Matt Chapman matched his career-best Ginetta Junior Championship result with a hard-earned seventh place finish at Thruxton last weekend, ending the meeting with his first two top ten finishes of the season.
Chapman qualified his Total Control Racing Ginetta G40 ninth on the grid around the high-speed Hampshire circuit, and was running in the middle of a multi-car scrap for the top ten throughout the opening race.
After setting the fastest lap of the race on lap seven, Chapman climbed into the top eight before a climatic end to proceedings – contact between rivals ahead into the final chicane left Chapman taking avoiding action, but despite being tagged he was able to bring his car home in seventh.
The opening to race two saw Chapman suffer more contact, with a hit to his right rear forcing him off track with damaged steering and a bent rear wheel. The 15 year old battled on though and following two safety car periods, he made some late progress to eighth at the finish.
“It’s been quite eventful but I’m happy to come away with two good finishes and the fastest lap of the weekend – that’s really good,” said Chapman.
“The races didn’t go how we wanted them to, there was a lot of contact, so to pick up some good points and show our pace is as much as we could have done.”
Chapman’s team-mate Cameron Roberts also picked up his best finish of the season so far with a seventh place of his own in race two, on top of a first top five qualifying result.
After running in the top ten for a long period in race one, a moment late on dropped Roberts to eighteenth at the finish. From the ninth row in race two, the rookie superbly climbed through the field though to lead Chapman home.
Fellow TCR contender Dave Wooder saw a great qualifying performance go unrewarded in the races, as a lap time just 0.036 seconds shy of pole put him a seasons best third on the grid.
Whilst running in the top six in race one, unfortunate contact with a rival at the complex led to a spin down to 16th place at the finish. A superb opening lap to race two had seen him pick up eight places, however significant front-end damage when running ninth soon after forced him to retire in the pits.
“It’s been another tough weekend in the Juniors, a lot of contact unfortunately, but all three lads showed their pace and really deserved a lot more,” said TCR team principal Lee Brookes.
“Dave could easily have been on the podium and Cameron and Matt showed they had the pace to run at the front too – especially Matt with the fastest lap of the weekend in race one.
“We know what all three are capable of – they just need a fair break without getting caught-up in any of the contact. We’re disappointed the results haven’t been better, we know we’ve got the pace to be on the podium, but the performances have still been strong and that’s the main thing.”