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Charlie RobertsonRockingham International Sportscar Circuit hosts the resumption of the Ginetta Junior Championship this coming weekend, 22nd/23rd September, where new points leader Charlie Robertson aims to increase his advantage at the top of the driver standings.

With just six races remaining on the 2012 calendar, spread over a short five week period, the season is entering a crucial phase and the youngster from Whyteleafe in Surrey is currently enjoying a great run having won the last three races back-to-back – meaning six victories for the year.

Charlie’s second season of car racing has certainly had its ups and downs – through no fault of his own it should be noted – but he has recovered from each set-back more determined and more focused than ever, resulting in his return to the top of the standings last time out at Knockhill.

Racing to a pair of sensational lights-to-flag wins in rounds 13 and 14 of the championship, and in the process turning an 18 point deficit into a four point advantage over his chief rivals, the 15-year-old Scottish ace was elated to secure a double victory on home soil.

Determined to edge further clear in the ultra-tight battle for the Ginetta Junior crown during rounds 15 and 16 at Rockingham a few days from now, the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-backed racer is aiming to extend his recent winning streak.

“Rockingham should be great, I really can’t wait to be back in the car and to try and continue where we left off at Knockhill”, said the HHC Motorsport driver, “It was an amazing weekend, winning both races at my home track with so much support from friends and family was fantastic. We’ve had quite a lot of bad luck this year but, even with that, we’re leading the championship again which is great.”

Charlie, who was declared one of the top three Motorsport News ‘Fast 50 – Drivers to Watch 2012’ at the beginning of the year, is quite rightly regarded as one of the UK’s top motor racing prospects and, as such, the MSA Academy driver will arrive at Rockingham determined to cement his status.

“I really want to win both races at the weekend”, he added, “It’ll obviously be tough and it’s really close at the top of the championship between me, Niall [Murray] and Sennan [Fielding]. The most important thing though is two big scores, at this point of the season consistency is everything.”

Following officially timed testing at Rockingham on Friday, 21st September, an additional free practice session will take place at 09.00 on Saturday, 22nd September, ahead of qualifying at 11.00 and round 15 at 14.40. On Sunday, 23rd September, round 16 will commence at 12.10 and will be screened live on ITV4, in High Definition on ITV4 HD and with online streaming at www.itv.com/btcc

2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd14):
1st Charlie Robertson, 369pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Charlie Robertson - ThruxtonCharlie Robertson stormed to the top of the Ginetta Junior Championship standings at a rain-lashed Thruxton over the weekend, 28th/29th April, with an utterly dominant performance – two race wins, two pole position starts and the fastest lap in both encounters.

Marking the first double-winning weekend of the 15-year-old’s short car racing career, the second year competitor was unchallenged in absolutely atrocious conditions which proved difficult for even the most experienced drivers on the entire Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship package.

“This has been the perfect way to bounce back from the troubles we had at Donington”, said the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-supported star, “I was praying for rain after qualifying, I knew my wet pace was really good and so rain would be good for us in the races and I think I proved that with two wins out of two, my first ever double on the TOCA package. It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Setting the standard throughout the weekend, Charlie secured pole position for round five by a huge 0.8 seconds and his second quickest lap time of the session, determining starting positions for round six, was an even more impressive one second ahead of closest challenger Niall Murray.

Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s race, there was some debate as to whether slick tyres would be used but the Clerk of the Course made the decision all drivers should utilise wet-weather rubber on the grounds of safety with light rain in the air and a slippery track surface.

Immediately stamping his authority on the race, the Whyteleafe driver opened up a 1.8 second lead on the first lap alone and set the fastest lap of the race the next time around before the treaded tyres started to lose performance. With no more rain forthcoming, the levels of grip reduced on the increasingly dry track but Charlie delivered an inch-perfect drive on the way to a 10 second victory.

So clear was the HHC Motorsport youngster’s dominance, not only was he the only driver to circulate in the 1m32 second bracket, he almost dipped below that barrier with a fastest lap of 1m32.099 seconds (92.09mph).

