Massot impresses in maiden season

Pepe Massot of Hillspeed.
Pepe Massot of Hillspeed.
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Ginetta Junior Championship rookie Pepe Massot closed to within just a single point of the top four in the title race at Croft Circuit with a weekend’s highlight of second place during round nine of the season, the fourth podium of the Hillspeed driver’s maiden campaign.

Adding fourth place in round ten, just 1.5 seconds shy of another outright podium, the 16-year-old also claimed the Rookie Class victory in both encounters for the Hathersage-based squad to conclude the first half of his debut year in cars with an armful of silverware.

“We’re really pleased with Pepe’s performance again this weekend”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.

“It’s yet another circuit he’d never seen until he arrived for the practice on Friday so to do what he has is, once again, exceptional.”

Inclement weather in qualifying on the Saturday resulted in a tricky and unpredictable session in which Hillspeed’s teenage Spaniard was only able to post one true quick lap before rain took the edge off the grip available.

Even so, he started round nine from a superb second on the grid and made a good getaway to hold position before applying significant pressure to pole-sitter Sennan Fielding.

Glued to the back of the leader’s car, Massot soon became a target himself as the top four closed up, so into Tower on lap five he had a brief look up the inside but also had to defend from Charlie Robertson behind.

On lap six, Robertson dived up the inside of the Hillspeed car into Clervaux but he hit the kerbs and so Massot was able to retake second place.

Pulling three seconds clear of his pursuers over the final couple of laps, Massot took his third runner-up spot of the season and third podium on the bounce.

Lining up on the second row of the grid for round ten, Massot held fourth place off the start and remained there throughout the eight lap contest.

Running within just 0.3 seconds of the podium during the early stages, he eventually settled for fourth overall and his second Rookie Class win of the weekend. His best lap, meanwhile, was a mere 0.1 seconds shy of the best of all.

“The rain in qualifying meant we only had one good lap so to be on the front row for the first race and second row for race two was good going”, added Ollerenshaw.

“Pepe didn’t crack at all in the races under serious pressure from some very experienced drivers, plus he was still able to attack Sennan [Fielding] too in the first one.

“It’s been a great way for us to end the first half of the season.”

There is now a break in the Ginetta Junior Championship calendar with the second half of the season commencing on August 11-12 at Snetterton in Norfolk.

Before then, Hillspeed will return to action at Croft.

This will be for rounds eight and nine of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, to take place on July 21-22.

With such a lengthy lay-off for the Ginetta Junior squad, the summer hiatus provides an ideal chance for Hillspeed to go testing with its G40 race cars as the team looks to fill its second seat prior to the second half of the campaign getting underway.

Interested drivers can contact Richard Ollerenshaw on 01433 650400 or by email to info@hillspeed.co.uk