Seb MorrisWelsh teenager Seb Morris won the Ginetta Junior Championship title in style at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 1st/2nd October, with a double podium finish during rounds 17 and 18 of the season. Still aged only 15, he has added this to his 2010 Winter Series Championship success.

Sealing the title with two races still to run at Silverstone two weeks from now, Marford-based Seb provisionally became the first of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support series champions on Saturday. He then made sure of the success with a typically strong drive to second place, from eighth on the grid, during Sunday’s live televised race.

Of the 18 rounds contested so far, the Liberty Properties and Legat Owen-sponsored driver has taken 11 race victories and 14 podiums in total; statistics which underline his sheer dominance of the hugely competitive category. Seb’s title victory is also the second back-to-back main season triumph for his Hillspeed team.

“It’s been a great season, we’ve worked really hard for this”, said the new champion, “I can’t thank the team enough, they do everything so precisely and have done a fantastic job this year. My driver coach, Matt Shawyer, is the reason I’ve been as fast as I have and my manager, Andy Meyrick, has looked after everything off-track for me. It’s a proper team effort, I’m really happy we’ve done it.”

Knowing two solid race finishes would secure the championship this weekend, Seb qualified fifth fastest for round 17 and did actually battle through brilliantly on track to notch-up his 12th win of the season but an unfortunate post-race judicial decision relegated him to second behind Niall Murray.

Bundled back to sixth place on the opening lap, The King’s School, Chester pupil sensibly remained out of trouble during the early exchanges and allowed the bunch ahead to trade paintwork as the race unfolded. Contact involving Sennan Fielding and George Gamble on lap four elevated Seb to fourth before he moved into third, and then second, in quick succession on lap six.

On lap seven, Murray got ahead of Seb on the run to Druids and his rival then made an attempt on leader Jake Giddings at Surtees which resulted in the latter being pushed wide. Seb, therefore, took second and then piled on the pressure to new leader Murray.

At Druids on lap eight, the champion elect took first place up the inside and held the advantage going into the final lap. Into the hairpin for the last time, contact as Murray challenged side-by-side ended with the Irishman sliding wide and Seb powered on to take the victory and the title in style.

Post-race, Murray and his team lodged a protest and the new champion was given a three second time penalty which dropped him to second in the amended result. Even so, the finish was enough to secure the title.

Lining-up eighth on the grid for round 18, Seb quickly carved his way through into the top six and then went fifth on the first lap while avoiding an incident involving Fielding and William Foster. On lap four, Seb then moved into fourth at Druids at the expense of Giddings but the latter fought back out of Pilgrim’s Drop which put the champion in the clutches of Patrick McClughan.

Re-taking fourth off Giddings at Clark Curve at the end of the fifth tour, the Hillspeed ace defended the place well into Paddock Hill Bend. Then, on lap seven, everything changed at the front when leader Myles Collins and Brad Bailey had visits through the gravel exiting Paddock – Seb threading his way through the drama neatly to take second place.

Pressuring new front-runner Charlie Robertson, Seb challenged at almost every corner over the course of the eighth and final lap but settled for his second runner-up spot of the weekend, just 0.181 seconds shy of the win at the flag.

“That was an absolutely great race, I really enjoyed it”, reflected Seb, “There was loads of action and to come through from eighth and nearly win was fantastic. We proved our point again this weekend, to win the championship with races in hand shows what a strong season it’s been for us.”

With the championship done and dusted, Seb can go into the final two rounds of the campaign at Silverstone on 15th/16th October with no pressure on his shoulders and a golden opportunity to try and challenge for yet more podium finishes.

Provisional 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd18 – inc. drop scores):
CHAMPION: Seb Morris, 515pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.