MASSOT ROUNDS OUT SEASON WITH ELEVENTH ROOKIE WIN
Hillspeed¹s Pepe Massot secured his 11th Rookie Cup victory, and seventh outright podium, of the Ginetta Junior Championship season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 20th/21st October, during the final event of the 2012 campaign.
Racing to an excellent second place finish overall in round 19 on Saturday afternoon, the talented Spaniard was on course for an outright win 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 Sunday¹s 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 he 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 after tangling with race one aggressor Niall Murray 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.
For team-mate Freddie Lee, his fifth weekend in the championship was one of mixed fortunes as he retired on lap two of the opening encounter following an unfortunate excursion having begun the race in 13th position.
Beginning round 20 from 13th place as well, the Ginetta Junior rookie enjoyed a much better outing in very difficult conditions and climbed into the top 12 early on before moving into 10th two laps later. Following a brief Safety Car period, the action resumed over a single lap with Lee taking ninth place at the finish, fourth in the Rookie Cup.
³It¹s been a good year and Pepe has driven fantastically in his first season, he really deserved the outright win on Saturday so we¹re very disappointed with what happened there², said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, ³Robust driving in both races cost us two wins as far as I¹m concerned, we had the fastest car and best driver in the conditions but Pepe was hit in both races which wasn¹t on.
³Things like that have got to be policed properly otherwise it¹s very bad for the championship and its profile. Even so, Pepe had a very strong weekend and Freddie bounced back very well from his race one disappointment to finish fourth best rookie in race two.²