HILLSPEED DUO MAILER & WALLACE IMPRESS WITH STRONG WINTER SERIES
Hathersage motor racing team Hillspeed put together an impressively strong KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Winter Series campaign at a very wet and challenging Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend, 8th/9th November, with rookie drivers Harry Mailer and Benjamin Wallace both shining.
Mailer, in particular, enjoyed a great outing with four top 10 results including career-best seventh place finishes in rounds one and four. In race two the youngster finished in eighth place while in round three he was ninth, ultimately ending the series sixth in the championship standings.
Team-mate Wallace, competing in only his fourth Ginetta Junior race weekend, began his Winter Series campaign very well indeed with 10th position in the first of Saturday’s encounters and then added a top 12 finish in round two. On Sunday, though, an unfortunate collision in race three, not of Wallace’s making, also ruled him out of round four.
“Both of our drivers had a strong Winter Series, we’ve been very pleased with their continued progress – as shown by qualifying third and fifth fastest on Sunday in the second session”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “Harry produced some great races and to end the series in sixth place overall is impressive, especially considering the experience of the drivers ahead of him.
“Ben was compromised with his non-finish in the first of Sunday’s races, he was very unlucky. As he went through Hamilton there was a car across the track in front of him, Ben thought the car was going to roll back so he went to the right. Then it pitched round, as Ben was committed, and there was nothing he could do. It was a real shame as, otherwise, it was a very strong weekend for him.”
Wallace and Mailer were incredibly evenly matched in the weekend’s first qualifying session on Saturday morning, with the former posting the 12th fastest time a mere 0.066 seconds shy of his team-mate.
Following an early Safety Car period in the first race, Mailer was ninth after a fantastic start while Wallace held 11th position. Breaking into the top 10 on lap three, Wallace remained in 10th spot to the finish but Mailer was able to gain two positions on the sixth and final lap to leap from ninth into seventh place – the best result of his maiden season in Ginetta Junior.
For round two, Mailer and Wallace lined-up in seventh and 10th but both drivers unfortunately lost a place respectively on the opening lap. Mailer piled on the pressure to rival Lewis Brown during the middle part of the race before ultimately settling for eighth, while Wallace ended the encounter in 12th position after being served with a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits.
On day two of the Winter Series, overnight rain and continued rainfall during the morning resulted in a particularly wet track surface for the second qualifying session but the Hillspeed duo reveled in the conditions with Mailer qualifying a career-best third fastest and Wallace an equally impressive fifth.
Although nudged back to fourth place at the beginning of round three, Mailer ran close behind Dan Zelos and the podium battle looked set to intensify on lap three with only a few tenths of a second splitting second placed Patrik Matthiessen, Zelos and Mailer. Wallace, meanwhile, slipped to seventh on the first lap but quickly fought back and moved into the top five on the second tour.
On lap three, though, Wallace’s involvement came to an end when he was unable to avoid the car of Connor Grady at the exit of Hamilton which led to a red flag stoppage. Racing resumed a short while later over a distance of just three laps and Mailer ultimately finished in ninth place while Wallace had to sit out the re-started contest due to the earlier accident.
For the final round on Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t possible for Wallace’s car to be repaired in time due to the short turnaround between races so Mailer was the sole Hillspeed representative. Starting in ninth, he moved into the top eight after an early Safety Car period but then slipped back.
On lap four, however, he grabbed two positions in quick succession as a couple of rivals fell back and then moved into sixth place on the penultimate tour. Nudged back to seventh on the final lap, the result still marked another strong showing from the first year racer as he equaled his 2014 best.