Will Jenkins secured a brilliant second podium finish in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB and was unlucky not to come away with more silverware from a hugely encouraging visit to Croft this past weekend (29/30 July).
With confidence high after scoring his breakthrough top three finish during the last rounds at Snetterton, Jenkins was raring to get back on track in his Century Motorsport prepared Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport following a lengthy ten-week between events.
Jenkins, who is competing this season as part of BTCC team Motorbase Performance’s Young Driver Programme with support from Wera Tools, put some promising times on the board during official pre-event practice on Friday and headed into the weekend confident with the set-up on the car.
Qualifying on Saturday morning proved to be one of the closest sessions in the championship’s history, with the top five cars separated by less than two tenths of a second. Jenkins was right in the mix, securing fourth and fifth on the grid for the opening two races of the weekend.
The 18-year-old talent made a quick start to race one and grabbed third into the first corner, before sliding back to fifth exiting the chicane. In the middle of an exciting three-car battle for fourth, he traded places with his rivals on his way to fifth at the chequered flag.
Unfortunately, post-race investigations deemed him to have been lined up marginally outside of his grid box at the race start, leading to a harsh 10 second time penalty that dropped him to eighth in the revised result.
Determined to bounce back from that frustrating result, Jenkins produced another rapid launch in race two and grabbed fourth off the line. Keeping pressure on those ahead, he moved up to third on lap four and went on to hold it to the finish with a composed, faultless performance in front of the live ITV4 television cameras.
Jenkins, who races with the support of loyal personal partners Hopkins Motorsport, Asset Alliance Group, The Reefer Trailer Centre and Culina Group, was unfortunately the victim of contact during an action-packed opening lap of race three.
While he was able to recover to the circuit and continue fighting for the top six in the early laps, a sudden failure of his radiator led to his car spilling all of its coolant and forcing him into an immediate retirement.
Will Jenkins: “There’s been some ups and downs along the way, but overall it’s been a great weekend for us. We worked hard over the break to improve our package and we’ve been right on the front-running pace across the last few days.
“Qualifying was incredibly close and that set the tone for the races. The penalty was frustrating after an otherwise positive first one, but we put that behind us and gave it everything in race two to fight to the podium, and I’m delighted we achieved that.
“The team did a fantastic job to keep improving the car every session and we definitely had some really strong pace in the last race. Sadly that proved to be a pretty chaotic one and unfortunately led to a retirement following some contact in the opening stages, but we’ll move on from that and take all of the positives into the next rounds.”
The 2023 Porsche Sprint Challenge GB season continues next month (26/27 August) with three races on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit, once again competing in support of the British Touring Car Championship.
Image from Porsche GB.