Adam Smalley took a rookie podium at Knockhill in the opening race of the weekend in Ginetta Juniors.
The Ginetta Junior Championship headed up North to Scotland for rounds 16-17 of the championship. JHR Developments driver Adam Smalley set the 5th fastest time in qualifying, just 0.178s off pole position around the technical and undulating Knockhill circuit.
His second fastest time was good enough for the 3rd fastest time when these laps were counted to make up the grid for the second race of the weekend. Meaning Smalley would start 5th and 3rd in the two races after a strong qualifying performance, on a technical circuit were a driver can make the difference.
Race one saw Smalley make a good start, but rival Seb Priaulx made a lightening getaway and squeezed past demoting him a position to 6th. Smalley and Tom Wood battled for position down the start/finish straight and for the vast majority of the race – constantly swapping positions throughout. These two caught up to the leading quintet on lap six as their battle continued to rage on.
Smalley ultimately got the better of Wood to come across the line in 6th position. This became 5th in the final classification after Priaulx was given a 5 second penalty for a track limit infringement. This result gave Smalley 2nd overall on the Rookie Podium, gaining him more silverware to add to his 2017 collection.
The second race of the weekend, starting from the inside of the second row saw Smalley maintain 3rd over the first lap and challenging the leading duo Priaulx and Kiern Jewiss. Daniel Harper made a bold lunge on Smalley blunting his progress in the challenge for the overall podium places. As 2th-7th all bunched up, Smalley went for a move on Harper after he had a minor excursion – Smalley was forced over the kerb and resulted in contact, dropping Smalley down the order.
Wood then went for a move on Smalley one lap later, as Luke Browning took a wide line into the final corner. This resulted in three-way contact, spinning Browning around and dropping Smalley down to 14th position with front end damage.
Smalley managed to battle back through to 10th after a bold comeback through the pack in the remaining ten laps, salvaging some points after a battling performance.
“It was a mixed weekend at Knockhill, we were very fast all through testing and qualifying but it just didn’t quite fall our way in race one. Race two we just always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and a bit of contact ruined the race. We got another Rookie Podium but hopefully we will be back on the main podium soon, starting with Rockingham.
Big thanks to Total Rail Solutions, Ginetta, Snap-On Tools and F1 Alloys for their support this weekend.”
After the Knockhill round, Smalley retains 7 overall in the championship standings on 268 points, as the series heads to Rockingham Motor Speedway on the 26-27 August for rounds 18-20 of the Ginetta Junior Championship.