The Richardson Racing team secured another pair of podium finishes from what would prove to be a challenging weekend in Scotland as the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship headed for Knockhill.
The Corby-based team made the long trip north looking to maintain the strong form it has displayed across the 2019 season, with Will Martin, Casper Stevenson and Ethan Hawkey all optimistic about their prospects of fighting for strong results on track.
Despite losing a lap time to a track limits infringement, Will secured pole position for the opening race of the weekend, with Casper lining up in fourth place and Ethan snaring sixth.
Although he would briefly slip behind James Hedley at the start, Will wasted little time in getting back into the lead and then produced a number of storming early laps to build an advantage of more than three seconds after just five laps.
His charge would end in heart-breaking fashion however, when sudden engine failure at Clarks left him with a hole in the side of the engine and forced him into retirement.
That left Casper and Ethan to fly the flag for the team, with the pair battling hard together on track for a place on the podium.
Casper would ultimately prevail as he secured second overall behind Hedley as best placed of the rookie drivers, although a strong run for Ethan ended in disappointment with a spin off into retirement at Clarks two laps from the end.
With the team changing the engine on Will’s car, he was able to take his place at the head of the grid for the second race and would lead the opening lap before a multi-car shunt further down the field saw the Safety Car brought out.
After the restart, Will was under attack from the cars behind and – unable to match his pace from race one – would slip back to eighth place by the finish, with a trip over the grass not helping his chances.
His place at the head of the field would be taken by Casper, who had moved ahead shortly after the restart and fought hard at the front of the pack ahead of Hedley and Zak O’Sullivan. He would be left to settle for third place at the flag after the pair managed to find a way through in the closing two laps.
Ethan meanwhile would run in the top six early on before a moment at the hairpin on lap eight dropped him to the back of the field, although he would recover back through to tenth at the finish.
The final race of the weekend would prove to be a chaotic affair, with Casper once again leading the team’s challenge from the second row of the grid.
Holding third place off the line, Casper ran inside the podium places until lap nine when Lorcan Hanafin managed to go around the outside at the hairpin. Making a move to reclaim the place three laps later, Casper would instead find himself delayed on the exit, allowing Gustav Burton and Ethan to get ahead.
Ethan had started down in tenth place but kept his nose clean and stayed out of trouble to work his way up the order and would eventually take the flag in fifth place – less than half a second away from the podium places.
An action-packed final few laps for Casper saw him slip back the order to tenth place at the finish having had the tracking on his car knocked out of alignment, whilst a tough weekend for Will ended with him the final classified runner in 19th after a spin at the chicane left him requiring a trip to the pits, which dropped him off the lead lap.
Will Martin, #10 (Battle, East Sussex), said:
“The weekend started well with qualifying, but unfortunately it turned out to be one to forget. The first race was all going to plan and I was controlling things from the front but when the engine then let go, that pretty much signaled the end of my chances of picking up a strong result.
“In races two and three, we just didn’t have the pace in the car that we had in the early part of race one and I wasn’t able to challenge for the kind of results that we should have been fighting for. It’s frustrating but there is nothing that I could have done to change it, and I’ll look to come back fighting at Silverstone.”
Casper Stevenson, #25 (London), said:
“It’s been a really good weekend and I’ve enjoyed my first experience of Knockhill. It’s a very challenging circuit and I think that benefits the drivers who are in their second year; I still don’t think I’ve mastered the chicane for example.
“Despite that, I’m pleased to come away from the weekend with a couple of podium finishes to my name and it was good to show my pace in leading most of race two, even though I didn’t manage to get the win in the end.
“It’s unfortunate that a little bit of contact while fighting for position knocked the tracking out in race three but overall, I’m happy with the results and I’m hoping for more podiums from the rounds still to come.”
Ethan Hawkey, #40 (Chislehurst, Kent), said:
“The final race was a good way to end the weekend, and I’m happy to come through from tenth on the grid to be in the mix for a podium finish. In the first two races, I was a bit too eager to make up places and it cost me, so going into race three, I tried to just calm down and be more patient in my approach.
“That approach worked and I showed that I have strong pace to come through to fifth place and pick up a solid result to end the weekend. Hopefully I can build on that final race through the final two rounds and challenge for a place on the podium.”