“It was quite hard to know which tyres to go on for race one, the Clerk of the Course said we should go on wets so that’s what we all did”, explained Charlie, “It was quite a hard race, as the track dried more the tyres started to go off and the car was sliding around a lot more but it was a good race.”

For the televised sixth round on Sunday, the action began under Safety Car conditions due to the continued presence of rain and a lot of standing water on track. Racing proper got underway at the start of lap three and Charlie made no mistakes as he quickly built a lead of over a second.

Reeling off a string of fastest laps, the best of 1m35.060 seconds (89.22mph) coming on lap six, the MSA Academy driver pushed hard to keep a good gap to title rival Murray and eventually won by two seconds. Starting the weekend fourth in the standings, Charlie now has a five point lead.

“I realised where Niall [Murray] was and I wanted to try and keep the gap or even stretch the gap, I kept pushing until the last few laps and then concentrated on making no mistakes to make sure the win was in the bag”, he added, “It really has been a fantastic weekend and the perfect 48th birthday present for my dad too!”

Charlie now has a six week break from competition with rounds seven and eight of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship scheduled to take place on 9th/10th June at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
1st Charlie Robertson, 144pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Charlie RobertsonGinetta Junior Championship racer Charlie Robertson took his second podium of the year at Donington Park over the weekend, 14th/15th April, during round three of the season – but the event ended in bitter disappointment for the 15-year-old when rammed into retirement from round four.

Heading into the second race meeting of the 2012 season aiming to challenge for a double victory, the HHC Motorsport driver qualified fourth fastest for Saturday’s opening encounter – just 0.176 seconds shy of pole position – and an improved third for the race two grid

Initially challenging for third place at the start of round three, Charlie was shuffled back to fourth but then seized third on lap three prior to the appearance of the Safety Car due to a Ginetta G40 off the circuit at Craner Curves.

When racing resumed on lap eight, the Investigo and Ria Capital Markets-supported youngster held his podium placing well before sailing past George Gamble and Niall Murray on the run into Redgate to grab the race lead.

At Coppice on the very next lap though, contact involving Murray and Gamble led to a multi-car collision and resulted in red flags and an early conclusion to the race. Thankfully, Charlie negotiated the chaos safely to complete the lap in the lead but with the final result declared on count-back from the end of lap seven, he was classified in second place – Gamble not included due to his non-finish.

During Sunday’s televised race, Whyteleafe-based Charlie ran in second initially but was bundled back to fourth on the opening lap. Close behind Murray for the next couple of tours, the pair got ahead of Nathan Harrison and at the end of lap four at the chicane Charlie nosed alongside Murray to try and take second but the Irishman closed the door – leading to contact.

Both recovered, Charlie in seventh and Murray in 10th position, but by lap eight the two drivers were back together. Heading down the flat-out Craner Curves, as Charlie assumed his usual line for the quick right-hander at the Old Hairpin he was unceremoniously shunted from behind by Murray and into a shocking high-speed retirement through the gravel trap.

Post-race, Murray was excluded from the results but the non-score for Charlie means the MSA Academy driver has slipped from third to fourth in the championship standings – 32 points adrift of the series lead.

“Saturday was a shambles”, said Charlie, “I really do feel I was the rightful winner of that race on the track and I don’t think the final declared result was the correct one. Race two wasn’t much better really, I got overtaken by [Niall] Murray and then I did a move on him into the chicane but he closed the door when I was down the inside for some reason.

“We both ended up dropping back and then he just went straight into the back of me at the Old Hairpin and took me out of the race. That’s a dangerous place to make contact with anyone, it’s the fastest place on the track – I thought I was going to hit the tyres but thankfully I didn’t. We should have had two podiums this weekend but, through no fault of our own, we lost a lot of points.”

Next on the schedule is a visit to the fastest circuit on the Ginetta Junior Championship calendar, Thruxton in Hampshire, for rounds five and six of the campaign on 28th/29th April.

2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd4):
4th Charlie Robertson, 70pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.