1st Central racing driver Sebastian Priaulx fought to a trio of top five finishes during the penultimate meeting of the season at Silverstone this weekend (16/17 September) to keep alive his 2017 Ginetta Junior Championship title aspirations.
Priaulx maintained his second place standing in the championship with a hard-fought twelfth podium finish of the season so far in Round 22, which ensures he heads into the season finale in a fortnight’s time still in contention for the honours.
Following a positive day of testing around the short, fast national circuit at Silverstone on Thursday, the Guernseyman would show top three pace in both wet and dry conditions the following day during official practice, setting him up well for the weekend ahead.
Damp, greasy conditions would provide a real challenge in qualifying on Saturday morning, with Priaulx adapting well in his HHC Motorsport Ginetta G40 to post a best effort of 1m 14.459s and secure fourth and second on the grid for the first two races of the weekend.
The sixteen year old would encounter a difficult opening lap in race one that afternoon however as he got shuffled back to seventh, but he was immediately on the fightback and moved up a position on the next lap, before closing onto the tail of the pack ahead.
After a collision ahead promoted him to fifth position, Priaulx pushed on and dispatched another car to rise to fourth. Strong pace in the closing stages saw him get himself in the mix for the final podium position, but he was left to settle for fourth at the flag.
Starting race two from the front row the next morning, Priaulx produced a tremendous launch off the line to sweep into the race lead and begin a sensational three way battle for the top spot over the first half of the race.
Priaulx showed his great racecraft with a number of creative overtaking moves as the positions changed multiple times every lap, and while the race leader edged clear as the race progressed, Priaulx remained embroiled in a fierce duel over second place.
The reigning Ginetta Junior Winter Series champion would eventually emerge ahead for a richly deserved podium finish, a result he was determined to replicate in the final race of the weekend in front of the live ITV4 television cameras.
Another close-fought race would see the IHG Rewards Club supported driver in contention for the podium throughout, however some robust driving from rivals would eventually shuffle him back to fifth position at the chequered flag.
The weekend’s results mean Priaulx sits 42 points adrift at the top of the championship standings ahead of the final three rounds of the season in two weeks’ time (30 September/1 October) around the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
Sebastian Priaulx: “It’s been a difficult weekend overall. We’ve been struggling to match the straight-line speed of some of the other cars and I gave it absolutely everything across the weekend to come away with the best results that we could.
“We knew from Thursday testing that we were going to be on the backfoot around a circuit with three long straights, but fortunately the tricky weather conditions in qualifying evened out the playing field and I was able to get into the top four.
“All three races were really close-fought and the slipstreaming nature of the circuit allowed me to keep in touch with the quicker cars. I’m pleased to have got back onto the podium, and hopefully we can go on and end the season on a high at Brands Hatch.”