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Tag: Pepe Massot

Pepe MassotSpanish teenager Pepe Massot stunned the established order in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 30th/31st March, by claiming a remarkable maiden win during only his, and the Hillspeed team’s, second race in the category.

Graduating with the Hathersage squad from the Ginetta Junior sister series, where he made his car racing debut in 2012, the 17-year-old from Barcelona really has taken no time at all to master the infinitely more powerful Ginetta G55.

“Pepe did a fantastic job this weekend, we couldn’t have asked for more from him”, said Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “He’s been on the pace from the off, he was very competitive in qualifying and to win in only our second ever race in this championship was just incredible really.

“Everyone at the team has worked incredibly hard as well and they deserve a lot of credit. To have competed against, and beaten, well established Ginetta GT Supercup teams on our debut is as much as we could have hoped for.”

Impressing in his first Ginetta GT Supercup qualifying session on Saturday morning with the fifth quickest time, a mere 0.3 seconds shy of pole position, Massot climbed as high as fifth in the opening encounter and raced strongly before having to settle for sixth five laps from the finish.

Round two, though, was where the Hillspeed youngster really made his mark, first slicing through from sixth on the grid into fourth and then taking third on lap three. Following an early Safety Car period, Massot set about challenging reigning champion Carl Breeze and on lap 12 he made the breakthrough to move into second place.

Then, only two laps later, the Spaniard got alongside race leader Jamie Orton and moved ahead to take a memorable lead. Pulling a second clear by lap 17, Massot did come under increasing pressure during the closing stages but delivered a drive showing maturity beyond his years to fend off the chasing pack and sail to a remarkable debut victory.

Round three, on Sunday afternoon, produced another great performance from Massot and early on he was well on course to make it two podiums in as many races. Lining up fourth on the grid, the teenager carved his way through to second and was just 0.6 seconds behind former Hillspeed driver Tom Ingram – who won the 2010 Ginetta Junior title for the team – into lap two.

At Graham Hill Bend though, an attempted pass by Breeze pushed Massot out onto the grass and the loss of momentum dropped him to fifth. Up into fourth prior to the appearance of the Safety Car at the start of lap four, when racing resumed Massot held station but was bundled back to seventh before the conclusion.

Double points finish for Ginetta Junior rookie White
The weekend’s action at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit also marked the car racing debut of Hillspeed newcomer Josh White, the 16-year-old karting graduate making his Ginetta Junior Championship bow after winning a scholarship established in connection with the Derbyshire team.

Qualifying 12th fastest for the first race, just 0.4 seconds shy of the top 10, the Ilkley youngster’s second best time was consistently strong and placed him on the sixth row again for round two of the season – this time little more than 0.1 seconds outside the top 10.

In the season opener on Saturday afternoon, which took place in slippery conditions, White dropped to the tail of the field at the start but recovered to battle over 12th place by mid-distance before settling for 13th position. In the televised second round on Sunday, he posted an improved 11th place finish to cap an encouraging first weekend.

“Josh had a huge amount to learn at Brands Hatch but he didn’t disgrace himself at all, he listened to everything we told him and he made some positive steps forward”, said Ollerenshaw, “He kept out of trouble and, importantly, finished both races which is the target we set before the weekend.”

Hillspeed’s Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup and Ginetta Junior squads will be back in action three weeks from now, over the weekend 20th/21st April, at Donington Park in Leicestershire. Before then, the team’s Protyre Formula Renault Championship outfit will make its first race appearance of the year for the opening two rounds of its 2013 campaign – also at Donington Park – on Sunday, 14th April.

2013 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup Driver Standings (after Rd3)
3rd Pepe Massot, 69pts

2013 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd2)
12th Josh White, 18pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Pepe Massot - Silverstone Ginetta WinnerHillspeed enjoyed a fantastically successful outing at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 6th/7th October with Pepe Massot winning round 18 of the Ginetta Junior Championship and Kieran Vernon making a welcome return to the Protyre Formula Renault BARC podium.

Bouncing back brilliantly from a disappointing opening race in Ginetta Junior on Saturday, in which contact left Massot’s car with significant damage and a lack of performance which resulted in an 11th place finish, in Sunday’s televised race the young Spaniard secured the second outright victory of his maiden season in cars.

Qualifying third on the grid, the 16-year-old from Barcelona made a good getaway to round 18 and quickly snatched second place on the opening lap. Remaining in second until lap three, on the run into Becketts the Hillspeed rookie dived up the inside to grab the lead from Charlie Robertson.

With the lead quartet split by little more than a second, Massot had to keep an eye on his mirrors for the remainder of the 11 lap encounter but he defended superbly with great maturity and skill far belying his years.

