Jota Sport had a challenging weekend after a strong qualifying session but both drivers brought home valuable points for the Kent-based team, solidifying their second position in the teams’ championship.
After being on provisional pole position for both races for most of qualifying, London-based Sam Hancock ended up starting third and second after two quicker times were set by rivals Michael Caine and Tim Bridgman in the last five minutes of the session. Hancock made a cautious start after he suffered gearbox problems on the formation lap. A late-braking mistake at the first corner on lap 4 saw Bridgman pass him and tough defensive driving on the part of the Team Parker Racing driver made any chance of overtaking impossible for Hancock, seeing him finish in fourth. Phil Quaife started sixth and had a good race until gear selection problems allowed Paul O’Neill through at the chicane and required a cautious approach from Quaife until the chequered flag which he reached in 6th position. With O’Neill as a non-scoring guest driver, Phil eventually took points for fifth.
Hancock started race 2 in second but a slow start saw Bridgman pass him. He stayed in contact with the two leaders, setting competitive lap times and the trio pulled away from the rest of the pack. Misfortune struck only four laps from the end when a blown tyre forced him to retire. Team-mate Quaife started sixth but lost time off the line and was overtaken by several cars but regained those positions within one lap. A rear puncture on lap 9 forced him to pit for a new tyre and he rejoined the race to finish 13th overall.
Team Principal Sam Hignett: “This weekend’s results were disappointing but Sam matched the fastest lap of the race in race 2 so it is encouraging to see that we have the pace. We got beaten by the very hot weather on Sunday and our set-up degraded the rear tyres quicker than we expected. It cost us a podium finish. We’ve got some work to do and will make sure Phil enjoys a trouble-free weekend for the next round.”
Sam Hancock: “A fourth and a DNF don’t show our potential. The car was handling well all weekend, so despite our problems I am very happy with our inherent pace.”
Phil Quaife: “This has been a difficult week, possibly contributed to by some damper problems which we discovered after the first race. At least we managed to secure some points toward the championship. I am looking forward to catching up the lost ground at the next race.”