Total Control Racing may not have been the stars of the season in 2019, but the development many of the drivers showed hint they may be ones to watch in the upcoming season.
Six drivers joined TCR at the start of the year, but only one – Haytham Qarajouli – would compete in every round for the team. Finances limited some drivers’ running, while others switched teams or dropped out of the championship entirely.
One such driver was Theo Edgerton, who ran with TCR for five and a half rounds before leaving Ginetta Juniors behind him.
Edgerton was TCR’s strongest driver in the opening rounds. He picked up the team’s first podium at Brands Hatch, and claimed another three fourth place finishes before the end of the second weekend of the season.
From there, his year was much more mixed. Edgerton was often in the thick of the top 10, but struggled to match his early season performances.
After finishing eighth in the second race at Snetterton, Edgerton dropped out of the championship, becoming the third driver to leave the team.
Ethan Hawkey, having switched to Richardson Racing ahead of the Snetterton round, was the first.
Hawkey was the highest placed TCR driver at the end of the year and, though he raced for Richardson Racing after the summer break, his best result came with TCR.
He battled with Will Martin, Zak O’Sullivan, James Taylor, and Lorca Hanafin at the front of the field in the opening race at Thruxton. O’Sullivan just edged him out of second place in the closing stages of the race, but he took the chequered flag third to earn his first – and only – podium of the year.
Beside two DNFs at Brands Hatch, Hawkey had a solid start to the season. He finished inside the top 10 in every other race before the summer, and took the fastest lap in race one at Oulton Park.
He was running eighth by the end of the first half of the season, just ahead of Edgerton in the championship standings. With Richardson, he solidified that position, ending the year P8.
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Like Edgerton, Will Rochford dropped out of the season entirely after a frustrating first half of the year. Rochford, who had only raced in karting recreationally before the start of the season, struggled to break into the top 15, with a season best result of 12th at Donington Park. He dropped out of the championship after the Oulton Park round.
Scholarship winner Ethan Brooks was the next best placed Total Control Racing driver, and the next to score an overall podium. The first half of the year was not easy for Brooks, who took four retirements from the opening five races and was forced to miss the first visit to Thruxton. With the opening race at Croft cancelled, it wasn’t looking great for the rookie.
But Brooks developed quickly, and was one of the stars of the second half of the year. Over the next few rounds, he ran comfortably inside the top 15 and picked up his first top 10 finish in the second Oulton race. But by the end of the year, top 10s were more of a regular occurance. He narrowly missed out on pole position at Silverstone and, though the results say he only took one 8th place finish from the event, his speed and race craft over the weekend proved he would be one to watch in the future.
Brooks’ first podium came in the second race at the Brands Hatch season finale. The rookie took advantage of a safety car restart to storm from fifth to third, narrowly missing out on the second step of the podium. Another P3 followed in race three, capping off his “rewarding but frustrating” season.
Haytham Qarajouli had a similar season to Brooks. His start was equally rocky and, though he did take a P10 from Donington Park, he wouldn’t match the result again until Silverstone. But Qarajouli showed a clear growth over the course of the year. While not as dramatic as Brooks’, he ended the season fighting for rookie podiums and more consistent top 10 finishes.
His best result of the year came at Silverstone, where he took a P7 and P8 finish, and a rookie podium.
Daniel Gale also struggled in the first half of the year. Though he claimed a number of top 15 finishes, he more often than not found himself battling in the turbulent midfield, and couldn’t finish any higher than 14th. His best result of the year would come at Oulton Park, where he took a P10 before retiring in race two.
Unfortunately for Gale, he couldn’t capitalise on the development, as he was forced to miss the next three rounds, but he returned to the grid at Silverstone for the final two weekends of the season. In those final two rounds, he took three more top 15 finishes, with a P12 at Brands Hatch boosting him ahead of Molly Dodd in the championship standings.
Overall, 2019 was a year of growth for Total Control Racing. While podiums weren’t a regular occurrence, Brooks’ double P3 at Brands Hatch showed there was more to come from their drivers.
Images credit: Caroline Rhea
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