Ginetta Junior Championship title rivals Charlie Robertson and Seb Morris secured a pole position apiece during qualifying at Snetterton 300 Circuit, Saturday, 6th August, ahead of the weekend’s 11th and 12th rounds of the 2011 season.
With the newly reconfigured 2.97-mile track providing a fresh challenge for the young chargers from the all-action Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship-support category, the length of the lap also meant the short 15-minute session would be frantic.
During the early running, Robertson headed the timing screens in his HHC Motorsport-run car from TJ Motorsport trio Brad Bailey, Sennan Fielding and George Gamble, FML’s Jake Giddings and Morris in his Hillspeed entry.
With half of the session remaining, Morris shot onto pole position for the first race with a lap 0.3 seconds quicker than hugely impressive team-mate Struan Moore. Robertson quickly hit back though on his third flying lap to retake the top spot with a time of 2m18.268 seconds (77.29mph) which was good enough for the round 11 pole position.
Championship leader Morris had an unfortunate spin at Hamilton on his third flyer, due to some dust and debris kicked-up on to the track by another car, but he maintained his composure well and secured second on the grid for the first of the Snetterton races with his penultimate lap – a time of 2m18.414 seconds.
“We only had about six flying laps, it’s a lot different to the other tracks we’ve been to with the lap being well over two minutes long”, said Robertson, “You definitely had to get a good lap in as soon as you could but it was hard to find space. We went out there to get the pole lap time so that’s really good, I’m really pleased – especially as we thought the TJ cars would have the advantage here.”
Morris’ second best lap of the session, 2m18.466 seconds, was good enough for pole position for round 12 though with Robertson lining up alongside on the front row. Following the latter’s maiden victory at Croft prior to the seven-week summer break, the championship is about to embark on a very exciting second half of the season with the title battle only likely to intensify.
“I’m happy with both of my quickest laps, consistency was the key and we managed to do three laps virtually the same so that was really satisfying”, commented Morris who missed the morning practice due to an electrical problem, “I expected to be probably sixth or seventh so I’m really happy with the outcome. The team did a great job to get the car repaired after the practice problems.”
Third on the grid for both races will be the increasingly strong Struan Moore, the first year car racer delivering easily his best performance since debuting in the Ginetta Junior Championship at the beginning of the campaign.
For race one he will line-up alongside Tollbar’s ever-consistent William Foster and ahead of Giddings and George Gamble while, for race two, Moore will head the third row from Giddings with Gamble fifth on the grid and Foster sixth. Bailey and Fielding will start seventh and eighth for the opening encounter and in the opposite order for the second.
Today’s track action also marked the competitive debut of 14-year-old William Palmer, the younger brother of GP2 Series racer Jolyon and son of MotorSport Vision chief Jonathan. Running with reigning champions Hillspeed, Palmer qualified within just 0.4 seconds of HHC’s Michael Day in 16th place for both races.
Niall Murray, the 2010 Ginetta Junior Ireland Champion, was only able to look-on as a frustrated spectator throughout qualifying when a radiator problem with his Beacon Racing-run Ginetta G40 ruled him out of the session after a single aborted lap.
Round 11 of the Ginetta Junior Championship is scheduled to get underway at 10.30 , Sunday, 7th August, with round 12 following at 17.50. Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 will broadcast live from Snetterton with the action also being screened in High Definition on ITV4 HD. In addition, live streaming will be carried online at itv.com/touringcars
Provisional 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (after Rd10):1st Seb Morris, 318pts; 2nd George Gamble, 230pts; 3rd Charlie Robertson, 211pts; 4th William Foster, 207pts; 5th Tom Howard, 185pts; 6th Max Coates, 171pts