Elite Motorsport’s James Hedley looks set to take the 2019 Ginetta Junior crown next weekend at Brands Hatch.
Hedley has dominated the season so far and, despite O’Sullivan’s consistent podium finishes, it’s unlikely the R Racing driver is going to be able to rain on Hedley’s parade.
In fact, O’Sullivan’s consistency might be working against him. Only the top 24 scores count towards a drivers’ overall score. With 26 races on the calendar, that’s two scores dropped at the end of the year. Hedley’s retirement in the final race at Thruxton and P17 at Silverstone means the championship leader will only drop a handful of points. O’Sullivan’s consistency means he’s never finished lower than 11th, and he’s set to drop 22 points as it stands.
But O’Sullivan could still win the championship. All it would take is a disastrous weekend for Hedley, and O’Sullivan could yet emerge the overall champion.
So, what are the permutations?
It’s complicated, and required multiple spreadsheets to figure out.
But if Hedley wins or finishes second in the opening race at Silverstone, he takes the championship. If he finishes 15th or lower, no matter what O’Sullivan scores, the title fight will continue on to race two.
Race two gets a little trickier, and will depend on where both finished in race one. Working on best case scenario for O’Sullivan, in which he takes maximum points from the opening race and Hedley retires, Hedley would again win the championship if he finished first or second (or third with fastest lap). However, if Hedley finishes 18th or lower (19th with fastest lap), O’Sullivan would still be mathematically in the fight no matter where he finished.
See, just a little complicated.
There are, of course, multiple scenarios depending on how race one goes for both drivers. For example, if O’Sullivan takes pole, fastest lap, and wins race one, but Hedley finishes third, O’Sullivan must win and finish 16th or higher (15th if Hedley takes fastest lap, 17th if O’Sullivan does…) to stay in the championship fight.
Then there’s race three.
At this point, there are so many variables, it’s hard to explain the possible outcomes without the use of a spreadsheet (linked above).
BUT, in O’Sullivan’s ideal scenario, in which he takes pole, two wins, and two fastest laps, and Hedley retires from both, Hedley would still win the championship if he finishes first or second.
Essentially, it’s unlikely but in no way impossible O’Sullivan will win the title. Hedley had a disappointing weekend at Silverstone, the first round this season he hasn’t taken a podium. It could still happen again, and O’Sullivan has already proven this season he can come back from a difficult position.
Hedley may have one hand on the trophy, but it’s not over yet.
Image Credit: Carolien Rhea
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