Challenging opening round for Haytham in rain soaked Brands Hatch debut

Challenging opening round for Haytham in rain soaked Brands Hatch debut

10.04.2019: The opening rounds of the 2019 Ginetta Juniors Championship created a lot of new challenges for the rookie from Kuwait making his Championship debut.

The opening rounds of the 2019 Ginetta Juniors Championship created a lot of new challenges for the rookie from Kuwait making his Championship debut.




Friday practice saw Haytham improve his lap times to get under the 1min mark, matching the pace of the front runners. Celebration was however short-lived as he spun into the gravel at Paddock Hill bend only to be hit by a team mate, damaging both cars. Both drivers headed off to the medical centre and were later released fit and well.



Overnight the car was repaired by the TCR team mechanics and qualifying took place on the Saturday.


In wet drizzling conditions, coming out of Druids corner, Haytham lost grip and went onto the grass coming to rest at the tyre wall, unable to re-start the car, he was towed away by the marshals.



Another precautionary trip to the medical centre cost Haytham the chance to take part in the first race later that day as the medic staff had taken a decision to curtail his racing that day on the suspicion of concussion.


Frustratingly, Haytham had to watch from the sidelines as his team mates battled it out on the track, a tough ask considering all the hard work and effort to get to that point.



On Sunday the medics deemed Haytham fit to race, but the start time was delayed due to thick fog over the circuit, and as the Ginetta Junior G40 cars have no lights their race was moved from 11:30 to 1:30pm.



Rain was falling on the track as they left for the start grid, with Haytham starting at the rear of the grid due to not completing the qualifying session the previous day.


Fortunately, he was in a good position to avoid the five or so cars all spinning off into Graham Hill bend and managed to avoid the chaos. The safety car was deployed for a few laps to clear the debris.


Conditions were not ideal for the Junior cars in the wet conditions . Haytham put in steady laps and clawed his way up to 17th. A few laps from the end, unfortunately again losing grip and spun onto the grass, he managed to quickly re-join the race but this had cost him time and a place on the last lap, finishing 18th from 26 starters.


“I was really annoyed with myself when I spun on Friday, but the gravel was too deep to get out of and then one of our team mates also came off and hit my car so it was a big smash, luckily we were both OK. It was a shame the medical staff didn’t let me race on Saturday but I understand they have a job to do and as we are juniors take extra safety measures,” commented Haytham.


“I really enjoyed my first ever race on the Sunday despite a bit of nerves. The crowds were immense, I've never see so many people at a race meeting before, it was amazing to be part of the large BTCC weekend.”


“I'm a bit frustrated at losing the back end on the grass and spinning off but at least I managed to keep it going and re-join to take the chequered flag.”



“I really want to thank my team mates for their support and to TCR for fixing the car up, and also my sponsors and family who were there to support me all weekend.”


Haytham now looks forward to more testing and the second round at Donington on April 26/27th.




- Lex Akehurst- photo XSportGroup

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/haytham-opening-round-ginetta-junior-brands-hatch---189158.html

10.04.2019 / MaP

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