Highly rated teenage motorsport star Charlie Robertson sealed his first car racing title in some style at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 20th/21st October, with his 13th podium of the season and fastest lap of the race in the final round of 2012 – having provisionally secured the title the day before.
In dreadful conditions, the 15-year-old Scottish sensation, who resides in Whyteleafe, Surrey, capped off his second year in cars with a typically impressive performance in round 20, just 0.4 seconds shy of the win. Although he could have elected to sit-out the final round, Charlie – cheered on by 30 VIP guests – was determined to compete and end the year on the podium as champion.
He had led race two by a very comfortable three second margin prior to a mid-race Safety Car period but when racing resumed for a last lap sprint to the flag, a nudge from rival Sennan Fielding put Charlie wide at Druids Hairpin. He sensibly remained in second though, knowing the title was secure.
“I didn’t really mind what happened in that race to be honest, I just took things easy and didn’t want to risk anything”, said Charlie, “As soon as I saw Sennan [Fielding] on my back bumper into Druids, he gave me a little tap, which wasn’t a fair move, but it wasn’t worth fighting it – I didn’t want to get involved in any incidents so I was happy enough with second.
“To end the year as champion is overwhelming, I couldn’t have asked for any more. To finish the year on the podium with the title won is a fantastic feeling and a big reward for the team as well who have worked so hard all season and given me a great car.”
He added: “I’ve got to say a big thank you to my sponsors, Investigo and Ria Capital Markets, and my Mum, Dad and family – I couldn’t have done it without their support. I also want to thank the guys at HHC and also everyone at Ginetta, I’ve had two fantastic years in Juniors and learnt a huge amount.”
Fastest in officially timed testing on Friday, 19th October, Charlie dominated the morning practice on Saturday, 20th October, and looked well set to start the championship-deciding weekend with pole position in qualifying. Although just missing out on a grid-topping spot for round 19 by a mere 0.1 seconds, on second-best times Charlie secured the round 20 pole by the same margin.
Beginning round 19 from third on the grid, the HHC Motorsport driver was shuffled back to fourth and then slipped to fifth on lap two behind rival Fielding. He brilliantly retrieved fourth though on lap three with a sensational pass into Dingle Dell.
Trying everything possible to break into the top three, the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-backed racer did have to settle for fourth in the end but, in doing so, increased his lead in the championship to put the title provisionally out of reach.
Rounding-out the year with a true champion’s performance in Sunday’s rain-hit encounter, Charlie made a good launch from pole and saw off an early challenge by Pepe Massot. As those behind began to trade paintwork, Charlie focused on opening a gap and by the end of lap one he was 1.8 seconds clear at the front.
He had increased his advantage to three seconds prior to the emergence of the Safety Car at the start of lap six and, although his lead was eroded, Charlie made a good re-start but the tap from Fielding into Druids pushed the Caterham School pupil wide meaning he had to settle for second.
With the Ginetta Junior title secured, Charlie’s focus now turns to his single-seater graduation next year in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship where he will compete once again with HHC Motorsport.