Dan Zelos made an “important” return to the Ginetta Junior Championship podium at Silverstone last weekend to keep himself right in contention for a top three finish in the points standings.
Zelos secured sixth on the grid in a close-fought qualifying session on Saturday – second to seventh separated by 0.120 seconds on the timesheet – a result that put him right in the thick of the action across the two races.
Gaining two places on the opening lap of race one, Zelos climbed to a high of second in the middle of the race before slipping to third behind his JHR Developments team-mate Senna Proctor, that being his sixth visit to the podium this season.
A rollercoaster second race saw Zelos run up in second place again through an early safety car period, before he was shuffled back to eighth at the restart. A battling performance saw him climb back up to fifth, before losing a couple of spots again on the final lap.
“We prepared well and went into qualifying knowing we were in the hunt but we didn’t put ourselves in quite the right place on the track. Still, sixth was far from a disaster and I immediately gained ground at the start of race one,” said Zelos.
“With so many cars in the leading group it was a huge slipstreaming battle with constant side-by-side action and dicing for position and a lot of split-second decisions to be made! I was happy to finish third in the end. It was important to be back on the podium, it represented a good haul of points for the championship.
“The first half of race two went really well, and by lap four I was lining up [Patrik] Matthiesen for the lead, but then the safety car bunched us all up again. After the re-start, all hell let loose and I was bundled down towards the bottom of the top ten. The order yo-yoed from corner-to-corner.
“Although it was obviously disappointing to finish seventh when we had run much further up, in the circumstances it was almost a relief to get a finish at all and I can’t deny it was a very enjoyable race.”
Zelos heads into the final rounds of the season at Brands Hatch next weekend just four points adrift of Lewis Brown in the battle for the final position in the championship top three, with it also being a poignant meeting for Zelos as he brings his two-year tenure in the Juniors to an end.
“It’s hard to believe Brands Hatch will be my final weekend in Ginetta Juniors – it seems like only yesterday I was nervously making my debut,” he reflected.
“It’s been a great two years with a lot of highs and inevitably also some lows, and hopefully it will lead on to even bigger and better things in the future. In the meantime, though, let’s see if we can sign off with one last high…”