Richardson Racing enjoyed its best weekend of the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season at Thruxton with a brace of race wins.
The Corby-based team headed for the high-speed Hampshire circuit with drivers Robert de Haan, Edward Pearson and Oliver Flashman hoping to make the most of the knowledge they gained from racing at the circuit earlier in the year.
After a positive showing for all three drivers in Friday practice, hopes were high going into qualifying, with Robert leading the team’s challenge as he secured the seventh best time with a lap less than three-tenths of a second away from pole.
Edward would line up 17th having also been within a second of pole in a closely-fought session, with Oliver taking the start of the opening race of the weekend from 23rd place on the grid.
That race would prove to be a memorable one, with Robert emerging on top of a huge fight at the front to secure a maiden race win – making up for the victory lost to a post-race penalty at Knockhill two weeks earlier.
A strong start saw the Dutch racer make his way into the podium places by the end of lap three before he managed to get ahead of pole-sitter Callum Voisin on lap four to secure the lead. Even though that meant he was punching a hole in the air for his rivals behind on the long run up Woodham Hill for the remainder of the race, Robert saw off the challenge of the chasing pack to secure victory whilst also picking up the fastest lap.
Maintaining the solid form he had shown in Scotland, Edward was able to fight his way forwards to take eleventh place whilst Oliver produced another one of his traditional storming starts to rocket up the order on lap one to run in the top 20. He would climb as high as 15th before eventually taking the flag in 16th spot.
The grid for race two saw Robert in fourth, with Edward in 16th and Oliver in 21st, and it would prove to be a somewhat chaotic affair as a result of multiple penalties handed out across the field.
Robert would hold his place in the early stages of the race before climbing up into third spot, but an incident at the chicane on the final lap cost him valuable places as he slipped back to seventh spot on the run to the line.
Edward would recover from losing spots at the start to fight his way back up to 15th place at the finish, whilst Oliver would take the flag in the same position in which he had started in 21st.
However, post-race, a raft of penalties for drivers running off track at the chicane resulted in Robert being promoted into sixth spot, with Edward gaining a place in 14th but Oliver slipping back to 22nd.
Race three kicked off with Robert in sixth on the grid, but he wasted little time in moving up into the top three places at the start before moving ahead of Voisin and Seb Hopkins into the lead.
Despite the best efforts of his rivals to get back ahead, Robert held on at the front to secure a second victory of the weekend, allowing him to cement his top six position in the standings.
It would prove to be a more troublesome race for both Edward and Oliver however, as they were caught up in unfortunate incidents on track that hampered their challenge.
Edward had been pushing towards the top ten before being tipped into a spin that dropped him down the pack and left him in 21st place, whilst Oliver would be forced to bring his car into the pits after contact saw his bonnet become dislodged and resulted in him finishing back in 23rd spot.
Oliver Flashman (Benfleet, Essex) – #17 Ginetta G40:
“Results wise this weekend didn’t quite go to plan, although it started well in race one with P16 after a good start helped me make up loads of places. I think I raced really well in the second race and was on the pace even though I ended up outside the top 20, but the last race I got caught up in an incident I couldn’t avoid.
“I know my performance was better than the results on paper, so I’ll take the positives away from this weekend and come back at SIlverstone with a clear head and try and fight higher up the order.”
Edward Pearson (Guildford, Surrey) – #41 Ginetta G40:
“We weren’t very strong when we came here earlier in the season but I think we have been much better this weekend, although I know the results should have been better than they have been.
“I was happy with the first race but then race two was frustrating because there were other drivers who cut the final corner and got a penalty which would have moved me up to P8 but then the penalties got overturned, which was a bit hard to understand.
“It was a shame that we had some contact in race three that meant I had a spin and the bonnet came lose, but we’ll fight back at Silverstone next time out.”
Robert De Haan (Eerbeek, Netherlands) – #46 Ginetta G40:
“I’m really happy to get two wins this weekend although it wasn’t easy because of how competitive it was at the front. I had to work hard in both race one and race three to stay at the front and to come away with my first victories is great.
“It helped that I’d been here before as I knew where I could try and overtake people, but I also really like the circuit and knew we would be quick coming back. We’ve shown we have the speed this season and now I’ve got a win under my belt, I hope we can fight for more before the end of the year.”