Seb Morris - Ginetta G40Seb Morris is almost able to place one hand on the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship trophy after another superb outing at Rockingham over the weekend, 17th/18th September – the teenage racer securing his 11th victory of the campaign at the Northamptonshire venue.

With just four races now remaining this season, on overall scores the 15-year-old has a provisional lead over his closest rival of 131 points and when the championship’s double ‘drop score’ ruling is applied his cushion is still an extremely healthy 105 points.

Mathematically, the championship fight is still alive between the top three in the driver standings but if the Liberty Properties and Legat Owen-backed racer from Marford can continue his sparkling form during the next two rounds at Brands Hatch the title will be his one event early.

Alongside his round 15 victory at Rockingham’s 1.94-mile International Super Sports Car Circuit on Saturday afternoon, a battling drive back up the order to fourth place in round 16 – having been forced off the track on the opening lap at Yentwood – capped off another very strong weekend.

“We built the championship lead a bit more this weekend so I’m really happy with that”, said the Hillspeed driver, “We’ve had two more great results, it’s always fantastic to win, and although I couldn’t quite claim the title at Rockingham hopefully we can take it at Brands.”

Expectedly strong in qualifying on Saturday morning, Seb only just missed out on pole position for the opening race by a mere 0.016 seconds although his second best time placed him back on the third row for the second of the weekend’s encounters.

At the start of round 15 the 2010 Ginetta Junior Winter Series Champion immediately usurped pole-sitter Charlie Robertson after a great getaway although at Deene Hairpin, the second corner, Niall Murray made a bold move around the outside to take the lead.

His spell at the front of the field only lasted a lap though as Seb pressured and mounted a successful challenge at the same turn on the second tour. Quickly stretching away, The King’s School, Chester pupil set the fastest time on lap three to signal his intent although he soon came under fresh attack from title rival George Gamble.

Driving beautifully and soaking up huge pressure, Seb held firm but on lap seven Gamble dived up the inside at Deene to grab the advantage. The delay for the championship leader also gave Murray a chance to consider a move but Seb was wise to that and defended second place very well.

On lap nine the Safety Car was required and after just a single tour under caution, racing resumed with Seb keen to mount an early bid for the lead which he did successfully into Deene. Building a cushion of almost a second into the final lap of the race, the young Welshman did exactly what he
needed to in order to seal win number 11 of the campaign.

Round 16 was a much different prospect for Seb with his third row grid start meaning mid-pack contact would be a distinct possibility. Away from the start-line cleanly, the teenager tried to make his way through Deene and Yentwood unscathed but contact at the latter turned him around and dropped Seb well outside the top 10.

Mounting a stirring recovery with one of his best performances of the year, Seb was into eighth by lap five and then into the top six on lap seven. Into the final lap, he closed up to the train of cars queuing up behind third placed Myles Collins and the ensuing fight gave Seb just the opportunity
he needed to get among the podium contenders.

Grabbing fourth place, he challenged for third at the last couple of corners but just ran out of time and took the chequered flag a mere 0.186 seconds shy of yet more silverware – a truly sensational drive by a class act.

“The car was fantastic and enabled me to come back through quite easily”, he said, “Everything went swimmingly really, the win in the first race gave me a lot of confidence and although it was quite frustrating to miss out on fighting for another win in race two, I did enjoy coming back through the
order. In the end we only just missed out on another podium.”

Only four races now remain in the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship with the penultimate two rounds taking place just a fortnight from now, over the weekend 1st/2nd October, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.

Provisional 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd16 – overall scores):
1st Seb Morris, 494pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.