A grid full of brand new racing drivers made its competitive debut at Rockingham Motor Speedway this weekend, and what a weekend it was!
Want2race competition winner Phil Ingram dominated qualifying, setting a 1:37.087s pole time, some two and a half seconds ahead of his closest rival Jack Oliphant.
A slow getaway saw the pole man drop to third off the line, with Oliphant sweeping into the lead. The safety car was scrambled after Keith Gibson got stuck out at Yentwood, but a quick recovery meant racing was back underway by lap four.
Oliphant made a good restart, pulling away from the pack as they got back up to full speed. Ingram had recovered to second place, but Tetlow had other ideas. The two traded places throughout the race, but the latter had to settle behind in the end.
As with much of the field, rookie racing didn’t mean they were afraid to go side by side, and there were plenty of mini-battles taking place throughout the field. Whilst the top six of Oliphant, Ingram, Tetlow, Richard Isherwood, David Holloway and Richard Anderson ran together, behind there was a fantastic scrap between Ron Linn, Rob Morgan, Karim Sekkat and Sam Baxter. Spins for both Isherwood and Oliphant dashed their hopes of champagne and silverware, leaving Ingram to sweep through and take the first honours of 2016, from Tetlow and Holloway.
The second race of the day saw Oliphant enjoy
the better start once again, but it was race one winner Ingram who had snatched back what would become an unassailable lead as the field completed the opening lap. Tetlow shuffled his way past Oliphant to move into third and with that, the threesome enjoyed an untroubled session bar some early nibbles at Oliphant’s heels by Anderson and Isherwood.
As the top five cars all found their own space on the track, eyes were firmly on the fantastic battle in the mid pack. Karim Sekkat, Rob Morgan, Barry Trumper, Simon Kersey, David Holloway, Sam Baxter, Keith Gibson and Ben Low all squabbled for bragging rights in the Ginetta race centre.
Proving that novice racing drivers aren’t afraid to get their elbows out, there was position swapping aplenty for the final spots inside the top 10. With the battle looking set to go to the very final corner, a huge tank slapper for Morgan saw him lose traction and collect Kersey in the process, ending their race just inches from the chequered flag.
As the action drew to a close, it was a perfect weekend for Ingram, taking home pole positions, wins and fastest laps on his racing debut. One thing will be certain though, when the series resumes at Silverstone on June 11/12, everyone will be looking to beat Mr Ingram.
Full timings from all Ginetta Racing Drivers Club sessions can be found by clicking here.