The Richardson Racing team endured a challenging weekend on track as the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season resumed at Thruxton.
The Corby-based team headed into the weekend looking to build on a promising weekend at Knockhill, where Georgi Dimitrov had taken his third win of the season, and fellow rookies Trennon Bettany and Rowan Vincent had shown solid progress on track.
Friday testing at the high-speed Hampshire circuit saw Georgi leading the team’s challenge with the eighth best time, with Trennon 14th fastest and Rowan in 20th as the three drivers looked to learn as much as possible about the quickest circuit in the UK.
After one final practice session on Saturday morning, the trio headed into qualifying seeking to push forwards up the order, but it would prove to be a challenging session that ended with Georgi 16th, Trennon in 17th and Rowan in 19th spot.
A strong opening lap from Georgi saw him move up into the top ten, but he would suffer from a loss of power during the mid-part of the race as a result of debris in the front of his car, eventually taking the flag in 13th spot despite lapping quicker than he had done in qualifying.
Trennon by contrast found himself at the back of the field after the opening lap before fighting his way back back up to 16th place, whilst Rowan was unfortunate to be forced wide at the high-speed Church corner on the second lap, which resulted in him taking a trip across the grass and being forced to pit.
That dropped him off the lead lap and resulted in a 20th place finish.
The second race of the weekend would see the trio again left with work to do, with Georgi starting from 16th ahead of Trennon, and Rowan in 19th spot – the grid having been decided by the second quickest times set in qualifying.
Georgi’s hopes of pushing forwards through the grid came to an end on the opening lap when he was forced off track, with the resultant damage as he was hit by one of his rivals resulting in a trip to the pits that dropped him off the lead lap.
Having managed to stay out of trouble, Rowan and Trennon were able to come through a chaotic start to sit just outside the top ten.
Unfortunately, the pair – running together on track – were then involved in an incident at the final chicane that saw them collected by the car of Bailey Voisin, with both Rowan and Trennon going off into the barriers as a result.
Heavy contact with the barriers saw both cars heavily damaged and resulted in the race being red-flagged, although Rowan and Trennon both escaped injury.
Although the field would re-grid for a five lap sprint, Georgi was unable to take his place in the race when he was pushed off the grid as a result of his engine overheating, bringing the curtain down on a tough weekend in disappointing fashion.
The trio will look to bounce back when the series heads to Silverstone next weekend for the sixth round of the season.
“It’s been a challenging weekend for the team and clearly the end result isn’t what we were hoping for,” team manager Andrew Richardson said. “Thruxton is a very unique circuit and one that can be difficult for experienced drivers, never mind three rookies who are racing here for the first time.
“We had work to do after qualifying but the opening race showed that all three had the potential to move forwards even if that might not have been reflected in the final result. It’s frustrating that they weren’t able to then show that in race two through no fault of their own, but the most important thing is that both Rowan and Trennon are fine after a heavy impact with the barriers.
“There is now a busy week ahead to repair the cars before we head for our local round at Silverstone, and this is just one of those events that we have to put behind us and focus on the remaining rounds that are still to come.”