Will Jenkins secured his second rookie podium finish of the season and showed impressive pace during a brilliant weekend in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship at Croft (10/11 October).
The Hopkins Race Transporters supported driver arrived in North Yorkshire with a positive mindset after showing good speed and race craft at the previous meeting at Silverstone. Croft also marked Jenkins’ first race weekend with the newly formed team, Elite Racing.
Despite mixed weather conditions, Jenkins enjoyed a strong start across free practice on Friday. Alongside gathering useful data to help set up the car and work on his qualifying strategy, he impressively finished both sessions inside the top four.
On Saturday morning, the Hopkins Race Transporters backed driver completed a very successful qualifying session, setting the fifth fastest time of the session in dry conditions. He was later elevated one more position following a post session amendment, with fourth marking his best ever qualifying result.
The Staffordshire racer made a good start in a wet first race and was able to hang on to his starting position before the safety car made an appearance before the end of the first lap. He kept his car on track in the slippery conditions when the action resumed, but just as he dropped back to fifth, the safety car was called on track again.
Despite getting a last lap shootout, Jenkins couldn’t regain any more places so brought his Asset Alliance Group, Corroconsult and Digraph Transport Supplies backed Ginetta home in fifth place.
The second and last race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon was another close-fought affair, with Jenkins initially being shuffled back down to eighth place. He kept a cool head though and systematically picked off his opponents one by one over the next six laps.
Back into his starting position of fifth, the 15 year old held on to it to the finish. That result also secured him a fantastic second place in the rookie class for his second podium finish of the campaign.
Will Jenkins: "After a rollercoaster weekend at Silverstone, I was keen to have a more consistent and positive set of results at Croft. I was excited to get my first weekend with my new team, Elite Racing underway as well.
“Friday was near perfect for me, the car was quick straight out of the pits and I got a great opportunity to work with my teammates on our strategy for qualifying. It was also really helpful all weekend to be able to share data and see where I could make improvements.
“Qualifying was also really good. The car felt fantastic to drive, I was able to hook up a couple of great laps to finish in fifth place and obviously things got even better when I was promoted to fourth.
“The first race was pretty disruptive. I made a good start and was able to hang on to my position before the first safety car period was called out. When racing resumed I was focused on chasing down the guys in front of me and I was then able to have a go at third place going into Tower corner.
“Unfortunately I ran through a damp patch and slipped back to fifth. Annoyingly, the safety car made another appearance and ultimately cost me an opportunity to regain fourth.
“In the second race, we made a good start, although my wing mirrors were folded in immediately thanks to contact and that made it difficult to defend. I dropped back a few places, but I knew I had the speed and all I had to do was wait for the right moments to work my way from eighth to fifth.
“I was pleased with my progress and was extremely happy to get a rookie podium with Elite Racing in just our first race weekend together. I hope that we can keep these results going into the remaining two race weekends.”
The next race weekend of the 2020 Ginetta Junior Championship takes place at Snetterton on 24/25 October.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.