Declan Jones rounded off an impressive debut British GT season with another convincing victory in the GT4 class, narrowly missing out on championship glory.
The 18-year-old began the year with two victories at Oulton Park, proving to many that despite his inexperience, he was going to be a force to be reckoned with throughout the year.
Jones went in to Donington 12.5 points behind championship leaders Rick Parfitt, Jr and Ryan Ratcliffe, and was confident of a good result, despite having never driven on the full Donington Park circuit.
An engine failure in qualifying meant that Jones and team-mate Nathan Freke could only manage a fourth place grid slot, having set the fastest time in practice two, 0.2 seconds faster than the Optimum duo.
Freke started the race behind the wheel and was soon at the top of the pile, pulling out a sizeable advantage before handing over to Jones, who continued the good form to bring the car home in first place.
The victory marked Jones’ sixth trip to the podium in 2013, but missed out on winning the championship by an agonising two points.
“It was fantastic to get the win, but it is a bitter-sweet result,” said Jones. “I really wanted to get a British Championship under my belt and to come so close is quite frustrating. We have done everything we could though this weekend and it was great having Nathan as my team-mate again. Congratulations to Ryan and Rick and all at Optimum on the title win.”
“It was a good result and I think we did an exceptional job to win, especially considering we had some catalytic converters fail, an engine blow up in qualifying and 40kg extra lead ballast,” added Declan’s father and manager, Kelvin. “We knew coming into the weekend after Zandvoort that it was going to be hard in terms of the championship. However you can only go out and win the race and we did that. That is all we could do, We are looking forward now to trying to put something together for 2014. Hopefully we can do that sooner rather than later.”