WILSON WOWS AT SNETTERTON OPENER
The BRSCC Fiesta Junior Championship has seen a steady increase in popularity over the past couple of seasons, with the final races of the season at Brands Hatch amongst the Formula Ford Festival seeing the biggest grid to date at the time of 15 cars. This promised much for the 2016 edition of the Championship, with early signs showing that this would be lived up to.
Before racing had even started, FJC was reaching incredible milestones. For the season, 21 drivers declared themselves registered, which is the most that the Championship has ever reached pre-season. Along with a deal struck with Quaife Motorsport to provide free differentials to all fully registered competitors and the prospect of a prize test drive in a Jam-Sport Clio Cup car, it’s no wonder it became an enticing option for young drivers aged 14-17 to take up.
Heading into the first race weekend at Snetterton in Norfolk, 17 of the 21 drivers registered were set to compete on the full 300 Circuit layout amongst dry but cold conditions, as the newest field of youngsters took to the track for their first two practice sessions on Saturday. Come qualifying later in the afternoon, it would be Elliot Wilson who would draw first blood with the first pole position of the season. Newcomer James Waite sensationally placed himself on the front row alongside Wilson, ahead of 2015 race winner Carlito Miracco embarking on his second full season in FJC. Callum Hawkins-Row would take P4 for Jam-Sport while Harry Gooding, another debutant, lined up on row 3 in 5th alongside Danny Harrison, who featured in the final round last season at Brands Hatch and was embarking on his first full year. The rest of the top 10 was populated by Jack Davidson, Ronan Quinn, Lochlan Bearman and Cameron Pugh.
At the first start of Race 1, Ronan Quinn found himself going nowhere as the field piled past, hampering his race weekend straight away. Wilson held the lead from pole into the first corner with Waite in tow and the rest of the pack piling through behind. Another driver who fell foul was Cameron Pugh who got loose and tagged the inside barriers and leaving him stationary. This brought out the red flags, requiring a restart.
Everyone got away cleanly on the second start, but come Riches there was more trouble and Quinn once again suffered bad luck after being turned around by Davidson. Hawkins-Row and Harrison also made door-to-door contact with the former eventually tipping Harrison into a spin at the Montreal hairpin.
From there, Wilson remained unchallenged in the lead and pulled away from the chasing pack throughout at a canter to sensationally score his first win in FJC for new team Race Car Consultants, after only reaching a best of 4th throughout his 2015 campaign. Miracco eventually made it through into second place, although Waite’s P3 was a fantastic result in his first circuit race. Harry Gooding also showed a great turn of pace in 4th with Sikander Hussain, a late entry to the weekend and having started from the back of the field, putting in a stellar drive to pick up 5th place. Jack Davidson gave Race Car Consultants more reason to celebrate with 6th ahead of Bradley Burns, while James Hillery, Lochlan Bearman and Ben Swift completed the top 10.
Race 2 saw Wilson pick up where he left off leading into turn 1, while Miracco was displaced to 4th by the fast-starting Waite and Gooding, with James Hillery also getting a rapid launch to take 5th by the time the pack reached Riches Corner. Quinn was also determined to make up places after a disappointing Race 1 and quickly set about looking to pick off his rivals early on.
While the top 3 began to pull away in the same fashion as race 1 and Hussain disappearing early, the fight for 4th and 5th behind was the closest battle on track all race between Hillery, Bearman, Gooding and the hard charging Quinn. The latter made his way past all 3 throughout the early laps and eventually settled into a decent gap to distance himself from the battles, but the Cooper Motorsport pair of Hillery and Bearman continued their scraps all the way through the race to the end with Gooding.
Heading into the last lap, Wilson once again had it all under controlled and eventually weaved his way to the flag in delight to make it two from two. Miracco once again took 2nd, but was again pressed hard all the way to the line by Waite who had no intentions of making it easy for him. Quinn was, as mentioned, a comfortable 4th while the scrap for 5th went right down the wire. Into the last corner, Bearman’s brakes faded sending him wide and while Hillery initially capitalised, a missed gear saw him stumble, allowing both Gooding and Bearman through with the former of the two capturing the final top 5 spot. Bradley Burns, Cameron Pugh and Ben Swift were the remaining top 10 finishers.
Thanks to his mega weekend, Wilson takes a 7 point lead away from the opening races at Snetterton with Miracco and Waite separated by one point in 2nd and 3rd. Harry Gooding sits 4 points behind Wait in 4th with Lochlan Bearman completing the top 5 as part of a 3 way tie for 5th with Burns and Hillery. Davidson, Swift and Dudley completed the top 10 in points.
Next up is the first of two trips to Silverstone, the Home of British Motorsport, with this occasion on the International circuit which utilizes the magnificent Wing complex that makes up the Grand Prix pitlane and paddock. Like Snetterton, it’ll be a circuit that features long straight and a mix of medium and slow speed corners, so a setup not too unlike that which the Juniors used in the opening races will be required here. Nonetheless, this year’s FJC class is on their way for 2016 – onwards to Northamptonshire!
You can see a full breakdown of the championship’s results for the weekend via TSL Timing HERE.
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