could have tried to get him back straight away but I just didn’t think it was worth the risk. If I’d done that and made a mistake it would have cost me a lot more than it would have cost him, so I was happy to think of the championship and take second.”
Unfortunately for Charlie, round 18 didn’t follow the planned script. Shuffled back to third on lap one at Becketts, he hit back superbly on the run into Brooklands and moved back into the lead at the exit of Luffield. At that stage all looked well for a potential victory challenge but after running slightly wide at Becketts on lap three, he was bundled back to fifth place.
Then, just three laps later, Charlie’s race was over when contact from Freddie Lee, as he made an error under braking for Becketts, pushed the championship leader off into the gravel trap and a frustrating retirement. Even so, his title ambitions remain on course with only two rounds left.
Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent will host the season finale of the 2012 Ginetta Junior season a fortnight from now on 20th/21st October.
Provisional 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd18 – inc. drop scores):
1st Charlie Robertson, 453pts
1st Charlie Robertson, 453pts
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