Richardson Racing enjoyed a successful end to the 2021 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season after wrapping up the Rookie Cup title during a chaotic final weekend of the year at Brands Hatch, which included a first double podium finish.
The Corby-based team headed into the season finale well placed to wrap up the rookie crown thanks to a strong campaign from Dutch racer Robert de Haan, with team-mate Edward Pearson also eager to try and finish his year with some well deserved silverware.
Qualifying would prove to be a somewhat truncated affair as a result of two red flags, which limited drivers to just two flying laps in the time available.
Despite that, Robert was able to secure a place on the front row of the grid with the second best time, with Edward lining up in tenth spot; both drivers picking up their best qualifying results of the campaign in the process.
The opening race of the weekend would see Robert jump into the lead at the start, with Edward slipping a spot to eleventh before the action was halted to allow stricken cars to be recovered from the gravel following an incident at turn one.
When the action resumed over a shortened five lap distance, Robert retained the lead before rival Aston Millar nipped ahead just before the safety car was called out due to a further incident on track. With the race ending under caution, Robert would be classified in second spot as the leading rookie.
Shuffled back down the pack on the opening lap, Edward had climbed back to 17th before the safety car was called out, preventing him from making up further ground.
The grid for race two would be decided by the second quickest times in qualifying, leaving Edward to start from P8 on the grid but Robert back in an unrepresentative 13th spot.
The race itself would go behind the safety car after another early incident and would ultimately feature just one racing lap, with Edward crossing the line where he had started to grab a maiden rookie class podium, and Robert taking tenth spot having made up three places when the lights went out.
Both had work to do in race three with the grid determined by the race two result, but it would prove to be one of the highlights of the campaign as the team ended the year on a high.
Despite picking up early damage to his car, Robert fought his way up the order to grab second spot by the end of lap four, with Edward right on his tail after a storming start to the same lap saw him make up three places to run in third.
The pair would run together before another safety car was called and with the caution period only ending in time for the run to the chequered flag, the duo would cross the line together in second and third.
With a total of nine podium finishes, Robert ends the season fourth in the overall standings and as winner of the Rookie Cup, whilst Edward’s maiden podium in the final race helped him to end the campaign in 17th overall.
Edward Pearson (Guildford, Surrey) – #41 Ginetta G40:
“What a weekend! Coming to Brands Hatch I didn’t expect this as testing didn’t go that well, but things just clicked and I’ve been similar to Rob on pace all the way through. Race one was disappointing and although I was a bit lucky with the safety car in race two, I was really pleased to get that first rookie podium.
“Race three however was brilliant and when I made the move to get P3, I didn’t know if I’d manage to make it through! To grab a podium finish after a race like that was brilliant, and it shows I have the pace to run at the front once I’m there. This has been the toughest year I’ve done in racing – but it was well worth it in the end.”
Robert De Haan (Eerbeek, Netherlands) – #46 Ginetta G40:
“It’s been an incredible weekend and I’m proud to have wrapped up the Rookie Cup. The first two races this weekend were a bit messy with the safety cars and we didn’t get a lot of racing, but race three was brilliant and to come from P10 to get a podium was a nice way to end the season.
“It’s been a great year for me and I think without a few mistakes along the way, we could maybe have got into the top three. However, P4 and the rookie crown is a great result, and I’m really proud of it.”