Charlie Robertson stormed to the top of the Ginetta Junior Championship standings at a rain-lashed Thruxton over the weekend, 28th/29th April, with an utterly dominant performance – two race wins, two pole position starts and the fastest lap in both encounters.
Marking the first double-winning weekend of the 15-year-old’s short car racing career, the second year competitor was unchallenged in absolutely atrocious conditions which proved difficult for even the most experienced drivers on the entire Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship package.“This has been the perfect way to bounce back from the troubles we had at Donington”, said the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-supported star, “I was praying for rain after qualifying, I knew my wet pace was really good and so rain would be good for us in the races and I think I proved that with two wins out of two, my first ever double on the TOCA package. It’s absolutely fantastic.”Setting the standard throughout the weekend, Charlie secured pole position for round five by a huge 0.8 seconds and his second quickest lap time of the session, determining starting positions for round six, was an even more impressive one second ahead of closest challenger Niall Murray.Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s race, there was some debate as to whether slick tyres would be used but the Clerk of the Course made the decision all drivers should utilise wet-weather rubber on the grounds of safety with light rain in the air and a slippery track surface.Immediately stamping his authority on the race, the Whyteleafe driver opened up a 1.8 second lead on the first lap alone and set the fastest lap of the race the next time around before the treaded tyres started to lose performance. With no more rain forthcoming, the levels of grip reduced on the increasingly dry track but Charlie delivered an inch-perfect drive on the way to a 10 second victory.So clear was the HHC Motorsport youngster’s dominance, not only was he the only driver to circulate in the 1m32 second bracket, he almost dipped below that barrier with a fastest lap of 1m32.099 seconds (92.09mph).“It was quite hard to know which tyres to go on for race one, the Clerk of the Course said we should go on wets so that’s what we all did”, explained Charlie, “It was quite a hard race, as the track dried more the tyres started to go off and the car was sliding around a lot more but it was a good race.”For the televised sixth round on Sunday, the action began under Safety Car conditions due to the continued presence of rain and a lot of standing water on track. Racing proper got underway at the start of lap three and Charlie made no mistakes as he quickly built a lead of over a second.
Reeling off a string of fastest laps, the best of 1m35.060 seconds (89.22mph) coming on lap six, the MSA Academy driver pushed hard to keep a good gap to title rival Murray and eventually won by two seconds. Starting the weekend fourth in the standings, Charlie now has a five point lead.“I realised where Niall [Murray] was and I wanted to try and keep the gap or even stretch the gap, I kept pushing until the last few laps and then concentrated on making no mistakes to make sure the win was in the bag”, he added, “It really has been a fantastic weekend and the perfect 48th birthday present for my dad too!”Charlie now has a six week break from competition with rounds seven and eight of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship scheduled to take place on 9th/10th June at Oulton Park in Cheshire.2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):1st Charlie Robertson, 144pts