Rowan Vincent twice saw promising race starts go unrewarded in the latest rounds of the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship at the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton, this past weekend (19/20 September).
The fourth meeting of Vincent’s maiden car-racing campaign took him to the renowned Thruxton circuit. Affectionately known as the ‘Hampshire Speedbowl', it produces a truly unique challenge and is notoriously one of the trickiest tracks to master for first-time visitors.
The Woking-based racer got to grips with the circuit during two free practice sessions on Friday and one more on Saturday morning. Making good progress across those outings, he was in a positive mood heading into the all-important qualifying session.
While qualifying unfortunately didn’t quite go to plan for the 15 year old in his Richardson Racing Ginetta G40, he was looking forward to Saturday evening’s opening race. From 19th on the grid, a great start saw him gain ground in the hotly-contested midfield battles.
His chances of making further progress were hampered though when a forceful move from another driver sent him wide across the grass at the fastest corner on the circuit. This led to a visit to the pitlane to remove grass from his front grill to prevent overheating.
While it was a lonely race from there, the track time presented him with the opportunity to gain more crucial experience around the circuit ahead of the second race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon, which was televised live on ITV2.
From 19th on the grid, the V4 Woodflooring Ltd, Concreate and CPP supported driver stayed out of trouble during a chaotic opening lap to rise no less than seven places to 12th. A further position went his way on the next tour, putting him right in the thick of the midfield battles.
Vincent’s hopes for a maiden top ten finish were cruelly ended on lap four though as he found himself caught up in a multi-car incident at the final hairpin. Fortunately he was able to emerge unscathed after a heavy impact with the tyre wall, but the same couldn’t be said for his car.
Rowan Vincent: “Unfortunately it’s ended up being a pretty frustrating weekend. While the track layout doesn’t look that tough on paper, the high-speed section at the back of the track is unlike anything else on the calendar and it took me a while to get to grips with it.
“While our pace wasn’t where I wanted it to be and qualifying didn’t go well, I was really enjoying the circuit and was confident of making progress in the races. I started both well and the opening lap of race two was particularly awesome.
“It felt fantastic to gain so many places on one lap. While the incident was a huge shame, to have come from the back of the grid to challenge for the top ten on merit is a real confidence boost. It showed again I have it in me to challenge further forwards and that’s a positive for the next rounds.”
The 2020 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship continues this weekend at Silverstone (26/27 September).