Motorsport News - Sportscar
First Win Of Year For Hillspeed and First Of Career For Massot
13th August 2012
Spanish motor racing sensation Pepe Massot secured his maiden car racing victory at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk on Sunday, 12th August, during round 11 of the Ginetta Junior Championship – the result also marking Hillspeed’s first win of 2012 and lifting the teenager into the series top four.
Barcelona-based Massot, who has been inching ever closer to an outright victory as his debut season has progressed, was in the right place at the right time during the first of the weekend’s races to profit from contact between leaders Charlie Robertson and Ollie Chadwick.
Running in a highly competitive third place, hot on the heels of the duo, 16-year-old Massot piled on the pressure as his two more experienced rivals dueled. Then, at the chicane on lap four, he was able to sweep through into first place as Robertson and Chadwick got too close for comfort.
Holding the lead and actually increasing his advantage over the final six miles of racing, the first year Hillspeed driver took the chequered flag by over three seconds to also secure the Rookie Cup victory by a significant margin. Poignantly for Massot, this weekend marked the first time his mum had ever been to watch one of races!
“It’s very exciting and I’m very happy I’ve done this at the first race my mum has been to see – it’s really special” said the Spaniard, “At this circuit it’s really important you have to wait, study things and then attack. We benefited from the incident with [Charlie] Robertson and [Ollie] Chadwick but on the last two laps I could pull away.”
In round 12 later in the day Massot started fourth on the grid, as he did in the first encounter, but was pushed back to seventh on lap one. Following a drive-through penalty for Harry Woodhead, due to a false start, Massot moved up into sixth on lap three – despite some steering damage – and then grabbed fifth the next time around where he remained to the finish – taking another Rookie win.
“It was fantastic for Pepe to take his first win, we’re absolutely delighted for him”, said Hillspeed’s Richard Ollerenshaw, “He was running very strongly in a good third but we could see fireworks were coming up ahead, when they did he was there in the perfect position to capitalise. In race two he was hit a couple of times unfortunately which damaged the steering but fifth was a decent result.”
Donegan and debutant Lee battle overheating issues at sunny Snetterton
Ireland’s Keith Donegan maintained eighth in the championship following the weekend’s two races at Snetterton but his hopes, and those of series debutant Freddie Lee, were unfortunately compromised by problems with overheating – an issue which struck several drivers during the event.
On his first weekend racing with Hillspeed, the 15-year-old was bundled back to 12th position on the opening lap of race one but mounted a good recovery. Quickly moving back ahead of rookie Lee, Donegan then set his sights on breaking back into the top 10 but on lap four everything changed when Tom Jackson and William Palmer dropped back and Lee managed to edge ahead of Donegan.
Running in ninth and 10th respectively, the Hillspeed racers were very closely matched but on the final lap Donegan was able to usurp 14-year-old Lee to take ninth and also fourth in the Rookie class. For Chelmsford’s Lee, 10th place marked an impressive debut appearance in the tightly contested Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship-supporting series.
In round 12, Lee wasn’t able to build on his experience unfortunately when early contact resulted in a collision with the barriers and retirement. Even so, the Ginetta Junior newcomer was able to show across the weekend his terrific potential should he be able to secure the budget for the next two rounds of the season.
Donegan, meanwhile, climbed into ninth on lap one and then took eighth the next time around before gaining another position at the expense of Woodhead when he served his penalty. Donegan remained there to the finish on lap six, claiming second place in the Rookie Cup as well.
“Unfortunately we encountered quite a few problems with overheating on Keith’s car, we battled an issue with the water temperature all weekend and did as much as possible to prevent it impeding the power too much”, explained Ollerenshaw, “The problem badly affected Keith in qualifying and we continued to work on it for the races where he did a really good job in the circumstances.
“It’s been a massive learning curve for Freddie this weekend, coming from club racing onto the BTCC package is a massive step and there was a huge amount of information to take in. He did a good job though, was great to work with, and we hope to see him back out for Knockhill.”
Knockhill Circuit in Scotland will host rounds 13 and 14 of the Ginetta Junior Championship season just two weeks from now on 25th/26th August. Before then, Hillspeed’s Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship squad will return to action next weekend, 18th/19th August, at Donington Park National Circuit in the East Midlands.
2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd12):
4th Pepe Massot, 227pts; 8th Keith Donegan, 173pts; 16th Freddie Lee, 11pts
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