While the destination of the outright 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship title has already been decided in favour of Will Tregurtha, the Rookie Cup is still very much up for grabs heading into this weekend’s season finale at Brands Hatch.
Tregurtha sealed the overall title with a battling trio of top five finishes across the penultimate meeting of the year at Silverstone, and with everything wrapped up, the HHC Motorsport man has made the decision to skip the finale weekend and start turning his attention to 2017.
His season-long competition for the honours, Stuart Middleton, will be in action though and the Douglas Motorsport ace will be determined to end the year on a high after seeing a worst qualifying of the year and two nightmare races at Silverstone end his title ambitions.
While HHC have taken their fourth drivers title in the last five seasons, as well as comfortably reclaiming the Teams Championship for the first time since 2013, Douglas could still end the year with silverware as their driver Daniel Harper leads the chase for the Rookie crown.
The reigning Scholarship winner has led the class standings since Donington Park in April, having taken his first three outright podiums that weekend to which he’s added four more since, however a couple of tricky meetings mean his advantage at the top has been slashed.
His competition comes from the in-form Seb Priaulx and Harry King, who moved seven and 36 points shy of Harper respectively with outright podium finishes at Silverstone – Priaulx taking his maiden series win in race two, King notching a pair of third places.
With dropped scores applied Harper’s advantage over Priaulx doubles, meaning that a top two overall finish in race one would be enough to seal the title for the Northern Irishman if Priaulx retired – but realistically the battle will go all the way to the final race of the campaign.
It’s not just the Rookie prize to be decided at Brands though, with Dave Wooder and Lewis Brown still fighting it out for third in the standings, while fifth overall is still up for grabs between Geri Nicosia, Harper and Priaulx.
Wooder holds third at present following a sensational weekend at Silverstone, the Total Control Racing ace having secured the biggest points haul of anyone so far this season with two wins and a second place – his podium treble moving him up to a dozen for the campaign.
Brown sits 37 points adrift meanwhile after only featuring on the podium once in the last eleven races, a run the Donington Park race-winner knows he’ll need to improve upon if he is to secure third in the championship for a second successive season.
Only eight points separate Nicosia, Harper and Priaulx in the fight for fifth meanwhile, with the former having moved himself into contention with a superb weekend at Knockhill last month, during which he carded his maiden series win.
In the remainder of the top ten and beyond there is still plenty to race for at Brands Hatch, with Charlie Fagg being one of those determined to climb onto the top step of the podium in the final two races after returning to the podium with a third at Silverstone.
Keen to repeat their podium heroics from Rockingham and Knockhill respectively will be Seb Perez and Connor Grady, while podium finisher from 2015 Kyle Hornby will want to bring a subdued season to a close on a high with a first top three of the year.
Tom Wood meanwhile has fourth in the Rookie standings sewn up, so can focus on trying to add to his two outright podiums to far, while Jordan Collard and Olli Caldwell head into the finale as firm contenders for the overall top ten.
Harry Dyson is one to watch after starring with a Rookie podium on his series debut at Silverstone, likewise Anthony Ayres and Jenson Dineen who both took seasons best results last time out, while Greg Johnson is on the verge of a top twelve breakthrough.
The weekend’s action kicks off with free practice at 09:30 on Saturday morning, with qualifying and race one following that afternoon at 15:10 and 17:30 respectively. The final race of the season, televised live on ITV4, comes up at 13:00 on Sunday.
Full championship standings ahead of the weekend can be found here.