Stuart Middleton claimed the Ginetta Junior Winter Series title today at Snetterton with one race to spare. A hat-trick of wins was enough to give the Douglas Motorsport drvier an unassailable points lead.
The two-day event featured one qualifying session and a pair of races on both Saturday and Sunday, with rain dampening play a little for the first encounters. A self-confessed lover of the rain, Middleton started the opening race from second on the grid.
Snatching the lead into turn one, the Middleton’s love for the rain only grew as he crossed the line an impressive 17.596s ahead of Charlie Fagg and Connor Grady, who rounded out the podium.
In race two, it was a slightly tougher win for Middleton, as he lost out to Fagg on the start. Making a comeback, Middleton regained the position on lap two before once again pulling out an 8.823s advantage over Will Tregurtha and Billy Monger, who finished second and third respectively.
A drier day beckoned for Sunday, with Middleton only qualifying fifth after a rather disjointed session due to a red flag midway through. With the title within his grasp, Middleton picked off a number of rivals off the line, before claiming the lead of the race as the pack crossed the line for the first time.
With his position at the head of the field, the championship then went down to the positions of Middleton’s closest rivals, Fagg and Grady, who needed to finish inside the top three in order to keep the title fight alive.
Starting third, Fagg lost out on the frantic start and dropped to fifth. Although he picked up another place, a fall down the order to eighth in the closing laps was enough to give Middleton enough of a points gap to claim the championship as he took another win.
Joining him on the podium was Lewis Brown, who was making his first appearance on the rostrum after a tough opening day. In third, and taking home his first ever Ginetta trophy was Seb Perez, much to the delight of his father and Junior Championship sponsor, Steve Perez.
The final race of the day was then all about who would become vice-champion. Middleton led after lap one as Monger and Brown traded places over second, until a problem for the leader lost him time and allowed the pair to slip past, with Wooder following them through.
Once out front Monger held firm, and the result was enough to earn him the Winter Series vice-championship. Not only that, but his impressive display of overtaking throughout the weekend afforded him an additional prize of the coveted ‘Hard Charger’ award.
Position-swapping all the way to the flag, Brown and Wooder fought over second position, with the former ultimately taking the place and third overall in the championship standings. Middleton meanwhile, took the final flag in fourth place.
Taking the final Rookie race win was Max Bird, and with two second places in class earlier in the weekend, the points were enough to see him second in class, just ahead of Sebastian Priaulx, who finished third.