Will Jenkins continued his fantastic start to his maiden Ginetta GT5 Challenge season with a hard-fought second win of the campaign at Donington Park this past weekend (23/24 April).
The Staffordshire racer made the short trip to Donington Park in high spirits, having enjoyed a brilliant season opener at Oulton Park just a few days prior. After taking two podium finishes in the first three races, he was determined to add more silverware to his collection.
Familiar with Donington Park’s National circuit after racing on it twice in the Ginetta Juniors, Jenkins hit the ground running in his Elite Motorsport prepared Ginetta G40 during free practice on Thursday, ending the day second overall on the timesheets.
Unfortunately for the Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group, Corroconsult and Digraph supported driver, a frustrating qualifying session saw him unable to showcase his true potential as he came away with fifth and fourth place starts for the opening two races of the weekend.
Jenkins bounced back in style in race one on Saturday afternoon, with great early progress seeing him move up to third within the opening two laps. After a safety car period, he was back on the move at the restart as he slipstreamed his way into second place.
On the next lap he mounted a challenge for the race lead, however contact from the defending driver forced Jenkins across the gravel trap at the final chicane. Fortunately he was able to recover to the track still in second position, where he remained to the finish for a richly deserved podium finish in his 50th race in Ginetta’s.
In front of a huge crowd in Leicestershire as the GT5 Challenge supported the British Touring Car Championship, Jenkins put on a show in Sunday’s opener. Gaining a place on the opening lap, he was right in the thick of the action in a huge battle for the podium places.
A mature drive saw him pick his moments to make moves, with a measured move into Redgate corner on lap four securing him the race lead. Building a small gap as the pack battled behind, the 17 year old talent controlled the race to secure his second win of the season.
The Stone based driver produced another exemplary performance in the final race of the weekend, which was televised live on ITV4. While he briefly lost the lead from pole position at the start, he hit back at McLeans on the second lap and started to pull clear at the front.
The emergence of the safety car at mid-distance took away his advantage, but he executed a perfect restart to immediately gap his pursuers again. The race win was in his grasp, until a mechanical failure on what proved to be the last lap.
Heading down the high-speed Craner Curves, the right rear ball joint in the wishbone sheared and sent him off circuit, cruelly ending his race on the spot and denying him a crucial maximum points score.
Will Jenkins: “It’s another bittersweet weekend. I’m absolutely delighted with the pace we produced and to add another win and second place finish to the account, but to cruelly lose out on the win in race three was a heart-breaking way to end the event.
“Qualifying was frustrating, so I’m pleased to have bounced back the way we did in the races. The racing was just as close-fought and action-packed as ever, so I’m happy I could keep my nose clean and make some good overtakes in the lead pack.
“Despite the race three disappointment, I leave with my head held high and with plenty of positives to take into the next rounds. Thank you to Elite Motorsport for all their great work, and to my family and friends that cheered me on over the weekend at the track and watching on TV.”
The 2022 Ginetta GT5 Challenge season continues in two weeks’ time (07/08 May) as it returns to the British GT Championship support package for two races around the world-famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.