Adam Smalley and Luke Browning share Oulton Park spoils

Ginetta Junior Championship
Oulton Park
June 10, 2018

2018 Season

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Points leader Adam Smalley and local racer Luke Browning shared the spoils as the battle for the Ginetta Junior Championship headed for Oulton Park for the latest two rounds of the season.

Having set the pace in practice, Browning qualified on pole position at his home circuit with a best lap two-tenths of a second quicker than points leader Smalley was able to manage, with James Hedley leading the Rookie class drivers in third; his best qualifying result of the year to date.

Browning made the ideal start to lead the way into turn one when the lights went out with Smalley giving chase, whilst Scholarship winner James Taylor slotted into third spot as the field funneled four abreast into Old Hall.

Taylor’s start however was deemed to be a bit too good, with stewards adding an additional ten seconds to his race time and dropping him back down to rear of the field.  

Out front, the top two were able to break away from the chasing pack and whilst Smalley would keep Browning honest, he wasn’t able to get close enough to put the leader under serious pressure – with Browning taking the flag for his fourth win of the year and Smalley maintaining his impressive record of taking a podium in every race he has finished this season.  

Behind, the battle for third however would be a much frenetic affair, with Hedley, Fin Green, Louis Foster and Ruben Del Sarte dicing for the final spot of the podium.  

With Taylor still running third on the road ahead of them, the quartet would battle hard for the position, with Hedley holding third before Green made his move on lap four and was followed through by both Foster and Del Sarte behind.  

Despite the best efforts of Foster behind, Green held on to secure his second podium finish of the year, with Foster, Del Sarte and Hedley rounding out the top six. Although he was able to stay ahead of the squabbling foursome to cross the line third on the road, Taylor’s penalty meant he was ultimately classified in eleventh spot.  

That wouldn’t be the end of the story however, with Browning losing the victory when his car failed post-race scrutineering after checks revealed that the car didn’t have the minimum amount of oil in the diff – giving Smalley victory ahead of Green and Foster.

Browning’s Richardson Racing team has announced that it intends to appeal the decision, meaning the result remains provisional.

Race two saw Browning once again starting from pole position and having kept his lead when the lights went out, the Cheshire racer found himself more than two seconds clear by the end of lap one as it all kicked off behind.  

Contact between Hedley and Smalley into Island Bend saw Smalley drop to the rear of the field and delayed the pack enough to allow the leader to break away.  

Patrick Kibble had moved through the chaos into second on the opening lap but then dropped back himself on lap two after being run wide, with the fight for second then becoming a four-way fight between Taylor, Del Sarte, Green and Foster – the latter having come through from eleventh on the grid.  

That battle would come to a head at Hislops on lap four as three into one wouldn’t go, with Taylor forced to take a trip across the grass and Green and Del Sarte both spinning to the back of the field.  

Suddenly, Greg Johnson found himself running second having avoided the incidents ahead but he wouldn’t manage to maintain the position to the finish as team-mate Foster got ahead at the final corner to secure second overall and top rookie honours.  

Johnson took third spot for his second podium of the season having started down in P10, with Taylor, Wilkinson and a recovering Smalley – who also posted the quickest lap – rounding out the top six. Patrick Kibble and Emily Linscott completed the top eight.  

Out front however, it was Browning who took a popular home win; his margin of victory being the biggest seen in the series since Jamie Caroline took race two honours at Croft back in 2015.  

The weekend results mean Smalley holds the provisional points lead with an advantage of nine points over Foster, with Browning 22 points further back in third place.