The title battle in the 2015 Ginetta Junior Championship is heating up as the series prepares for its visit to Rockingham this weekend, with just three points separating the championship top two with six races remaining of a thrilling season.
Just as Jamie Caroline looked like he was going to pull clear of the pack with a run of five consecutive victories, a nightmare second race at Knockhill last time out has allowed Senna Proctor to return to the top of the standings.
Proctor had been the early pace-setter with wins on each of the opening two weekends of the season, before keeping in touch with regular podium finishes while Caroline enjoyed his dominant spell at the front of the pack.
That meant Proctor was able to capitalise on Caroline’s Scottish troubles to regain the title advantage after securing his third win of the campaign – but Caroline is sure to be fighting back at Rockingham, a circuit he looked set to win at last year before being the victim of last corner contact.
The beneficiary that day was Dan Zelos who took the win and then a third place; and twelve months on both he and his JHR Developments team-mate Billy Monger remain outside bets for the title, despite wildly contrasting weekends at Knockhill – Zelos taking two podiums, Monger having to fight back after a race one DNF.
Zelos, who now leads Monger by five points in third in the standings, is keen to capitalise on a recent return to form with more success in Corby, while Monger will be hoping to repeat his double podium, race-winning heroics from Snetterton four weeks ago.
One to watch this weekend meanwhile will be Lewis Brown, who enjoyed the best weekend of his Junior career to date at Knockhill with two podiums, while his R&J Motorsport team-mate Jonathan Hadfield will aim to carry the momentum over from a long-awaited return to the top five in Scotland.
Matt Chapman is another to have enjoyed a career best outing at Knockhill with his maiden Junior top six finishes, and having shown top three practice pace in the last two race meetings, he could well be a podium contender this weekend.
The top rookies in the championship at the moment are Patrik Matthiesen, Stuart Middleton, Kyle Hornby and Will Tregurtha, and all four will be keen to bounce back from tough Knockhill outings and challenge for the outright podium this time out.
Devlin DeFrancesco took his maiden Rookie Cup win in Scotland as he became the 21st different driver to have finished in the outright top ten this season in just his fifth race in the series, a feat his fellow late starter and HHC Motorsport team-mate Charlie Fagg has achieved twice so far.
Fellow newbie Connor Grady and Frank Bird are next in line to break into the top ten, having secured career best finishes of eleventh and twelfth respectively at Knockhill, while JHR duo Esmee Hawkey and Rowan Bailey are also looking to reach that milestone.
One to watch at Rockingham meanwhile will be Ben Green, who has shown impressive progress this season with three top ten finishes so far. After seeing a maiden Rookie victory taken away from him at Knockhill due to a penalty, he’ll be eager to make amends this time out.
With Geri Nicosia, Sebastian Perez, Dave Wooder, Cameron Roberts and Alex Day all also capable of being in the top ten battle, the Junior Championship is looking as competitive as ever ahead of the action this weekend, with the slipstreaming on the Rockingham banking always helping produce some fantastically close racing.
Full championship standings ahead of the weekend can be found here.