Dan Zelos has told The Checkered Flag that his 2014 Ginetta Junior Championship campaign produced above and beyond all his expectations after the rookie starred with two races wins and fourth overall in his maiden season.
Zelos was part of a formidable JHR Developments line-up for the season, sharing the awning with eventual champion Jack Mitchell and the last two Ginetta Scholarship winners Jamie Chadwick and Alex Sedgwick.
In the biggest and most competitive Junior grid for a few years, Zelos starred with a maiden win and a third at Thruxton, a pair of results he matched at Rockingham later in the year.
On top of those, the 16 year old took four other podium finishes across the campaign including three in a row around the mid-season summer break – all in his ‘learning year’ in the category.
“The season has been a lot more than I’d have asked for. We went into the year aiming for a few top ten finishes, maybe a Rookie Cup here or there, so to come away with a couple of outright wins and eight podiums is brilliant, it’s gone so much better than I expected,” Zelos told TCF.
“Having all the data from Jack [Mitchell] and Jamie [Chadwick] from last year really helped, and me and the team have just kept improving as the season has gone on, getting used to all the tracks and making the little improvements.”
It was at Thruxton in May that Zelos’ firmly established himself as a championship front-runner, having earlier hinted at his potential with fifth overall and a Rookie Cup win on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch.
The Evergreen-backed racer excelled around the high-speed Hampshire circuit, with a stunning victory in the opener and a hard-fought third in race two setting him on his way to a hugely successful campaign.
“Something just clicked for us at Thruxton and suddenly I was there at the front. It was unexpected really, I put it third on the grid and just wanted to get some consistent finishes from it,” he reflected.
“When it opened up for me and I got the win, it was amazing, I couldn’t really explain my feelings. To get a first victory so early in the season was great, and I was really glad when I got the second win at Rockingham too, as it meant I could show people it wasn’t a fluke,
“After Thruxton, to be on the pace at most the meetings, taking podiums through the season, was brilliant. It all puts us in a very good position for next year.”
With an impressive first season under his belt, Zelos’ attention is now turning towards 2015 and a return to the Ginetta Junior grid.
After an appearance in the Winter Series at his local circuit Snetterton this November, the Norfolk-based racer will be heading into the new year with just one goal in his mind.
“The championship is the target, it’s the main aim for me and the team,” he concluded.
“It’s going to be a completely different season next year, and it could even be a bigger grid than this season, so we’ll see what happens.”