Gamble makes sensational racing return on Formula Renault debut
As the Ginetta Junior Championship reached its conclusion, the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin got underway at Brands Hatch over the weekend with Hillspeed fielding two cars one for ex-Ginetta Junior racer George Gamble and a second for Matt Rao.
Gamble, making his first competitive outing in six long months and also his maiden race outing in single-seaters, starred across the weekend with some tremendous performances concluding his debut an excellent fifth in the driver standings.
Only agreeing a deal with the Hathersage squad last Tuesday, the 16-year-old worked his way through the order from 13th on the grid in round one on Saturday and had carved his way into the top 10 by lap six. He then gained two more positions when the two cars dicing directly in front of him tangled, moving Gamble into eighth.
Starting Sunday¹s race, which took place in persistent rain, from 12th on the grid the newcomer put together a very mature drive as many of the experienced runners came to grief. Again making good, consistent progress throughout he worked his way into a richly deserved seventh place.
³Six months out and only three hours at Donington on Thursday morning what an absolutely outstanding performance from George this weekend², commented Ollerenshaw, ³He got quicker all the way through and if we had managed to get the deal together a bit sooner and had time for some proper testing, I think we¹d have had a strong chance at the Winter Series title.²
Unfortunately for Rao, who made his category debut during the main season finale at Silverstone two weeks ago, his weekend ended in the second qualifying session on Saturday when an excursion into the barriers caused massive damage to the rear of his FR 2.0 car.
Having qualified 11th fastest in the round one session, hopes were high for a consistently strong weekend but a lack of available parts to facilitate the repair in time for the races meant Rao had to sit out Sunday¹s action.
Rounds three and four of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin will take place three weeks from now on Saturday, 10th November, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.
Final 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings:
4th Pepe Massot, 395pts; 14th Freddie Lee, 76pts
2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin Standings (after Rds1&2):
5th George Gamble, 34pts; 18th Matt Rao, 0pts