Will Jenkins experienced the highs and lows of motorsport at Brands Hatch this past weekend (10/11 September), picking up a brilliant fourth Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge win of the season before being cruelly denied another victory.
After his toughest outing of the season so far at Croft last time out, Jenkins took advantage of the lengthy 11-week summer break before Brands Hatch to fully reset and prepare for an action-packed, high pressure final two weekends of the season.
Returning to a circuit on which he scored a podium finish in the Ginetta Juniors last season, the Staffordshire based racer was straight on the leading pace in qualifying on Saturday morning and impressively secured front-row starts for the opening two races of the weekend.
Jenkins got off to a fantastic start in the first of those, sweeping past the pole-sitter and title rival Harley Haughton through Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. His lead was short-lived, however he went on to emerge from an action-packed first lap in second place.
A subdued race from there saw Jenkins hold second position throughout for a crucial podium finish. The 17 year old talent headed into Sunday determined to climb on the top step of the podium and duly delivered with an exemplary performance in race two.
The Stone-based driver maintained second place off the start and immediately latched onto the tail of his Elite Motorsport team-mate Haughton. Running nose-to-tail for a few laps, Jenkins picked his moment to pull off a fantastic move into Paddock Hill Bend to take the lead.
A faultless defensive drive over the second half of the race netted him a richly deserved victory and put him on pole for race three. He converted that into the lead and once again produced a brilliant drive to soak up the pressure from Haughton behind.
Unfortunately, an opportunistic move from his team-mate led to heavy contact to the rear wheel of Jenkins’ car, spinning him off into the gravel trap and out of the race. While his adversary was penalised post-race for the incident, it still left a frustrated Jenkins with a zero points score for the race.
The Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group and Digraph supported driver will head into the GT5 Challenge season finale at Donington Park next month (15/16 October) sitting second in the championship standings, just 13 points off the summit.
Will Jenkins: ’“It’s a shame what happened in the final race, as up until that point it had been a fantastic weekend. We were right on the pace from the off on Friday and while frustrating to miss out on pole position and the race one win, I still got some good points in the bag.
“Race two was one of my favourite wins of my career so far, as we were on the limit all race and I was able to force him into the small mistake needed to get through and win. I was confident I could keep him behind in race three and win again, but sadly he had other ideas.
“At the end of the day, I only ended up losing one point in the championship standings so we head into the final rounds right in contention still. We were very fast at Donington Park earlier in the season, so I’m confident we can go there and get the results needed to win the title.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.