Jack Mitchell could wrap up the 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship title with a meeting to spare this weekend at Silverstone, the JHR Developments racer heading into the penultimate meeting of the season with an 80 point lead at the head of the standings.
It’s been far from a spectacular run to the title in recent meetings for Mitchell, who’s been unable to match the pace of in-form HHC Motorsport duo James Kellett and Lando Norris, but the 16 year old has been steadily accruing the points required while benefitting from any mistakes by his title rivals.
Kellett and Norris headed into the last meeting at Rockingham with all the momentum after sharing the previous six win between themselves, and looked like they could push Mitchell close in the standings if things went their way in Corby.
The opening race swung the pendulum firmly back into Mitchell’s favour, with last corner contact while dicing for the lead for Norris and a time penalty for a jump-starting Kellett giving podium finishing Mitchell a huge chunk of points back.
While the HHC duo, who posted a fifth one-two finish of the season in the second Rockingham race, are not out of the running, it will now take a disaster for Mitchell for him to let the title slip in the final four races.
Mitchell heads to Silverstone knowing that if his lead sits at 75 points or more after the weekend, the JHR Developments driver will be crowned champion. To maintain that advantage, realistically Mitchell needs to finish in front of his rivals in at least one race, and finish in close pursuit in the other.
Best of the rest in the standings is now Dan Zelos, the JHR racer having followed up a last gasp second win of the season at Rockingham with a seventh podium of an increasingly impressive maiden campaign.
Those results have moved Zelos four points ahead of Ryan Hadfield in the fight for fourth. Hadfield has been back battling at the front with four top five finishes in the last six races, but with his last podium coming at Oulton Park in June, the in-form Zelos is favourite to take the position.
One to watch is Jamie Caroline, the Total Control Racing ace having returned to the front at Rockingham with his fantastic fight for victory with Norris. Having taken his first top four finishes since Oulton, Caroline is sure to be in contention to add to his four podium finishes from the first half of the campaign.
Returning to the podium is something Jamie Chadwick has achieved in recent meetings, notching up third place finishes at Knockhill and Rockingham. Those results have moved her six points shy of Ben Pearson in sixth in the standings, with both drivers still targeting their maiden category victories.
For Chadwick’s JHR team-mates Senna Proctor and Alex Sedgwick, Rockingham proved to be a tougher outing than usual, with neither finishing in the top eight in the races. Both will be aiming to return to the form that saw them post season best third and fourth place finishes respectively at Knockhill.
Amongst the other drivers sure to be in contention for top ten finishes are Jack Rawles, who took his third top five finish of the season at Rockingham, new TCR driver Billy Monger and team-mate Matt Chapman, and Jonathan Hadfield who has been in the wars a lot this year but has top six finishes to his name.
The penultimate weekend of the season kicks off with free practice on Saturday (27th) at 10.50, with qualifying following at 14.45. Both races will take place on Sunday (28th) at 11.15 and 16.30.