Ginetta Junior - Pettit takes first win

Dominic Pettit claimed a long awaited, and very well deserved, race victory at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 20th September, during the penultimate round of the 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship.Leading from pole position, the Cambridge-based youngster immediately surged into a huge lead, by Ginetta Junior standards, on the opening lap and a relatively comfortable victory looked on the cards.The emergence of the Ginetta G50 Safety Car, however, on lap four did erase Pettit’s substantial advantage. Shortly after the re-start on lap seven, he found himself staring at the back of Daniel Lloyd’s car as the Huddersfield driver made his way through on the exit of Druids and the run down to Graham Hill Bend with a great piece of driving.Pettit was soon back ahead though with a quality overtaking move at Paddock Hill Bend on lap eight and from that point on he was unchallenged as he took the chequered flag on lap 11 – race officials choosing to truncate the encounter early after the cars of Sarah Moore and Jake Rattenbury both ended up stranded in the gravel at Clearways.Having come within just 0.025 seconds of race victory during the opening round of the season, also at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, this afternoon’s win was even sweeter for Pettit.He said: “This win pays off the hard work we’ve done, it’s something very special. I really wanted to win this weekend and so I’m obviously very happy. The car wasn’t that brilliant but I drive to suit the car, not the other way round, and that seems to work very well here at Brands Hatch Indy.”While all eyes this weekend are on the exploits of Dino Zamparelli and Thomas Carnaby in relation to their titanic battle over the destiny of the 2008 Ginetta Junior title, in today’s race it was Pettit, Lloyd and third place finisher Alice Powell who all came to the fore.Lapping quickest in morning practice with a time over three 10ths of a second faster than anyone else, Pettit continued his performance in qualifying where he secured a double pole position start for both of the weekend’s races. The Dominant Motorsport driver’s excellent qualifying effort also bagged him a brace of extra points in his fight over fourth place in the championship with Lloyd – the latter holding the upper hand heading into this weekend’s season finale.As Pettit scorched into a healthy early lead at the start of round 23, Lloyd started well from fourth on the grid to run side-by-side with third-placed Powell through Paddock Hill Bend. On the run towards Druids Hairpin, the pair both passed Carnaby – who started on the front row – while further back, Zamparelli endured a disastrous opening lap.Slipping from seventh on the grid to 17th after a very slow getaway, the series leader had to mount a pressure-fuelled fight back which he did in style, climbing his way back into a top seven finish. Limiting the damage in championship terms with Carnaby ending the race in fourth, Zamparelli heads into tomorrow afternoon’s final race of the season, round 24, a full 20 points ahead of his rival when the category’s ‘drop score’ ruling is employed.Following the aforementioned Safety Car period between the start of lap four and end of lap six, the race order read Pettit, Powell, Lloyd, Carnaby, George Richardson, Josh Hill and Fergus Walkinshaw. At the re-start Pettit was away well but behind, a huge battle over second place ensued.Heading towards Druids, Lloyd got a great run and took the inside line with Powell in the centre and Carnaby on the outside. Richardson also tried to get involved in the mix meaning four cars all had a chance of emerging from the corner in second!As it turned out, Lloyd moved into second but he quickly went into the lead of the race as well when Pettit ran wide on the exit of the hairpin. After Pettit got back ahead of Lloyd at Paddock Hill Bend on lap eight, the order from third to sixth was Powell, Carnaby, Richardson and Hill which is how they would finish.Zamparelli ended the race in seventh, just ahead of Walkinshaw, with Alex Austin ninth and Jake Farndon rounding out the top 10.The last race of the 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship season, round 24, will take place at approximately 12.25 tomorrow, Sunday, 21st September, and will be shown live on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4. Provisional 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (after Rd 23 and inc. drop scores):1st Dino Zamparelli, 585pts; 2nd Thomas Carnaby, 565pts; 3rd Josh Hill, 449pts; 4th Daniel Lloyd, 385pts; 5th Dominic Pettit, 376pts; 6th George Richardson, 348pts