|Misfortune for pole qualifier Wooder costs near certain top three in Juniors|
Multiple Ginetta Junior Championship race winner Dave Wooder produced a stunning performance in qualifying on Saturday at his 'home' track, the Chatham-based driver securing pole position for the penultimate race of the Junior season by a full 0.2 seconds.
Taking place at the end of the afternoon on Saturday, round 24 began with Wooder losing traction off the start but he still remained in contention into Paddock Hill Bend before contact from a rival pitched the TCR car into a heavy accident and luckless first corner retirement. The severity of the impact required a visit to the circuit medical centre but, fortunately, Wooder was declared OK.
The incident led to red flags and, with the circuit curfew rapidly approaching, officials opted to move the race to Sunday morning. Wooder's team-mates Jordan Collard and Connor Grady had started from ninth and 12th respectively, the former enjoying a particularly strong qualifying run.
Wooder, of course, didn't feature in the re-run contest on day two so Collard was the best placed TCR driver in eighth on the grid, fourth highest Rookie, and he climbed into seventh, third in class, prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap two. Grady, meanwhile, held his grid slot of 11th.
Driving well just outside the overall top six, Collard maintained his placing but on lap four he was bundled back to 10th position and his race then came unstuck on the subsequent tour when pushed wide onto the grass at Surtees. Dropping to 13th position, Collard eventually ended the race in the top 12 and sixth in class. Grady, meanwhile, held onto 11th place to the flag.
For the final race of the season, round 25 on Sunday afternoon, Wooder was absent as a result of Saturday's accident so Grady started as the best placed TCR runner on row six with Collard just behind on the grid. Putting together an excellent first lap, Collard sliced through into ninth place overall, fourth in class, while Grady was edged back to 12th position.
Following an early Safety Car period, Collard held eighth and an improved third in the Rookie classification but on lap four he was shuffled down to 12th place and then slipped two more positions after a moment on lap five. Grady worked his way into the top 10 on lap four and remained there to the finish on lap eight.