Miracco and Thompson Share Rockingham Success

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Alex Tait (#99) provided an impressive turn of race pace all weekend - Photo: James Roberts

There was certainly a lot of intrigue surrounding the Fiesta Junior Championship this past weekend at Rockingham, as come race day a mixed up Race 1 grid helped set the tone for two breath-taking races, which set things up nicely for the Brands Hatch finale.

Ronan Quinn had shown very promising pace in practice, topping two of the three sessions with Michael Higgs claiming the other for himself. Both drivers would carry their pace into qualifying, but it was Higgs who just got the better of rookie Quinn to grab pole by the minor margin of 0.036 seconds. Silverstone double winner Carlito Miracco placed himself 3rd alongside a season best qualifying from Sikander Hussain in 4th. Surprisingly, championship contenders Nathan Edwards and Aaron Thompson were force to reside on row 3, with Edwards the higher placed driver in 5th. Cameron Pugh and Elliot Wilson formed the 4th row, with Ben Swift and Alexander Tait a further row behind, with Lewis Kent and Bradley Burns rounding out the 12 car field.

From the start, Higgs held the lead for the first couple of laps before Miracco’s pace overhauled the driver from Dunmow on lap 3. From there, Miracco controlled the race from the front, lapping quicker than everyone behind and eventually coming through to claim his 3rd win in succession. Higgs maintained a competitive enough pace to keep Edwards at bay to hold on for 2nd, with front row man Quinn in 4th and points leader Thompson forced to settle for a top 5 finish.

Moving into Race 2 with Miracco on pole, it was Higgs who once again got the best getaway to lead the first lap, while a determined Thompson clawed his way up to 2nd. This became first when Thompson went to the head of the field at Higgs’ expense on Lap 3. The rest of the race had the top two never further than 1.5 seconds apart. While they battled, Miracco crept up on the pair of them and snatched 2nd from Higgs on the penultimate lap. Aiming for the lead on the final lap, Miracco lined up Thompson on the approach to Tarzan. Thompson then missed a gear which forced him to brake hard and with nowhere to go, Miracco ended up making contact which saw him stall and drop to 6th. Thompson later made sure to apologize for his mistake which denied them both a close fight to the flag, maintaining the strong camaraderie between drivers.

Despite the drama, Thompson was first past the post to secure win number 7 of the season with Higgs 2nd. Quinn claimed his 7th podium this year with 3rd, after a race long scrap fending off Edwards and Pugh behind. Behind the recovering Miracco came Wilson and Tait, the latter showing much improved race pace all weekend having taken 7th place in Race 1 earlier in the day.

With Miracco and Higgs sharing the points for pole positions and fastest laps, here’s how the points table now looks going into the final race weekend, with a visit to Brands Hatch on the cards on the Indy circuit. Thompson still leads the standings, but now his leads is down to just 6 points ahead of Higgs and Edwards. Thompson can be thankful for his 7 race wins as they are what keep him top, as without dropped scores he would actually sit 4th in points with Higgs the clear leader.

Edwards does indeed hold 3rd, while Quinn’s string of podiums have boosted him all the way to 4th and could be in with a chance of overhauling Edwards, with just 11 points between the pair. Amazingly, Miracco’s three wins have pushed him into 5th and amazingly gives him an outside shot at becoming champion. Although in order for that to happen, he would need all of the top 4 for record zero scores from both races and could finish as low as 5th in both also, without the points for pole or fastest lap. As amazing as that sounds, it’s without doubt an incredibly long shot!

Whatever happens at Brands Hatch in October, this season really has seen the Fiesta Juniors come of age. With the grids consistently in double figures at every round this season, it’s a testament to how strong the series is becoming. With drivers such as Aiden Moffat and Geri Nicosia having moved on to the TOCA package as a result of the lessons learned in FJC, there’s every confidence that the field will get bigger and stronger moving into 2016. But that’s next year – we still have a champion to crown in 2015!

A fully detailed breakdown of the race weekend’s results can be found here – ROCKINGHAM RACE RESULTS.

Scott Woodwiss

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Donington Park 14th - 15th Oct 2017

Current Standings

Driver Accrued Points Adjusted Total
1 Jack Davidson 392 391
2 Nicholas Reeve 378 378
3 James Hillery 364 364