Knockhill: Round Four
It’s now eight out of eight for Lewis Saunders in this year’sJunior Saloon Car Championship, after a totally dominant weekend at Knockhill.
Less than 0.5 secs covered the top five after Saturday’s qualifying on the anti-clockwise version of the Scottish circuit. But it was Saunders on pole again, 0.184 s quicker than Charlie Hand, with Ruben Hage and Alex Solley sharing the second row.
Saunders again took charge from the opening lap, with the initial pressure off as Hand and Solley duelled over second place. “It was side by side stuff with Charlie and Alex though for the first couple of laps,” Saunders explained.
They had a couple of exchanges before Hand made it stick from lap three, then closed the gap on Saunders briefly, before the former champion responded after a short safety car period..
Saunders kept his unbeaten record going with win number seven by just over a second, with Hand another 1.3 secs up on Solley by the flag.
Harry Rice and Hage had a first lap duel until Hage went off, leaving Rice to break clear and retain fourth, aided by a slight mistake from Ben Greenhill which saw him slide down the order.
Alfie Jeakins closed in on Rice during the second half of the race in a strong fifth and Deagan Fairclough was heading for sixth, but couldn’t hold off a last lap challenge from Archie Handy. With red flags bringing a premature end again, he was unable to remount a challenge to try and retake the place, but kept Molly Dodd at bay for seventh.
James Black and the recovering Greenhill completed the top 10.
Sunday’s clockwise qualifying still had the top five covered by less than 0.5 secs, with Saunders taking pole by 0.152 secs from Solley, with Hand another 0.032 secs down in third, as Greenhill and Gregory were next up.
No sooner had the lights gone out for the start of the race, it was red flagged with Oliver Cottam and the Team Hard trio of Olivia Martin, Tommy Gilham and Scott Sumpton out of restart.
Once the track had been cleared the race was restarted over 13 minutes, with Saunders building an immediate lead over Hand, while Solley found his initial third place under pressure from Rice, after he had ousted Gregory on the second lap.
With the lead duo out on their own, Rice began to get closer and closer to Solley’s third place and went ahead on lap five.
While Saunders went on to a dominant four second victory over Hand, Rice was able to consolidate his first podium finish.
Solley retained fourth, but couldn’t afford to relax as Ben Greenhill had closed in fifth, after losing out at the start when he missed a gear. Gregory had been fourth on the opening lap, but her early challenge had started to fall away after a grassy excursion, which left Greenhill clear and Jeakins closing.
Jeakins held sixth from lap four, while debutant Broddy Orr also started well, but soon fell down the leaderboard.
Archie Tompson had also climbed to seventh, but after running door to door for a few laps, he lost out to both Matthew Cripps and Deagan Fairclough on the final two laps, but still retained a close ninth, well clear of Aaron Walker as the race was red flagged for a second time.
Words: Peter Scherer
Images: Flat Out Photography