Wooder Battles To Win In Busy Winter Opener

by Simon Paice

Dave Wooder has secured the first win of the 2016 Ginetta Junior Winter Series after battling through from fourth on the grid to victory in a chaotic opener at Brands Hatch.

It was Daniel Harper who started the race from the front, but a slow launch from the notoriously difficult pole position spot at Brands meant he slipped to third heading into Paddock Hill.

That allowed Harry King to take the race lead from Seb Priaulx, though the latter’s hold on second was short-lived as Harper dived down the inside at Paddock on lap two.

The action was halted soon after though after Harry Dyson found himself beached in the Paddock gravel trap – the first of many drivers to suffer drama in the treacherous conditions.

At the restart Harper was immediately putting King under pressure for the lead, whilst behind a great run through Paddock allowed Wooder to slip into third at Druids.

By the end of the lap it would be Harper in the lead following a brilliant switchback manoeuvre through Clearways, though King would fight back at Druids on the next lap.

As the duo battled though, Wooder was somehow able to slipstream past both on the approach to Graham Hill Bend, which put him clear as drama unfolded behind.

Contact from behind by King would spin Harper around for a full 360, with the Douglas Motorsport man emerging in seventh, two places behind King.

Priaulx and Charlie Fagg would benefit most to take the podium positions as the safety car boards emerged again – this time for Finley Green ending up in the Paddock gravel.

That left it as a two lap shootout to the flag, but there would be no change to the top four positions as Wooder took the victory from Priaulx, Fagg and King.

Reigning Rookie Cup champion Harper was the man on the move late on meanwhile, passing his Douglas team-mate Connor Grady and then Tom Gamble to take the flag in fifth.

Gamble was sixth on the road, but a ten second penalty for a false start would demote him to eleventh, with Grady completing the top six ahead of the Rookie winner Morgan Quinn.

Post-race however, King was handed a two second time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage, which dropped him from fourth to sixth in the final results behind Harper and Grady.

Charlie Digby and Jordan Collard were eighth and ninth respectively, the latter completing an impressive drive through from the back of the grid, with Keaton Samra rounding out the top ten.

Jenson Dineen, Ruben Del Sarte, Katie Milner and Greg Johnson completed the finishers behind Gamble, with the latter two having both suffered issues through the race.

Full race results can be found here.

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