Hillspeed’s Pepe Massot secured his 11th Rookie Cup victory, and seventh outright podium, of the Ginetta Junior Championship season at Brands Hatch last weekend, during the final event of the 2012 campaign.
Racing to an excellent second-placed finish overall in round 19 on Saturday afternoon, the talented driver was on course for an outright win for his Hathersage-based team, which would have been the third of his sensational debut season in cars, but contact into Druids as he defended the lead on lap five put him wide.
Massot had taken the lead off the start, having qualified on pole position earlier in the day, and, despite monumental pressure, he drove well to keep the chasing pack behind. Although dropping to third after the contact at the hairpin, Pepe pressed on and took second into Surtees on lap six before finishing the race just 0.7 seconds shy of the win, although taking a dominant Rookie Class victory.
In Sunday’s final race of the season, round 20, worsening rain made conditions very challenging but Massot found the grip he needed from second on the grid to make a good start and ran side-by-side with pole-sitter, and eventual champion, Charlie Robertson into Paddock Hill Bend.
Slipping to third on the exit after being edged slightly wide, Massot was then put off the road at Hawthorn midway through the opening lap and dropped back to eighth position. Mounting a sterling recovery, the 16-year-old worked his way back into fourth part way through lap four where he remained to the finish, second in the Rookie Cup.
“It’s been a good year and Pepe has driven fantastically in his first season. He really deserved the outright win on Saturday so we’re very disappointed with what happened there”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “Robust driving in both races cost us two wins as far as I’m concerned, we had the fastest car and best driver in the conditions but Pepe was hit in both races which wasn’t on.”
n Hillspeed are in action at the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series on November 10, at Rockingham. in Northamptonshire.