CARDOSO AND MAILER MAKE SOLID IMPRESSION ON CAR RACING DEBUT
Ginetta Junior Championship team Hillspeed ended the opening weekend of the new season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday, 30th March, pleased with the progress made by its two rookie racers Harry Mailer and Pedro Cardoso – the latter achieving a best finish of eighth on his debut.
Brazilian youngster Cardoso was the fastest of the Hillspeed duo in qualifying for the opening round on Saturday, 29th March, the 14-year-old car racing newcomer posting a best lap of 57.943 seconds (75.04 mph) to secure a place on the fifth row of the grid. British karting graduate Mailer was a further 0.6 seconds shy of his team-mate, equating to 15th on the grid for his debut car race.
At the start Cardoso was nudged back to 11th place but he remained in touch with the group ahead until a spin as he headed into the uphill right-hander at McLaren. Dropping the South American to 18th position, he fought his way back into the top 15 by the end of the penultimate lap but all of his hard work was undone on the final tour after another moment – resulting in a 19th place finish.
Mailer slipped to 17th position on the first lap and although losing more ground at mid-distance, he continued to battle hard. Running in 19th place into the closing stages, behind Cardoso, 14-year-old Mailer eventually finished the race in 17th spot after Cardoso’s second spin.
For Sunday afternoon’s televised encounter, broadcast on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, Cardoso lined-up in 12th position with Mailer in 16th place but the action fell under Safety Car conditions before the end of the opening lap due to a multi-car tangle on the run into the first corner.
With the Hillspeed pairing able to avoid getting caught-up in the aftermath, Cardoso moved up into eighth position with Mailer maintaining 16th place. Although nudged back to 18th position after the re-start on lap six, he stayed out of trouble and climbed into 14th place before the chequered flag.
Cardoso, meanwhile, profited from Lando Norris running wide at Clearways after racing had resumed and duly moved into seventh place. Pressuring Alex Sedgewick for sixth, the multiple Brazilian karting champion moved ahead on lap eight before coming under attack himself from the recovering Norris a few laps later.
On the 12th lap, Cardoso fended off a challenge at Paddock Hill Bend but was then put wide at Graham Hill Bend and elbowed back to eighth place where he remained to the flag in his Hillspeed Ginetta G40.
Reflecting on the weekend, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Harry only had his second day in the car last Monday at Brands, so other than the Media Day that’s the only track time he’d had before the weekend. He did everything we asked, he kept out of trouble and came back without a mark on his car. Two finishes, and the experience that went with them, are just what he needed.
“Pedro’s been more fortunate in that he’s had more mileage in the car, although his running at Brands was limited. His pace has been very encouraging, he can get in the car and switch it on straight away. Ultimately, I’ve been very pleased with both drivers and we’re now looking forward to Donington and making more progress there.”
Ginetta Junior Championship action will resume three weeks from now on Easter weekend, 19th/20th April, at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire. Prior to that, Hillspeed’s Protyre Formula Renault squad will begin its 2014 season next weekend, 5th/6th April, at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit in Northamptonshire.
2014 Ginetta Junior Championship Standings (after Rd2):
12th Pedro Cardoso, 16pts; 17th Harry Mailer, 11pts
2014 Ginetta Junior Championship Team Standings (after Rd2):
6th Hillspeed, 27pts