Will Jenkins has taken the championship lead in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge with a hard-fought pair of podium finishes in the latest rounds at Thruxton this past weekend (28/29 May).
With confidence high after scoring six podium finishes across the opening eight races of the season, including three victories, Jenkins headed to the fastest circuit in the UK hoping to replicate the pace that saw him record a double front-row start there in the Juniors last year.
The Staffordshire racer did exactly that as he got his weekend off to a great start in qualifying on Saturday. Some rapid lap times behind the wheel of his Elite Motorsport Ginetta G40 secured him second and third place starting positions for the two races.
A tough start to the opening encounter saw him get shuffled back to seventh position by the end of lap two. He didn’t let it phase him though and immediately focused on mounting a comeback, with a characteristically intelligent drive seeing him pick the right opportunities to make moves.
Lapping faster than anyone else at one stage as he caught up to a multi-car battle over the final podium positions, the 17 year old rising star picked off his rivals one by one to ultimately grab a brilliant third place finish.
The second race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon and was televised live on ITV4. Jenkins lost some ground initially and ended the opening lap in sixth, but quickly set about making back ground despite some severe issues with the handling of his car.
The Stone based driver kept himself in the battle for the podium places throughout the race and pulled off some impressive overtaking moves to get up to second at one stage. Whilst he eventually took the chequered flag in fourth, a post-race penalty for another driver secured him an eighth podium finish of the season.
Jenkins, who races with the support of Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group, Corroconsult and Digraph, has a 19 point championship lead heading into the next rounds of the 2022 season, when the series stays on the BTCC support package at Croft in North Yorkshire (25/26 June).
Will Jenkins: ’“I was really looking forward to this weekend after our good pace at Thruxton last year. While unfortunately I wasn’t able to be up there battling for the wins as I hoped, I’m delighted to come away from a difficult weekend with a double podium finish.
“To go straight into qualifying with no free practice on Friday and get a couple of top three starting positions was a pleasing result. Race one was a typically rollercoaster GT5 Challenge outing, and I’m glad I could fight my way back to third place.
“Race two was much tougher as I had lots of oversteer in the car, which made it very difficult to drive. Therefore, I can’t help but be delighted to have been able to keep myself in the mix and end up with another top three result.
“We’ve got some work to do with the car to ensure it’s ready to go for Croft. Now I’ve got the championship lead, I don’t want to let it go and know that consistent podiums and big points hauls are going to be key.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.