Douglas Motorsport bounced back from a disappointing weekend at their home circuit Rockingham to secure wins and podiums in the penultimate rounds of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship at Silverstone.
Andrew Watson led the way with a double podium, including his maiden win in the series, while Niall Murray took a crucial podium to keep the championship battle alive heading into the final rounds at Brands Hatch.
Watson showed his pace right from the start of the weekend, topping the times in free-practice, pace he carried into the opening race. From sixth on the grid, the Dungannon youngster was quickly up to second. Closing down a 2.8s gap to race leader Charlie Robertson, Watson made his move on the penultimate lap to take the lead, before fending off an attack on the final lap to secure his first victory of the season.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have taken my first win in the championship here at Silverstone,” said Watson. “I raced here last year so coming into the weekend I was pretty confidant that I could be on the lead pace. No matter how hard you try though there is no way of describing the buzz and feeling you get from winning especially in such a competitive championship as this one is!
“The second race was really enjoyable especially at the end! It was so close but luckily it ended up a reasonably clean finish for most of us after being in such a tight pack!”
Team-mate Murray was having less luck though, with a superb run at the start of the race undone when contact from title rival Sennan Fielding left him well down the order. Murray fought back well to finish sixth, before later being awarded fifth when Fielding was penalised for their incident.
The second race saw both Douglas Motorsport drivers right in the hunt for the race win throughout, with Watson and Murray quickly up to second and third respectively. First Watson made a challenge for the lead, but his unsuccessful attempt allowed Murray through to try, though an attempt for the lead at Maggotts saw him slide wide, promoting Watson back to second.
The race came down the final lap, with five cars heading into the penultimate corner side-by-side. Watson emerged in second, while Murray crossed the line three-abreast with Fielding and Will Palmer, with contact between the trio sending Murray and Palmer spinning after the line. Murray crossed the line fourth, but was promoted to third when Palmer received a penalty for exceeding track limits.
Commenting on the meeting, Murray said: “This weekend has been full of highs and lows, but I’m glad to say we’ve ended on a high with a return to the podium! With Charlie having some bad luck this weekend, I’m delighted to say it means the championship now goes down to the wire in Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time, but I will really need to hit the ground racing there! I’d like to say a special well done to my teammate Andrew Watson taking his first victory this year.”
Douglas Motorsport team boss Wayne Douglas added: “Andrew has been part of our Driver Development programme since early 2010 and his performance today is testament to the work both he and our team have put in. His pace all weekend has been superb and to reel in championship leader in the way he did in yesterday’s race just shows how good he is. I’m delighted that we’ve had yet another double podium for the team, which puts us back in a commanding lead of the teams championship. Brands Hatch is next up and I really hope we can come out on top in both the team and drivers championship.”