As highlighted in our Oulton Park preview, the trip to Cheshire has proven to be a game-changer in recent Ginetta Junior Championship title battles, with four of the last five champions taking double victories around the picturesque circuit on their way to championship success.
Will history repeat itself this season? That’s the burning question after Will Tregurtha added his name to the roll call of double Oulton victors two weeks ago, moving him into the championship lead for the first time ahead of the trip to Ginetta’s home circuit, Croft, this weekend.
Tregurtha’s advantage couldn’t be slimmer though, as only a solitary point puts him above the previous points-leader Stuart Middleton, who lost the lead despite a double podium finish of his own last time out to add to his three wins so far this campaign.
The third driver in the title picture at present is Dave Wooder, despite the TCR ace seeing an impressive 100% run of top four finishes come to an end at Oulton. He did pick up a sixth podium of the campaign though, having taken his maiden series win at Thruxton.
While those three have been the regular fixtures at the front of the field so far this campaign, there have been a host of other drivers making their presence felt in the battle for the podium positions, including HHC Motorsport duo Lewis Brown and Charlie Fagg.
A strong start to the year for Brown saw him notch a trio of top three results in the first five races and he’ll be keen to return to that sort of form this weekend, while Fagg is hoping to maximise the momentum from a maiden podium visit at Oulton.
Knocking firmly on the door are regular top five finishers Cameron Roberts and Geri Nicosia, while their JHR Developments team-mate Seb Perez and TCR man Connor Grady will be looking to push forwards after taking seasons best fourth and seventh place finishes respectively last time out.
One driver in the JHR ranks who will be hoping to kick-start his season at Croft is Kyle Hornby, who secured his maiden championship podium finish in the corresponding meeting twelve months ago, but has been so far been unable to return to those heights this year with a best result of seventh.
Two rookies to watch this weekend will be class leader Daniel Harper and fellow front-runner Seb Priaulx, who are both looking to bounce back from difficult meetings at Oulton Park and get back into the thick of the action at the front of the field.
Harper’s credentials were firmly showcased at Donington Park with a maiden outright win as part of a podium hat-trick, while Priaulx hasn’t qualified outside the top six overall so far this year and fought to a maiden top three finish at Thruxton.
They’re not the only rookies to impress so far this year though, with Tom Gamble currently sitting as Harper’s closest challenger in the class standings courtesy of a consistent campaign which has featured four Rookie Cup podiums and two outright top six finishes.
Elite Motorsport duo Harry King and Tom Wood have really made a name for themselves in recent meetings meanwhile, with Wood having taken a pair of Rookie Cup podiums at Oulton, while King is currently on a run of four consecutive class rostrums and took a best of fourth overall at Thruxton.
Max Bird was a Rookie Cup winner earlier in the season and Jordan Collard secured his first class podium at Oulton as he continues his progression in the series, while Enzo Fittipaldi, Dhyllan Skiba, Anthony Ayres and Greg Johnson will be aiming to notch their first class podiums.
Croft is the second triple-header meeting of the season so far, meaning after Friday’s regular practice sessions, the series will head straight into the ever-unpredictable qualifying on Saturday, with the series having produced thirteen different pole-sitters in the last fourteen sessions.
Saturday will also feature the first two races of the weekend, meaning some tight turnarounds for the teams and drivers between sessions, before the final reverse grid race of the meeting comes televised live on ITV4 on Sunday.
Full championship standings ahead of the weekend can be found here.