Richardson Racing was able to celebrate a pair of rookie class wins and an overall podium finish as the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship headed for Knockhill for the latest rounds of the year – although the weekend could have been even better for the Corby-based team.
With one of the rounds at Oulton Park two weeks earlier having been delayed, drivers Robert de Haan, Edward Pearson and Oliver Flashman would face a busy weekend at the Scottish circuit with four races taking place across a packed racing programme.
Qualifying for the opening race saw Robert post the fourth best time, with Edward in eleventh and Oliver in 20th – the results for both Robert and Edward being the best of the season so far.
The opening race would be a chaotic affair that ended in unfortunate fashion for Edward when he was involved in an incident at Clarks on the third lap that forced him to retire, with the race being halted to allow cars to be recovered from the gravel trap.
After the restart, Robert would run in fourth spot for much of the race and came agonisingly close to a top three finish as he lost out on third by just 0.053 after drawing alongside Seb Hopkins exiting the Hairpin on the final lap. Robert did however take top rookie honours.
Oliver was in fighting mood in the early stages of the race having moved up from 20th to take the restart in twelfth. Up as high as tenth after three laps, Oliver was on course for his best result of the year before a moment late on shuffled him back to 16th.
The second race of the weekend would be the delayed Oulton Park encounter, with Robert starting from 14th, Edward from 17th and Oliver from 22nd.
A strong run from Robert saw him show impressive pace as he battled his way through to fourth place, repeating his result from race one and taking second amongst the rookies. Edward crossed the line in 13th spot, with Oliver crossing the line in 24th.
Race three opened track action on Sunday morning but an incident on lap two saw the action halted, just moments after Robert had taken the lead of the race having started from third on the grid.
The grid would be reset for the restart which meant Robert once again lined up in third, with Edward in eighth spot and Oliver in 18th.
Holding position at the start, Robert quickly fought his way up into second spot, and the launched a move on Aston Miller at the hairpin to take the lead. From there, the Dutch racer produced a fine drive to keep Miller at bay as he wrapped up a first overall win in the series.
Edward looked set to secure his best result of the season as he ran in the top seven throughout the race, and held sixth going into the final lap. Unfortunately, Edward would be run wide at the hairpin on the final corner and that dropped him back down to 13th place as he crossed the line, with Oliver battling hard in the pack throughout before finishing
Post race however, the elation of a first win of the year would turn to disappointment, with Robert handed a ten second penalty for being slightly out of position at the start, which dropped him down to eighth place.
Left to start from eighth on the grid for the final race, Robert was once again able to display his impressive pace and racecraft as he battled his way through to the podium places, taking the chequered flag in third place overall and securing a second rookie win of the weekend.
Edward would recover from losing spots at the start to fight his way back to eleventh at the end of his strongest weekend of the campaign, with Oliver classified in 21st spot having picked up a five second penalty for exceeding track limits.
The trio will now return to Thruxton in two weeks time for the next round of the season.
Oliver Flashman (Benfleet, Essex) – #17 Ginetta G40:
“We got a few points on the board but I would have liked to get more this weekend. I need to work on my performance in qualifying to be higher up the order as that didn’t help me this weekend and left me with work to do.
“I’m happy again with my race craft but didn’t quite have the speed to make up more places and I’ll now look forward to returning to Thruxton, where hopefully the experience I gained earlier in the year will allow me to fight for some stronger results.”
Edward Pearson (Guildford, Surrey) – #41 Ginetta G40:
“We had a tough start to the season but we are coming back strong and this has been a really positive weekend. I think we can now start to focus on fighting for the top ten on a regular basis, and maybe starting to push for the podium.
“I’ve picked up some really good results, although it was a shame to miss out on a top ten in the third race, and I feel I’m not showing what I can do in this car. The team has done a great job and this is easily the best weekend I’ve had this year.”
Robert De Haan (Eerbeek, Netherlands) – #46 Ginetta G40:
“I’m really happy with the pace that I have shown this weekend, although it’s obviously disappointing that I lost a hard earned win to a penalty. In all of the races, I was really quick and it was good that I recovered to get onto the podium in the final one after what had happened earlier.
I gave it my all this weekend to try and score some good results and it’s nice to be taking some silverware home with me. Now I just want to fight hard to make sure we get the win that I lose here as soon as possible.”