Debut Ginetta Junior Podium For Rookie Massot At Incident Strewn Donington

Spanish car racing rookie Pepe Massot took a remarkable podium finish in only his fourth Ginetta Junior Championship race on Sunday, 15th April, at Donington Park – and all after the Hillspeed driver had his original car written-off, injuring both ankles, in a multi-car accident the day before.Unbelievably for the Hathersage squad, Massot and team-mate George Gamble each had their cars destroyed during round three of the season on Saturday, 14th April, when an enforced spin for the latter – caused by contact from Niall Murray – left him prone on the edge of the circuit at Coppice.Massot, as one of the first on the scene, had nowhere to go and was powerless to prevent a heavy impact with the front-end of Gamble’s Ginetta G40. Triggering something of a chain reaction, several cars were caught up in the incident which led to a red flag stoppage and then the chequered flag.Thankfully, other than very sore ankles, Massot was unharmed and following checks at Derby Royal Infirmary Gamble was also given the all-clear. Disappointingly for both though, potential podium finishes went awry after what had been – to that point – an impressive race for Hillspeed.“Pepe’s podium is just reward after a very tough weekend for the team, drivers and championship as a whole”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “There are definitely things that need looking at following this weekend with regard to some of the driving standards and what we’ve seen.”Qualifying had delivered a tremendous result for the reigning champions with Gamble taking pole position at his home track just 0.078 seconds ahead of rookie team-mate Nathan Harrison, easily the latter’s best performance yet in Ginetta Junior. Massot, meanwhile, was just 0.4 seconds adrift with the ninth fastest time.Nottingham teenager Gamble had led the race from the off but at Coppice on lap one he was passed by Murray as Massot put together a sensational opening lap to climb into fifth. On lap four, Gamble challenged with a fantastic cut-back into Redgate and grabbed the lead once more and after a brief Safety Car interlude he held on to first place.At the end of lap eight, both Gamble and Murray were wide out of the chicane and lost some time with the Hillspeed driver momentarily slipping to third on the run to Redgate. Fighting back through, Gamble was then tagged by Murray at Coppice leading to the aforementioned chaos.Harrison, meanwhile, was caught up in a separate incident on lap eight when he had nowhere to go trying to avoid the car of Oliver Basey-Fisher while battling in the lower order of the top 10 – leaving all three Hillspeed cars with immense levels of damage.Working tirelessly through the night on Saturday until around four o’clock on Sunday morning, the Hillspeed mechanics not only repaired Harrison’s Ginetta G40 but also readied a spare car for the brave Massot. Gamble, meanwhile, opted not to race as championship regulations dictate the use of a spare car carries with it a 20-point deduction from the driver’s season score.For Sunday’s televised fourth round, 16-year-old Massot delivered a truly inspired performance from the middle of the grid to take a thoroughly deserved maiden podium and Rookie Cup win. Harrison too, starred and off the start he led a car race for the first time in his young career with aplomb.Soaking up huge pressure at the front, the Oxford 15-year-old had to give best to Sennan Fielding at the chicane at the end of lap two but after slipping back a few positions, following a bit of contact, the karting graduate re-asserted himself with a top five finish – third highest placed Rookie.“There was no point at all running George for him to only then get a 20-point deduction from his championship total for using a spare car – that was unacceptable when the person who caused the accident faced nothing more than a nine point loss”, stated Ollerenshaw, “It’s disproportionate and not the way it should be and there wasn’t any way around that unfortunately.“Pepe and Nathan both gave outstanding drives in the second race, it would have been great to see Nathan on the podium with Pepe but it’s not far away for him. The contact from Sennan Fielding took the edge off his pace, but overall we’re happy with the way Sunday panned-out in the end, although Saturday was a day to forget.”After the second weekend of the season, Harrison is now Hillspeed’s highest placed driver in the championship in sixth position while Gamble has slipped to ninth and Massot is 11th. Ginetta Junior Championship action continues apace a fortnight from now, over the weekend 28th/29th April, at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire for rounds five and six of the 2012 campaign.2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd4):6th Nathan Harrison, 56pts; 9th George Gamble, 50pts; 11th Pepe Massot, 42points