Dan Zelos ended Jack Mitchell’s winning run in the 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship with a superb maiden car-racing victory in the opening race at Thruxton.
The JHR Developments rookie showed promise around the high-speed Hampshire circuit in pre-season testing, and converted that to become only the second different winner this season.
Championship leader Mitchell, who had won the first four races of the season, saw his streak end when he was the unfortunate victim of contact at the complex on lap one.
Lando Norris found himself shuffled onto the grass on the approach to the corner, and he made contact with Mitchell and James Kellett as he returned to the track. While Kellett could continue, Norris and Mitchell were out of the race.
As pole-sitter Ben Pearson led away Zelos, the main beneficiaries of the incident were Jamie Chadwick, Ryan Hadfield and Jamie Caroline, who moved up to fourth, fifth and sixth from eight twelfth and seventh on the grid respectively.
As the front three split away, Hadfield swiftly lost fourth to Caroline, before contact with Jack Rawles at Allard on lap five dropped them both to the bottom of the top ten.
The lead changed hands at the start of lap four, with a moment for Pearson exiting the final chicane allowing Zelos to get the run alongside him down the main straight, making the move stick into Allard.
Caroline soon joined the lead battle, and benefitted from an attempt at second from Chadwick to snatch third at the chicane on lap six. He then went on to grab second at the complex on the next lap, with Chadwick demoting Pearson to fourth later in the lap.
Zelos meanwhile was producing a consistent, confident drive to his first victory, with Caroline taking his second consecutive podium finish in second.
“It’s amazing, I can’t describe the feeling,” a delighted Zelos told TCF. “I really didn’t expect it either, I was over the moon qualifying third. I wanted to come away with a top five, so to come away with a win is amazing.”
Chadwick held off Pearson on the final lap to take her second podium of the year, while finishing fifth behind Pearson after a late recovery drive was Rawles.
“I got a good start, and there was a bit of contact – it was nice to be able to get away from that,” added Chadwick. “It was good to have a race at the front, it was a great race for me and with our progress, we’ve got a lot to look forward to for the rest of the season.”
William Taylforth completed the top six ahead of Matt Chapman and Ryan Hadfield, while storming back to ninth after his opening lap drama was reigning Winter Series champion Kellett.
Jonathan Hadfield took tenth after a busy race, the R&J Motorsport ace climbed up from seventeenth to a high of fifth before recovering well after being tipped into a spin.
Senna Proctor secured a seasons best eleventh ahead of Pedro Cardoso, the Brazilian having run as high as eighth early on, before a moment coming into the chicane dropped him back.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/141803gij.pdf