JHR Developments’ chance of their driver winning the KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship will go down to the wire in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch.
The Dronfield-based team would rather forget the Rockingham weekend.
Qualifying problems and arch rivals HHC Motorsport’s cars being quicker meant a HHC wall ahead, but with Senna Proctor starting round 15 in 6th and Dan Zelos in 7th they managed to climb up to 3rd and 4th places.
Proctor and Zelos were the grid’s second row for round 16 and ran 3rd and 4th for most of the race until Proctor ‘left the door open’ at the hairpin and Zelos saw a podium chance and went for the gap.
They collided, heavily, both spun and lost places and a certain podium finish: Proctor recovered to finish 7th and Zelos 15th, hurting Proctor’s 2nd-place assault on championship leader Jamie Caroline.
In the words of JHR boss Steven Hunter, “Unfortunate and a little awkward…”
Fortunes changed at Silverstone’s round however where Proctor’s 4th and Zelos 6th place starts translating into another podium 2nd and 3rd in Round 17.
Dan Zelos [L] and Senna Protor [R] flank Silverstone’s KICK Start Energy Drink Ginetta Junior Championship round 17 winner Jamie Caroline
A very hectic round 18 that was “fraught to watch” for Hunter, had Proctor, followed by Zelos, take turns leading.
The race lead changing multiple times over the laps, meant no one pulled out any margin, so Proctor and Zelos were in the thick of a non-stop 9-car battle for the lead.
Caroline’s regular shoulder charges to Proctor’s car happened once too often damaging his car and dropped him back to 15th, vitally Proctor was able to make a last lap lunge to grab 2nd place at the flag, with Zelos in 7th.
Capitalising on his rival’s misfortune meant Proctor scythed Caroline’s 45 point lead down to just 10 points, and boasting 12 trophies from 18 races, it is building up for a massive showdown with a maximum of 73 points left on the board for Brands Hatch’s two rounds.
Sennan Fielding will be hoping to fight for the runner’s-up spot in the MSA Formula championship in his JHR Developments-run car at the season finale meeting.
Rockingham’s round 22 of the MSA Formula Championship did not go so well for the 18 year-old Chesterfield racer who dropped down from 4th to 6th.
However, starting round 23 in 4th, he was soon in 2nd place holding it for the rest of the race and setting the fastest race lap, moving him into championship 3rd place.
Attempting to get a faster exit to the hairpin to chase 2nd place in round 24, Fielding slid wide on to the rubber debris ‘marbles’ and clouted the barriers into retirement, the Dronfield-based team’s boss Steven Hunter summed up, “Sennan had a brilliant idea and he would have won but for that…”.
Thankfully he lost only 1 championship place to 4th.
After a troubled Silverstone qualifying for round 25, Fielding made steady progress in his JHR car over the early laps, improving to 7th from his 11th-place start slot.
By the 7th lap of the reverse-grid race round 26, Fielding had taken the race lead from a front row start, but Ricky Collard started to close in.
A tense battle between Fielding and Collard for race lead had Collard nudge Fielding enough for the pair to run side-by-side down the pits straight.
Crossing the line one-thousandth of a second apart, Fielding was deposed at the start of the 19th tour to defend his 2nd place, before finishing 0.6 seconds behind.
Feeling cheated Fielding explained, “Ricky hit me quite hard a couple of times during the race, that’s where he managed to get in front…”
Fielding was cruelly robbed of a chance to lead the championship in a chaotic round 27 where the top-3 in the points table failed to make the start: fate gave him gearbox issues and retirement on the way to the grid. But his new JHR Developments teammate Jack Butel scored a season’s best 6th place adding to his third top-9 finish in round 26.
Now just 71 points off championship top spot, Fielding is one of a handful of drivers vying for the prestigious FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain MSA Formula Championship title, as the battle goes down to the wire at Brands Hatch…