Seventh Heaven For Caroline With Rockingham Victory

Jamie Caroline held off a late charge from Stuart Middleton to take his seventh Ginetta Junior Championship victory of the season in the opening race of the weekend at Rockingham, in the process regaining the points lead.

Caroline jumped pole-sitter Devlin DeFrancesco off the line to lead the field through the turn one banking, with DeFrancesco eventually slipping to third through Deene Hairpin to his fast-starting team-mate Patrik Matthiesen.

That all changed on the second lap, with a spin for Matthiesen through Pif Paf forcing DeFrancesco off track in avoidance. That promoted Middleton into second, closely followed by erstwhile points leader Senna Proctor and his JHR Developments team-mate Dan Zelos.

DeFrancesco’s race would go from bad to worse, with another slide wide at Pif Paf on lap four as he tried to pass his team-mate Charlie Fagg, before going off again at Gracelands on the next lap after contact with Esmee Hawkey.

At the front, Middleton had shrugged off some early attention from Proctor and soon started closing a two second gap to Caroline ahead. By lap seven he was only seven tenths adrift and looking to forge an opportunity to pass.

Despite the reigning Scholarship winner’s best efforts though, he was unable to create a clear overtaking chance, with Caroline going on to take victory by 0.383s at the flag as Middleton secured his second outright podium of the campaign.

Proctor enjoyed a relatively comfortable run to his tenth rostrum finish of 2015 in third, with Zelos in fourth and Lewis Brown taking his ninth consecutive top six finish in fifth, with Dave Wooder taking his maiden top six result behind.

A frantic six car battle behind saw positions change throughout the ten lap encounter, with Matt Chapman eventually emerging in seventh ahead of Fagg, Billy Monger, Ben Green, Matthiesen and Alex Day.

DeFrancesco eventually ended up fourteenth behind Kyle Hornby, while Jonathan Hadfield finished up down in twentieth after some early troubles. Also coming to grief on the opening lap was Geri Nicosia, with contact at Pif Paf leading to his retirement.

Full race results can be found here.