Season goes from strength to strength for Watson
The second half of the 2012 Ginetta Junior series resumed at Snetterton last weekend. Most drivers tested on Wednesday and Friday before the race including Andrew, we got his reaction after the 2 days. "We have struggled for pace in both of the days, we seem to have a fuel related problem which is hindering us on the straights and its really starting to annoy me!"
Saturday came around and Andrew was determined now to show what pace he really could deliver with the fuel problem sorted. He went nearly 1 second quicker in qualifying but that was only good enough to see him 9th for both of Sundays races, again we caught up with Andrew to get his reaction. "I'm very disappointed with the session, we started off great, being in p2 for a time and then slipped to p4 which is were I thought I would end, but I got held up with some traffic on a crucial lap which saw me drop down the time sheets. I hope we can go better in the races tomorrow."
As Sunday rolled around Andrew was once again keen to show what he could do around the 3 mile circuit. Race one was nearly perfect for Andrew, starting 9th and leaping to 6th on the opening lap, the young Northern Irishman was on a charge and only going forward! At the end of lap 2 Andrew was now up to 4th following contact between teammate Niall Murray and JHR's Sennan Fielding. The leading trio were enthralled in a battle for the lead and it allowed Watson to catch right up to them, and when Ollie Chadwick and Charlie Robertson tripped over each other, Watson slipped into P2, chasing Pepe Massot to the line.
"I'm just thrilled with this result. Its been a hard weekend so far as we have struggled with the pace but we didn't struggle for race pace just now! I'm filled with happiness and relief! Im delighted for the guys in the team who put in a big effort to fit a new fuel tank last night, which made the world of difference.Its great to be up here with my teammate Niall too! Its my best result this season and I hope to go up one more step sometime soon!"
Race 2 was later that day and once again Andrew started in 9th place. Another cracking opening lap saw Andrew up to 6th, with the same duo of Murray and fielding tangling on lap 1, but the latter cut the track and took his place illegally ahead of Watson which is currently under investigation by the stewards. Watson slipped passed his rival Massot on lap 2 after a mistake from the Spaniard but he couldn't hold it and Pepe slipped past him when Andrew made a similar mistake on lap 4. Andrew crossed the line 6th, with a good points haul over the weekend. Now just 2 points off 5th place man Harry Woodhead.
The championship resumes in just under 2 weeks in the Scotland. Andrew plans to keep this momentum up.
Watch the race here!!
Watson makes an impressive Ginetta Junior debut!
Coming into his first weekend of the Ginetta Junior Championship, Andrew Watson was hoping for a good strong consistent run as he acclimatised himself for a potential full championship assault 2012. Having tested the G40 in the weeks leading up to the event, Andrew was confident that he was ready for the challenge.
Qualifying was one of the closest all season, with tenths of a second splitting most of the drivers throughout the field. Watson was very much on the pace of the mid field regulars and had clearly gotten the hang of his new car despite most of the drivers around him having a full season under their belts. Eventually Andrew qualified thirteenth on the grid, just seven tenths of a second off pole position showing just how competitive the championship is.
As the race began, Andrew got a good start off the line to stay in thirteenth at the end of lap one. During the opening laps of the race, Watson made his way up to eleventh and keeping a recovering Brad Bailey very much under pressure. An unfortunate spin coming out of Becketts put Andrew back to fourteenth, but the young Northern Irish man didn’t let this set him back and he went about making his way back up the order. Over the next couple of laps Andrew was locked into a fantastic battle with Oliver Chadwick with the pair swapping positions at every corner. Eventually it was Chadwick who got the upper hand to cross the line ahead of Watson but Chadwick was later handed a thirty second penalty for excessive use of the track allowing Andrew to take a superb eleventh place finish in his first race.
Now with one race under his belt, Andrew lined up twelfth on the grid for Sunday’s race two. A good start off the line allowed Watson to slice through the pack coming out of the first corner making his way up as high as fifth as they approached Becketts. Unfortunately contact coming out of Luffield put Andrew back down to thirteenth at the end of lap one. Despite this, Andrew got his head down to make his way back up the field. As the race progressed, Watson was now waiting in the wings as Robertson was in the middle of a battle with George Gamble and Tom Howard. With Charlie and George now ahead of Howard, Watson was keen to show that his experience from the Ginetta Junior Ireland Championship would come to the fore. Locked in the middle of the Tollbar Team mates of Tom Howard and William Foster, Watson drove superbly and made several attempts to pass Howard with the latter using all his experience to keep Watson at bay. On the final lap of the race, Watson was now right on Howards bumper. As they approached Becketts, an incident up the field with Brad Bailey and several others now promoted Watson to sixth as he continued to challenge Howard. When the chequered flag dropped Andrew crossed the line in a superb sixth position, a brilliant result for his first weekend in the British Ginetta Junior Championship.
