1st Central racing driver Sebastian Priaulx has secured a sensational second victory of the 2017 Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship campaign to cap off a brilliant third meeting of the season at Thruxton this weekend (5/6 May).
Returning to the scene of his maiden outright podium finish in the championship twelve months ago, the Guernseyman continued his love affair with the Hampshire circuit as he set the pace across the weekend in his JHR Developments-prepared Ginetta G40.
Despite missing the official pre-event test at the circuit last month, Priaulx would immediately settle into his rhythm around the fastest circuit in the UK and topped the timesheets in Saturday morning’s free practice session – a performance he would replicate in style in qualifying.
Setting a blistering pace around the 2.36 mile circuit, Priaulx’s best time of 1m 31.420s would be nearly four tenths of a second quicker than his closest challenger as he secured a superb double pole position, which means he has taken four of the six on offer so far this year.
The opening race on Sunday would prove to be one of the closest fought in recent Ginetta Junior Championship memory, with the sixteen year old finding himself right in the thick of the action as up to seven cars fought it out for victory over the course of the race.
Honing his racecraft as he attacked and defended throughout the twelve lap encounter, Priaulx would fight his way into the race lead a couple of times during the race, however some robust moves from rivals in the final couple of laps would drop him to fifth position at the finish.
With some more crucial championship points under his belt, Priaulx was focused on converting his pace into victory in the second race of the day and the IHG Rewards Club supported driver would go on to do exactly that in front of the live ITV4 television cameras.
Priaulx would trade the lead with his team-mate Tom Gamble over the course of a frenetic opening few laps, before the duo settled down and worked together to pull clear of their pursuers before commencing battle once again in the closing stages of the race.
Sticking to the rear bumper of the leader, Priaulx bided his time before getting a fantastic run out of the final chicane and sliding down the inside at Allard on the penultimate lap to take the lead, which he maintained with a composed drive to the chequered flag.
Priaulx celebrated the victory with a “dab” as he dedicated his win to fellow JHR Developments driver Billy Monger, who is receiving the support of the whole motorsport community as he continues his recovery from an accident at Donington Park last month.
The weekend’s results have moved Priaulx back into the top three in the championship standings ahead of Rounds Eight and Nine of the season at Oulton Park in Cheshire in a fortnight’s time (20/21 May).
Sebastian Priaulx: “Me and Tom [Gamble] worked really well together in the second race, we built the gap that we couldn’t in race one, and from then on it was a case of biding my time and picking my opportunity in the last couple of laps.
“We got the race victory and I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s the perfect way to cap off what has been a really positive weekend for us. We were really able to show our pace in free practice and qualifying, and it was fantastic to get another double pole position.
“I learnt a lot about my racecraft in the opening race and while it was frustrating to miss out on the podium then, I’m delighted to have ended up with a victory in race two. I dedicate that win to Billy Monger, he is truly an inspiration and I wish him all the best in his recovery.”