Total Control Racing driver Matt Chapman is setting his sights on a fresh start to the 2015 Ginetta Junior Championship season following the upcoming six week summer break, after a luckless outing at Croft Circuit over the weekend, 27th/28th June, during the fifth event of the campaign.
While the Oxford youngster’s second season in cars has been one of great frustration with clear front-running pace compromised by a variety of incidents and issues not of his making, rounds nine and 10 compounded his unjustified misfortune.
Although disappointed to qualify in 14th place, having been sixth fastest in pre-event testing, Matt was confident of climbing the order in the opening race of the weekend but round nine went awry for the TCR racer on lap two when he was caught-up in the aftermath of an accident just ahead.
Maintaining position at the start on a very busy first lap, as the cars rounded Clervaux and headed towards Hawthorn a couple of drivers in front of the 15-year-old tangled and, with nowhere to go, his Ginetta G40 sustained significant frontal damage.
As well as the front-right tyre being ripped off the rim, the deranged wheel was also pushed in towards the engine which resulted in broken suspension too. Attempting to coax his car back to the pits, the extent of the damage instead meant he had to pull off the circuit at the complex.
After tremendously hard work from the TCR mechanics to repair the car overnight, Matt had to start Sunday’s televised race, round 10, from the back of the grid in 24th position and the Oxfordshire teenager had a huge task on his hands to make any inroads.
Gaining several places off the line, his efforts were somewhat undone at the chicane where, on the outside line, he was unfortunately elbowed back again. Following an early Safety Car period he held 22nd position and despite being much faster than the cars ahead, making a clean pass was almost impossible with the competition defending very robustly. He ultimately ended the race in 21st place.
“Race one was obviously really disappointing, qualifying didn’t go how we wanted – the car just didn’t feel like it did in testing – and there was nothing I could do to avoid the contact”, said Matt, “I had nothing to lose in race two, starting from the back, and my start was good taking three or four places off the line.
“I was on the outside for the chicane, though, so lost out there and then it was difficult trying to get past some of the slower cars. It’s frustrating when you know you’re so much faster, but they defend so hard. We couldn’t do anything about where we started race two, but the aim for Snetterton after the break is to take our testing pace into qualifying so we’re near the front where we should be.”
There is now a six week summer sojourn for the Ginetta Junior Championship with the second half of the season getting underway over the weekend 8th/9th August at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk.