Josh Rowledge wins the 2021 Ginetta Junior Winter Series title after finishing fifth in a shortened final race of the season.
A lengthy safety car period and red flags cut into the final race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
After the disappointment of race one, Tom Edgar was able to seal a victory ahead of Joe Warhurst. But all eyes were on Rowledge as he recovered from an early incident to take the 2021 title.
Rowledge was immediately on the charge after starting sixth, but contact with Max Dodds behind dropped him back down the order. He spent the first part of the race climbing back up to where he started and was closing back onto the back of Dodds and Max Hall when Hall ran wide at Paddock Hill Bend.
The safety car was brought out as Rowledge lay inside the top 10.
At the front of the order, title rival Liam McNeilly hadn’t been able to stick with the race leaders off the line. Tom Edgar had held off Joe Warhurst and the two had broken away from McNeilly when the safety car came out. McNeilly closed back onto the tail of the leaders, but would need to make up some positions to take the championship.
Racing resumed with four minutes left on the clock. McNeilly again couldn’t stay with the leaders, but did break away from the chasing pack behind.
Dodds, the other driver in with a shout at the title, was making good progress and climbing up through the order when he span at Graham Hill Bend and dropped backwards.
The incident promoted Rowledge up another position, taking him further out of reach of McNeilly.
McNeilly managed to close onto the back of Warhurst late on but couldn’t find a way past the Elite Motorsport driver. Before he could make the move stick, a series of incidents further down the order brought the race to an early end.
James Wyres and Liona Theobald had both gone off at Paddock Hill Bend in separate incidents while McKenzie Douglass span off in the damp conditions.
When the chequered flag fell, Rowledge had climbed back up to fifth, enough to keep him ahead of McNeilly in the championship standings.
At the very front of the order, it was a faultless driver for Tom Edgar, who led from lights to flag. After the initial pressure from Warhurst, Edgar spent most of the green flag action with a comfortable gap to the rest of the field and was more than a second clear of Warhurst when the red flag fell.
Aqil Alibhai put in strong performance to hold onto fourth ahead of rookie driver Sonny Smith, who wins the rookie title with another impressive drive.
Rowledge would end the race sixth overall, ahead of Harri Reynolds and Ian Aguilera.
Maurice Henry took ninth while Jack Sherwood climbed up from the back of the grid to finish inside the top 10.
Image credit: Ginetta/Jakob Ebrey Photography
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