Declan Jones enjoyed a real confidence boost by taking his first ever top ten finish in the Ginetta Junior Championship during Round four at Donington Park. After a tough debut weekend at Brands Hatch, the youngster had a much better weekend in his Kelvin Jones Motorsport, family-run car.
Declan heading into qualifying in positive mood and took thirteenth overall, a result he was happy with, commenting: “I thought that was a pretty good effort. 13th wasn't too bad – especially considering it was only my second qualifying session and I am obviously still getting use to the Ginetta G40J.”
The first race saw him finish fourteenth, taking seven championship points, after losing a lap early on with front nose damage, as he explains: “I had a coming together on the second lap and that popped my bonnet. We had to come in and get that fixed. Then I went back out and my aim was just to finish and I did, even though I had another coming together with another kid, who just came across my nose and just cut me up.”
Race two proved the highlight of the weekend for the Chicago Soft-backed driver, running as high as sixth at one point, before spinning and recovering to eleventh. He was later promoted a place after a rival was disqualified for robust driving, giving Declan his maiden top ten.
Reflecting on race two, the 15 year old said: “The second race was a lot better. I was actually lying sixth at one point and just made a mistake and spun. That was a bit annoying. But other than that I thought it was a really great race.”
The weekend saw Declan take eighteen points overall, opening his account for the season and moving him to fifteenth in the championship ahead of the next two rounds at Thruxton.
Liverpool-based Declan added: “It was a massive learning weekend. But we still came out of it with a lot of points. I now feel a lot more comfortable – really comfortable with the car. I felt it was a really, really good weekend and the second race obviously pleased me most. I will be out to finish again at Thruxton and get some more points. That is what I need to do.”
Declan's father and team boss Kelvin was delighted with his son's progress over the weekend, saying: “I think Dec drove really well. After what happened at Brands, with two DNFs, his confidence had taken a bit of a knock. So what we really wanted this weekend was two finishes and that is exactly what we got.
“In the first race his nose came off after a coming together and it was rubbing on the wheel. He had to come in. But we got him out and at least he got to the end and got lots of precious miles under his belt. Then in the second race he had a good start and was up to sixth or seventh, before he made a mistake and fell back to twelfth. But then he made his way back up to tenth.
“Overall two finishes was good and I was really pleased with him. His confidence is back up. He just needs more time, more time in the car, and we will just keep working away now and working our way up the grid. For him to finish in his second-ever weekend and to finish in the top-ten was a very good result.
“We are now looking forward to Thruxton. Dec has never been to that track before. He will have to arrive and learn it. There is no pre-testing there. It is a very fast circuit. But I want him to show the same sort of form. I want him to use the Friday to learn the track, then qualify as best as he can and then try and collect some points until we go to our home race at Oulton Park on June 4-5.”