Reflecting on the weekend after race two, Andrew commented about how much he had learned and enjoyed his weekend. “Its been a great weekend. I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve learned so much. I was a little disappointed not to be higher up in qualifying but my strong finishes in race one and especially race two have really made up for it. I must say a big thanks to my Dad and Wayne Douglas and my sponsors Donnolly Group, Killyhevlin Hotel & Health Club and Hilton Foods Ireland.”
Watson gears up to sample Ginetta Juniors at Silverstone
Northern Ireland’s Andrew Watson has recently secured a deal with HHC Motorsport to compete in the final rounds of the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship at Silverstone. The sixteen year old has spent the last two seasons competing in the Ginetta Junior Ireland Championship in a Ginetta G20 becoming a very accomplished racing driver. In 2011, Andrew finished fourth in the championship with six podium finishes including two race victories and three fastest laps which included one class lap record at Anglesey in July.
Andrew, who is using the Silverstone weekend to prepare himself for a full assault on the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship, spoke about how much he is looking forward to the weekend. “I can’t wait to join the Ginetta Junior Championship at Silverstone for the final rounds of the championship. I’ve always wanted to race on the BTCC package so it’s a dream come true for me. I’ve really enjoyed my two seasons in the Ginetta Junior Ireland Championship and I have learned so much. I now feel I have the necessary experience to step up to the British Ginetta Junior Championship and be competitive. I’ve tested the Ginetta G40 recently and it’s a superb car. It will be a great experience to race with some of the fantastic talent in the field whom I’ve been watching during the year”.
Andrew would like to say a massive word of thanks to his sponsors Hilton Foods Ireland, Donnelly Group and the Killyhevlin Hotel & Health Club, without their support this opportunity simply would not have been possible.
The Top step!
The series crossed the border to Kirkistown this weekend for some undoubtably great racing, and that's what we got! In qualifying I put in a good lap time and secured my first pole position for race 1. Nerves tied with anxiety joined me on the grid at 2.45pm. The lights went out and I had too many revs resulting in a dreadful start and I was in 5th position rounding the first corner, I managed to regain my thoughts and started to chase down the leading pack, Sean Doyle, Andy O'Brien, Jake Byrne and the ever interesting Joel Richardson! I was tucked up behind Andy after lap 2, Doyle ran wide coming into the 2nd corner as did Andy slingshotting me into 3rd place, I put my head down and reeled in the leaders Jake and Joel. I judged my move well and got Jake into the second corner, debtors, Leaving me only 1 place to go! The next lap I pulled an identical move on Richardson and was leading into the 3rd corner, unfortunately a rash move down my inside into Fishermans corner from Joel put me off into the grass with a broken back left corner! I was devastated! The ABR team mounted a monumental task of fixing my car for the second race, and unbelievably they did it, many thanks to everyone who helped I wouldn't be were I am without them!
Race 2 saw me line up in 2nd place behind Richardson, with the three hard chargers Jake, Andy and Sean filling my mirrors! Another bad start left me in 4th into the 1st corner, Doyle was racing beautifully getting past richardson and did a super job keeping them in line, an unfortunate racing incident into turn 2 saw Doyle and Richardson spin, but left me to dive around the outside getting a unavoidable tap from andy, luckily we both got round safe and was up to me to close of the race with Andy charging hard behind me! I crossed the line in 1st and was over the moon, hopefully more will follow. Thanks to the whole ABR team and to all the other drivers, James Fleming, Andrew Clarke, Sophie Byrne and Megan Kessie for some great racing! Looking forward to Angelsey!
Great Start to my season!
Although my car gave me some trouble in qualifying with my gearbox I put in a quick time and was starting third for the first race! Unfortunately we couldn't get my car on the grid in time for the race and had to start last in a different car! I worked my way up to fourth spot and had a great battle for third with Andy Clarke, finishing in fourth! I Put in the 4th quickest lap of the race and therefore started 4th for race 2, by the second corner I was up to third and chasing down the leaders, I put in the quickest lap off the race and caught right up to Sean and Jake out in front! I was pushing hard in a strange car and went off on the second last lap, I managed to scramble back on and hang on to third place, a great podium! I can't wait for next weekends racing in Kirkistown!