Bristol teenager Dino Zamparelli finally secured the 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship title during the last round of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent on Sunday afternoon, 21st September.Winning the championship by 16 points in the end from chief rival Thomas Carnaby, the Muzz Racing driver is now eyeing a career in single-seaters as he aims to carry all he has learned in Ginetta Juniors forward in 2009.Heading into the final race of the year, Zamparelli really had to fail to finish for Carnaby to stand any chance of usurping his rival but in the end a superb effort by Zamparelli ensured the title was his after visiting the podium for the 15th time in 24 races.Claiming 10 race victories along the way, the new champion has been at the forefront of proceedings throughout the campaign but congratulations too must go to Carnaby who, particularly during the second half of the season, really took the fight to his rival and became firmly established as the only driver who could offer a title threat.Speaking after Sunday’s race, Zamparelli said: “I almost lost my championship earlier in the year, I made quite a few mistakes but I learned so much from them and now we’ve won the championship. It’s fantastic to finally win the title, Ginetta Junior is a great series to race in and it’s taught me a lot.”Carnaby did finish round 24 in second place, ahead of Zamparelli, to secure his 16th podium of the year and end the championship a huge 124 points clear of third placed car racing rookie Josh Hill.Ending the year a very deserving runner-up, the Scunthorpe based driver said: “It could have been a bit better this weekend but Dino drove a great race so congratulations to him. My tyres started to get a bit too warm but I managed to hold on and I did all I could. It’s been a great year for us, we’ve had a lot of success, so I’m very happy with it.”While the championship plaudits went the way of Zamparelli, race success once again fell to Dominic Pettit who produced another dominant performance to win round 24 almost seven seconds clear of his pursuers.The Cambridge racer’s Brands Hatch double also ensured he leapfrogged Daniel Lloyd in the driver standings by edging ahead into fourth place behind Hill. Lloyd, meanwhile, finished 43 points ahead of sixth-placed George Richardson.At the start of round 24, Pettit scorched away from pole position as he did during the Saturday encounter and he was never headed en route to a superb victory after 14 laps.Seventh placed starter Richardson made a lightning getaway himself to rocket into the top four at Paddock Hill Bend behind Alice Powell and Carnaby. Lloyd slotted into fifth place on the run to Druids Hairpin before Hill edged ahead out of the turn to push Lloyd down to sixth place.
On lap four, Richardson saw his pressure on Powell pay off as he moved into third place on the run to the hairpin and then, through Clearways, Lloyd carried good momentum underneath Hill before taking fifth position back over the line into lap five. Hill then ran slightly wide on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend to allow Zamparelli to move into sixth.While Pettit and Carnaby edged further away from the chasing pack at the front, the fight over third continued to develop. Into Druids on lap eight, Zamparelli managed to get the best out of a three-car tussle which also involved Lloyd and Powell. As Lloyd was forced wide on the exit of the corner, Zamparelli moved through into fifth place.Lap 10 saw Zamparelli pass Powell for fourth at Paddock Hill Bend and Lloyd followed him through into Druids to demote Powell to sixth place. On the next tour though at Graham Hill Bend, Lloyd got a bit out of shape and ran onto the grass on the exit.Slipping to seventh, Lloyd hit back before the finish to claim a top six result behind Powell and Hill. Drama on the penultimate lap, however, almost saw Zamparelli’s championship dream destroyed when a spin for Richardson at Hailwood Hill saw him almost make contact with the eventual champion.Luckily, Zamparelli avoided the incident by a mere whisker and inherited third place into the bargain as Hill moved into fourth, Powell fifth and Lloyd sixth. On the final lap, Jake Farndon, who had been embroiled in a great battle with Fergus Walkinshaw, had a spin at Graham Hill Bend to drop him out of the top 10.Speaking on his second win of the weekend, Pettit said: “I wanted to end the season on a high as we’ve had a pretty down year so to win again this weekend is fantastic.”Serving up a truly outstanding year of action, the Ginetta Junior Championship has most certainly proven its worth as a support category to the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship this season…here’s to another fantastic title battle in 2009!Final 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (inc. drop scores):Champion: Dino Zamparelli, 611pts; 2nd Thomas Carnaby, 595pts; 3rd Josh Hill, 471pts; 4th Dominic Pettit, 411pts; 5th Daniel Lloyd, 403pts; 6th George Richardson, 360pts