Priaulx Fends Off Late Harper Charge For Victory

by Simon Paice

Seb Priaulx and Dave Wooder are tied at the top of the 2016 Ginetta Junior Winter Series points standings with one race to go after Priaulx took victory in race three.

It was far from plain-sailing for the winner though, as he battled an increasingly greasy Brands Hatch circuit and a spirited late challenge from Daniel Harper.

Leading away from pole position, Priaulx had a relatively routine first half to the race in his JHR G40, building out a lead of nearly a second and a half ahead of Harper.

The gap was more than halved as the duo started to lap the backmarkers though, with Harper sensing an opportunity at victory in his Douglas Motorsport machine.

The Northern Irishman’s best chance came on lap thirteen as he drew alongside Priaulx coming out of Druids, but the leader maintained position through Graham Hill Bend.

Trading fastest laps next time around as a dry line formed on track, Priaulx was able to hold off Harper’s challenge to take his first victory of the weekend.

That came despite both drivers being handed five second penalties for exceeding track limits, with a race-long battle for third meaning no-one was close enough to take advantage.

Wooder held third on after passing Charlie Fagg on the opening lap, with the latter’s chances of a podium coming to an end at Druids after he was shoved down to tenth.

As the race progressed Wooder would start to come under pressure, with Tom Gamble eventually diving down the inside on lap eight, before Harry Dyson did the same next time around.

Leading rookie Dyson would briefly take third from Gamble at Paddock on lap eleven, but a forceful move back at Graham Hill would put JHR’s Gamble back in front.

Their battle would come to a stunning conclusion on the final lap, with those two and Wooder coming out of Clearways side-by-side for a photo-finish at the flag.

Unbelievably, it was Wooder who got his nose down the middle to rise from fifth to third ahead of Dyson and Gamble, the trio split by just a tenth of a second.

Connor Grady was sixth on the road, but a track limits penalty demoted him a position behind the recovering Fagg, with Jordan Collard taking eighth.

Morgan Quinn and Ruben Del Sarte completed the Rookie top three and the overall top ten ahead of Charlie Digby, who was another to receive a track limits penalty.

Jenson Dineen led home Keaten Samra and Greg Johnson in twelfth, the latter two enjoying a good battle during the race, with Katie Milner and Finley Green completing the finishers.

Full race results can be found here.

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