Steven Hunter’s JHR Developments team celebrated taking back-to-back titles for 4½ hours, when Senna Proctor won for them the 2015 KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Drivers Championship crown, in the season finale at Brands Hatch: then at 6:30pm amended results were issued that dropped Proctor down into championship runner’s-up position.
The Dronfield-based team arrived at the Kent circuit knowing the 16 year-old had championship 2nd-place in the bag, and a shot at the title, being only 10 points behind table-topper, Jamie Caroline.
Although when Caroline won the penultimate round 19, with Proctor finishing 4th, JHR knew it would be tough to take the title unless Caroline had a bad final race.
Their prayers were answered when Caroline and JHR drivers Dan Zelos and Billy Monger jumped round 20’s start.
Proctor revealed, “I saw the ‘drive through penalty’ boards for Jamie, Billy and Dan. Then I knew I had a bit of a gap and a breathing space, as they peeled off and I took the lead”.
A red flag stopped the race two laps early, and also Caroline’s ability to climb through the field and score vital extra points.
Senna Proctor is congratulated by his JHR team engineer Jules on winning the title
Winning the race by over 3 seconds, to the team’s delight Proctor had done it, “it’s amazing to be champion by just a single point!”.
With Caroline finishing in 17th place, to grab additional points for the title his team protested every car ahead, the officials giving Stuart Middleton a thirty second jump start penalty that dropped him behind Caroline.
This promoted Caroline up a place and gave him an extra point, so that he and Proctor were now level on 473 points, but Caroline clinched the title care of having more race wins than Proctor.
Feeling cheated Middleton lodged an appeal to the UK motorsport governing body’s MSA tribunal and 18 days after the race the championship results were declared official, although unfortunately for JHR it went in Caroline’s favour the appeal bid being rejected, the original penalty upheld.
“Unbelievable…”, was Proctor’s crest-fallen response, “but all my thanks to JHR for the season – my consistency helped get me to the top”.
Proctor had actually amassed more points– 497 to 495 – than Caroline (but only the best 14 races count), and driving to a higher standard kept his nose cleaner, having only 6 penalty points compared to the new champion’s 18 points – no stranger to the Clerk of the Course’s office post-race.
One consolation is that JHR won the Ginetta Junior Team’s championship: Hunter summed up, “It has been an up and down year and good to be in with a shout at both championships. We had resilient drivers conquering adversity who kept batting on”.
But it left Hunter with a sour taste, “to crown a champion then take it away is somewhat questionable, but I’ve moved on. The 2015 Kick Start Ginetta Junior championship is the past and I’m concentrating on the 2016 Kick Start Ginetta Junior championship now…”