|1st Central racing driver Sebastian Priaulx showed his fantastic fighting spirit as he pulled out a sensational podium finish from a tough trio of races at Snetterton this weekend (29/30 July) to maintain an eighteen point lead atop the 2017 Ginetta Junior Championship standings.Heading into the second half of the season as the new points leader after successfully appealing his Thruxton exclusion during the championship’s summer break, Priaulx kicked off the trip to Norfolk in positive fashion by finishing in the top three in both Friday’s practice sessions.
The sixteen year old was unlucky not to replicate that performance during an extremely close-fought qualifying session, finishing less than two tenths of a second off the top of the timesheets in fifth overall, though his second best time would put him on the front row for race two.
A fantastic start to the opening encounter would see Priaulx move up to third through the opening couple of corners before grabbing second at Agostini later in the lap, however his hard work would be undone when he was on the receiving end of contact on the second tour.
Spun down to thirteenth position, Priaulx would fightback impressively in his JHR Developments prepared Ginetta G40. Climbing into the top ten by mid-distance, he would eventually take the chequered flag in seventh position to secure some crucial championship points.
The second race later that day would unfortunately start in similar fashion for the Guernseyman as contact at the high-speed Bomb Hole corner whilst challenging for second position saw him sent spinning down to fifteenth place, leading to another comeback charge.
Fighting up to ninth position by the end of lap five, Priaulx would gain another position two laps later as he started to close on a fierce multi-car battle, before benefitting from an incident ahead between the top two to rise to fifth position on the penultimate lap.
A slick last lap move into Riches meant Priaulx would take the chequered flag in fourth in his IHG Rewards Club, Cazenove, Locate Guernsey and Visit Guernsey backed machine, before a time penalty for a driver in front promoted him to a superb eighth podium finish of the season.
Priaulx’s chances of a repeat performance in the final race of the weekend were hampered by a mysterious loss of engine power though, which left him facing an uphill battle through another incredibly close-fought nine lap encounter in front of the live ITV4 television cameras.
The reigning Ginetta Junior Winter Series champion was unceremoniously pushed out of the battle for the podium places on lap two and left to trade positions at the bottom of the top six, before some robust last lap moves shoved him to eighth at the finish.
That result secured him another strong haul of points though, meaning he takes an eighteen point advantage into the championship’s annual trip north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland in two weeks’ time (12/13 August).
Sebastian Priaulx: “It’s been a rollercoaster weekend for us, with plenty of ups and downs across all three races. I feel like Saturday went well, as we recovered well from the contact and got some crucial championship points with the podium finish in particular.
“That sort of drive is incredibly satisfying for a driver, to come back from the back of the field and grab a top three finish is brilliant. We didn’t get the chance to do that in race three though, as we were struggling for straight line speed and couldn’t attack for positions.
“We leave the meeting with almost the same points lead as which we entered it, which is good, and now we’re going to have a little break, get my head right and move onto the next weekend. Knockhill is a real drivers circuit and I’m looking forward to racing there.”