On the final lap though, Andrew Watson made an attempted pass up the inside at Becketts – there was slight contact and Massot was pushed wide. Somehow though, he was able to regain second place on the run into Brooklands and superbly took the lead back at Luffield to claim the victory by 0.3 seconds.

Young team-mate Freddie Lee, in only his fourth race weekend in Ginetta Junior, unfortunately crashed out of race two on lap six after a small error under braking at Becketts which led to a tangle with Robertson.

In round 17 though, the 15-year-old managed to secure a top 10 finish – his fifth of the season – after a hectic outing in which he ran as high as eighth. Lining-up 11th on the grid, Lee progressed into ninth on lap three ahead of Massot after the latter incurred his significant bodywork damage.

Taking eighth on lap five, at the expense of Niall Murray who dropped back, Lee remained there until lap eight when Murray recovered his lost ground. He was then edged back to 10th on the final lap when usurped during the closing stages by William Palmer.

“Pepe produced an exceptional performance to win race two”, said Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “He raced fantastically well, defended fairly and when it looked as though he might be beaten he produced a sensational second half of the final lap to win – incredible. Freddie didn’t get the results he wanted but it’s clear for us to see he’s continuing to make very good progress.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Pepe Massot - Rockingham PodiumGinetta Junior Championship front-runner Pepe Massot secured yet another Rookie Cup victory for reigning champions Hillspeed during round 16 at Rockingham on Sunday, 23rd September, although contact at the final corner on the last lap robbed the Spaniard of a deserved outright podium finish.

While qualifying didn’t quite go according to plan for the 16-year-old, starting eighth on the grid for both encounters, Massot delivered two excellent race performances – in particular Sunday’s outing in which he scythed his way through into the top three only to be knocked back to fifth.

Climbing into the top six on the opening lap of round 16, the first year racer piled on the pressure to the drivers ahead and quickly took fifth before a tight battle over fourth ensued with Ollie Chadwick and Harry Woodhead.

Glued to the tail of Chadwick’s Ginetta G40, with Niall Murray only fractionally ahead of both in third place, Massot remained patient and out of Brook Chicane on lap six he benefitted from terrific drive to get the inside line through Turn Four of the Rockingham Oval.

Running into lap seven alongside Murray with Chadwick on the outside, the Hillspeed racer grabbed third place with some great driving into Turn One but on the final lap contact dropped Massot back to fifth behind both rivals.

In Saturday’s race, the Barcelona-born driver moved into the top four by the end of lap two and although slipping to fifth behind recovering championship leader Charlie Robertson – who dropped back on the second tour after contact with Sennan Fielding – Massot grabbed fourth back at Tarzan on lap seven, from Woodhead.

“We’re happy to see Pepe on the podium with a Rookie win but there were some questionable driving standards again this weekend, definitely costing him an outright podium in race two”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.

“In qualifying he missed the opportunity to hook his laps up but he raced very impressively. Moving up to third from eighth on the grid in race two was outstanding and he managed to pass every car along the way without the slightest bit of contact. At the last corner of the final lap though, he was blatantly taken off – we’re incredibly disappointed nothing was done about that after the race.”

Team-mate Freddie Lee, in only his third weekend of racing in Ginetta Junior, produced two very impressive drives in rounds 15 and 16 and concluded the weekend with a best result so far of seventh place in Sunday’s encounter – just 0.6 seconds shy of the coveted top six.

Beginning race two from ninth on the grid, having qualified within 0.3 seconds of Massot, the 14-year-old climbed into eighth on the first lap and instantly tagged-on to Oli Basey-Fisher ahead while defending well from Keith Donegan behind.

As the mid-pack closed up into the second half of the race, with a train of five cars developing, there was nothing between the quintet and Lee was unfortunately shuffled back to ninth on lap five. Quick to recover though, the Hillspeed racer grabbed eighth place back at Brook Chicane on the sixth tour and then brilliantly nabbed seventh on the final lap.

In race one, the Chelmsford rookie held ninth early on and after pressuring the group ahead he managed to take eighth place from Basey-Fisher on lap six. Defending well with some great racecraft as his rival tried to hit back, Lee was then able to pull clear over the last couple of laps to maintain the position and take fourth in the Rookie Cup.

“We’re very pleased with Freddie’s performance this weekend, it’s the first event he’s done where he’s had chance to test before the race meeting and that preparation really paid off”, commented Ollerenshaw, “He’s really starting to get to grips with the car and raced very strongly all weekend which was fantastic to see, we’re really very impressed with his progress.”

Rounds 17 and 18 of the Ginetta Junior Championship will take place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire over the weekend 6th/7th October. At the same event, Hillspeed will also have its Protyre Formula Renault BARC squad in action for the final two rounds of that championship.

2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd16):
4th Pepe Massot, 297pts; 14th Freddie Lee, 53pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.