Sennan Fielding cruised to victory in Round Four of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship at Donington Park, the JHR Developments driver’s first win of the season giving him a 23 point championship lead.
The opening race of the weekend proved to be a dramatic affair, ending with a red flag after a big accident at Coppice claimed four cars. With all classed as write-offs, Ginetta worked hard overnight to bring brand new cars to Donington, allowing George Gamble, Elliot Paterson, Pepe Massot and William Palmer onto the grid.
Gamble was set to start the race from pole, however the local driver opted not to compete in the race after spending the evening in hospital after the crash, meaning that it was his Hillspeed team-mate Nathan Harrison who started the race on his own on the front row.
A good start for Harrison saw him lead into the first corner, followed by Charlie Robertson and Fielding, while a fantastic move around the outside at Redgate saw Niall Murray move up to fifth from eighth on the grid, the Irishman slotting in behind Oliver Chadwick.
Murray was straight on the attack, passing Chadwick for fourth at Chadwick, before following Fielding past Robertson at Copice to move into third. Rookie Harrison held the lead until the end of the second lap, when Fielding forced his way past at the Fogarty Esses, the JHR Developments driver taking the lead of a close seven car train.
In the train, Chadwick, fighting back after falling down early on, squeezed past Massot at Redgate for fifth, however contact later in the lap at the Craner Curves sent Chadwick spinning off, the JHR man able to recover at the back of the field.
Ahead, Douglas Motorsport's Murray forced his way past Harrison into the Esses for second, with Robertson following through to take third, the Scotsman then getting on the offensive and challenging Murray.
As Fielding crept clear at the front, Robertson started to challenge and looked to sneak up the inside at the Esses on lap four, however slight contact with the rear of Murray sent him spinning round, with Harry Woodhead behind ending up in the barriers as he tried to avoid the spinning Murray.
While Robertson and Murray recovered to eighth and tenth respectively, now in second place was Massot, the Spaniard leading Oliver Basey-Fisher, Harrison and Andrew Watson. Harrison quickly squeezed past the reigning Ginetta Scholarship winner Basey-Fisher at McLeans on lap five, with Watson following through at Coppice, however a lap later the positions were all change again, Watson and Basey-Fisher getting ahead of Harrison once again.
As well as the fight for the podium places, all eyes were also on Robertson and Murray, with the duo working their way into sixth and seventh respectively at Redgate on the penultimate lap. The race-winners ran closely down the Craner Curves and in the braking zone for the Old Hairpin, contact in the rear of Robertson by Murray sent the HHC Motorsport driver spinning off in the gravel and out of the race.
Ahead, Fielding cruised home to take the flag by over seven seconds from a delighted Massot and Watson, the duo picking up their maiden Ginetta Junior podiums. Basey-Fisher took fourth from Harrison, with Murray ending up sixth on the road, however the Irishman was later excluded from the results for the incident with Robertson at the Old Hairpin.
This promoted Keith Donegan and Tom Jackson into sixth and seventh respectively, with Chadwick, Finlay Ratcliffe and Paterson completing the finishers, while Palmer retired on lap one with a mechanical problem.
Speaking after the podium celebrations, Fielding told TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk: “I started off with a great start, got past Charlie and Nathan and went from there. The gap between me and second place just increased and increased, so I couldn't ask for any more.
“I couldn't see anything that was going on behind me and I didn't want to look, in case they were catching me and I made a mistake or something. I just concentrated on my own race and just kept going. We've come away from this weekend very strong and fingers crossed for Thruxton.”
A delighted Watson commented: “Two or three drivers went off in front of me, but I don't think I was gifted it too easy, I still had to pass a few people. It felt like I drove very well and took my chances when they were on and was delighted with my race. The podium hasn't quite sunk in yet, I'm just delighted. That was my goal for the season, to get a podium, and for it to happen on the second weekend is massive for me and gives me a big confidence boost going into the rest of the season.”
Provisional Ginetta Junior Championship Standings (After Rd. 4):
1. Sennan Fielding – 102 points
2. Niall Murray – 79 points
3. Andrew Watson – 78 points
4. Charlie Robertson – 70 points
5. Ollie Chadwick – 60 points
6. Nathan Harrison – 56 points
7. Keith Donegan – 55 points
8. Oliver Basey-Fisher – 51 points
9. George Gamble – 50 points
10. Harry Woodhead – 50 points