With a mammoth 25 car entry including 17 rookies taking to the grid, the 2015 Ginetta Junior Championship kicked off in action-packed fashion at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, with the opening weekend of the season proving it is going to be a wildly unpredictable campaign.
With a pair of rookies topping qualifying, two drivers securing their maiden race wins and sixteen different drivers finishing in the top ten across the opening two rounds, the Junior series looks as competitive as ever as it prepares for a visit to Donington Park this weekend for Rounds Three and Four.
With the two pre-season favourites for success Dan Zelos and Jamie Caroline, the only two returning race-winners from 2014, having relatively subdued starts to the season over Easter Weekend, it was Billy Monger and Senna Proctor who stole the headlines in Kent.
Monger led from lap two to the finish in the opening race, and was set to make it two from two until a last lap, last corner move from Caroline pushed them both wide, allowing Proctor to steal the victory and with it the early championship lead after securing third place in race one.
Caroline eventually finished second in that race to add to a lowly tenth in the opener, while Zelos could only take ninth and fifth place finishes. Both drivers will be hoping to re-establish themselves at the front of the grid this weekend, particularly Caroline at the scene of his maiden Ginetta Junior podium twelve months ago.
The real surprise package at Brands Hatch was HHC Motorsport’s Patrik Matthiesen, the Danish racer converting pole position to a pair of outright podium finishes and Rookie Cup victories on his Junior debut – with an outright win the next milestone to aim for at Donington.
A host of rookies impressed on the opening weekend, with reigning Scholarship winner Stuart Middleton converting a front-row grid slot in qualifying to fourth in the opening race, with fellow newcomers Sophia Floersch and Will Tregurtha also breaking into the top six.
While William Stacey just missed out with seventh in the opening race, he did set the fastest lap of the race en-route, and is another to watch this weekend alongside fellow top ten finishing rookies Geri Nicosia, Kyle Hornby and Cameron Roberts.
Rowan Bailey and Esmee Hawkey will be aiming to bounce back from a big accident in race two at Brands Hatch, while second year contenders Lewis Brown and Jonathan Hadfield will be looking to build on opening weekend top six finishes and secure maiden Ginetta Junior podiums.
The expected 25 car entry will kick off their weekend with free practice on Saturday morning at 09:30, with a busy day also featuring qualifying at 14:30 and Round Three at 17:00. Round Four follows on Sunday at 13:40, televised live on ITV4, online at itv.com/itv4 and on the ITV Player and Sky Go apps.
The championship standings heading into the Donington Park weekend can be seen here.