Jack Mitchell continued his early dominance of the 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship with his third victory in a row during the opening race of the weekend at Donington Park.
The JHR Developments ace led the eleven lap encounter from start to finish, but certainly didn’t have things all his own way as championship rookie Lando Norris hounded him over the first half of the race.
Poleman Mitchell led a close four car train in the early stages, with James Kellett and Ryan Hadfield in close contention. Norris made a couple of challenges for the lead, but Mitchell fended him off well, with it quickly becoming a two-horse battle as the battle for third dropped back.
Despite Norris’ best efforts, Mitchell began to edge away in his Airwaves Racing-backed G40J, and went on to claim victory by 1.581 seconds, with Norris claiming his maiden car-racing podium with a hard-fought second.
The battle for third was decided five laps from the end, with Hadfield forcing his way alongside coming out of the final chicane, before making the move stick into Redgate. That earned him his second podium of the season with third, leaving Kellett to settle for fourth.
Behind, there was a frenetic battle to complete the remainder of the top ten. A three car battle developed for fifth, with Ben Pearson briefly gaining the place on lap four from Jack Rawles. The latter fought back further around the lap though, with Pearson also falling behind Jonathan Hadfield.
Hadfield quickly dispatched Rawles at the final chicane a lap later, leaving the privateer to defend from Pearson once again. The R & J Motorsport ace made another move on lap six, but was forced onto the grass from a fiercely defending Rawles, with their continued battle dropping them into the pack behind.
Hadfield took fifth at the flag, with Jamie Caroline emerging from a superb battle behind to complete the top six ahead of William Taylforth and Alex Sedgwick, with Rawles and Pearson eventually rounding out the top ten.
A frustrated eleventh was Jamie Chadwick, the JHR Developments ace proving unable to make the forward progress she’d hoped for. One driver making plenty of forward momentum though was her team-mate Dan Zelos, who worked his way up from twentieth on the grid to finish twelfth.
“It was a very hard race, Lando [Norris] was very quick, and it’s clear that coming from karting he’s got some good racecraft,” Mitchell told TCF. “At the start of the race I just had to hold my line, and at one point he did make a move, but I managed to block it.
“The pressure then died down, so for the rest of the race I just had to try and stop the tow on the straight, and once I’d managed to break that, I could set some fast laps and stay out in front.”
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/141603gij.pdf