Ginetta Juniors Stat Attack: Croft

by Simon Paice

The Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship brought the first half of its 2016 campaign to a close with some more action-packed racing at Croft last weekend, and we’ve crunched the numbers to find out what it all means.

The opening day of action in North Yorkshire was led by Stuart Middleton, who became the first driver this season to top qualifying for a second time with his third career pole position.

Top spot continued Middleton’s run of qualifying in the top six in every session so far this season, a feat matched by Will Tregurtha and Seb Priaulx.

Alongside those three, Dave Wooder is the only other driver to post top ten times in each qualifying so far, with Lewis Brown dropping out for the first time with the thirteenth best time.

The top four consistent qualifiers are there not surprisingly topping the qualifying average chart; Middleton (2.40), Tregurtha (2.80), Wooder (4.20) and Priaulx (4.60).

Breaking into the top ten for the first time meanwhile was Enzo Fittipaldi, with the Brazilian being the only driver in the field to improve on their previous best qualifying result.

Fittipaldi Enjoyed A Real Breakthrough Weekend At Croft - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Fittipaldi Enjoyed A Real Breakthrough Weekend At Croft – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Middleton meanwhile would go on to convert his pole position into a pair of race wins on the opening day, the first time he has taken a double win on the same weekend in the main championship.

The victories has moved Middleton onto five wins for the season, whilst success in the final race of the weekend has put Tregurtha onto four wins so far.

Middleton, Tregurtha and Wooder all continued their run of finishing on the podium at least once in each race weekend this season. In fact, there hasn’t been a race so far this year in which either Middleton or Tregurtha hasn’t finished on the podium.

Races one and two of the meeting saw Middleton, Priaulx and Daniel Harper finish on the podium, which is the first time this year that the same three drivers have shared the rostrum in consecutive races.

One of those podiums saw Priaulx take a career best second place. Four other drivers also posted their best results in the series at Croft; Geri Nicosia (4th), Connor Grady (6th), Fittipaldi (8th) and Greg Johnson (16th).

Fittipaldi’s eighth place finish would also secure him a first appearance on the Rookie Cup podium, with a class win nonetheless – the sixth different Rookie winner of the campaign.

Another star Rookie performance came from series debutant Olli Caldwell, who finished on the class podium in his first race in the championship.

Caldwell's Junior Debut Came Just A Week After His 14th Birthday - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Caldwell’s Junior Debut Came Just A Week After His 14th Birthday – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

That came in fifth overall, making Caldwell the 15th different driver to finish in the top six this year, and the 19th out of 23 entrants so far to breach the top ten.

Cameron Roberts and Harper posted their first race fastest laps in the series across the weekend, with Brown taking the other, his fourth of the campaign to date.

It was a milestone weekend for Brown meanwhile as he reached fifty Ginetta Junior race starts in the opening race, while Charlie Fagg and Grady are now just one race shy of their quarter centuries.

The best overtakers of the weekend meanwhile were Roberts and Wooder, who gained 21 and 18 places respectively from their grid positions across the three races.

Roberts’ big move came in race three as he impressively climbed from 20th on the grid to 5th position, whilst one race earlier Wooder had climbed from P21 into 9th.

Following the six week summer break, the 2016 Ginetta Junior Championship returns to action at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend of July 30/31.

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