Ginetta Junior Championship front-runner Pepe Massot secured yet another Rookie Cup victory for reigning champions Hillspeed during round 16 at Rockingham, although contact at the final corner on the last lap denied the Spaniard, and his Hathersage team, of a deserved outright podium finish.
While qualifying didn’t quite go according to plan for the 16-year-old, starting eighth on the grid for both encounters, Massot delivered two excellent race performances, in particular Sunday’s outing in which he scythed his way through into the top three only to be knocked back to fifth.
Climbing into the top six on the opening lap of round 16, the first-year racer piled on the pressure to the drivers ahead and quickly took fifth before a tight battle over fourth ensued with Ollie Chadwick and Harry Woodhead.
Glued to the tail of Chadwick’s Ginetta G40, with Niall Murray only fractionally ahead of both in third place, Massot remained patient and out of Brook Chicane on lap six he benefitted from terrific drive to get the inside line through Turn Four of the Rockingham Oval.
Running into lap seven alongside Murray, with Chadwick on the outside, the Hillspeed racer grabbed third place with some great driving into Turn One but on the final lap contact dropped Massot back to fifth behind both rivals.
In Saturday’s race, he moved into the top four by the end of lap two and, although slipping to fifth behind recovering championship leader Charlie Robertson, who dropped back on the second tour after contact with Sennan Fielding, Massot grabbed fourth back at Tarzan on lap seven, from Woodhead.
Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “In qualifying, Pepe missed the opportunity to hook his laps up but he raced very impressively. Moving up to third from eighth on the grid in race two was outstanding and he managed to pass every car along the way without the slightest bit of contact.”
Rounds 17 and 18 of the Ginetta Junior Championship will take place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire over the weekend of October 6-7. At the same event, Hillspeed will also have its Protyre Formula Renault BARC squad in action for the final two rounds of that championship.