Strong wet pace the highlight for Luke Browning at Croft

Rising star Luke Browning continued to show his improving pace with another strong weekend on track as the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship headed to Croft for the fifth meeting of the year.

The Cheshire youngster was seeking to close in on the top ten in the championship standings in North Yorkshire following a highly competitive showing on home soil at Oulton Park three weeks earlier.

Poor weather conditions throughout Saturday would provide the youngster with an additional challenge, but he put his Richardson Racing-run car inside the top ten in qualifying with the ninth best time.

The wet opening race saw Luke make a solid start when the lights went out to climb to seventh on the opening lap, and he looked set to continue his forward progress on lap two before contact from a rival knocked him back down the field.

Slipping as far back as 16th, Luke recovered to 14th place by the finish having lapped quicker than a number of the drivers ahead in the difficult conditions.

Starting 14th on the grid for race two, Luke found himself unable to make up places at the start when he was forced to take avoiding action to miss a spinning car ahead – resulting in a trip through the gravel.

However he fought his way back to eleventh spot before the finish, thanks in no small part to a series of stunning quick laps that him post the fourth fastest time of the race on the final lap.

Another eleventh place finish followed in the dry final race of the weekend to leave Luke just nine points shy of the top ten at the half way stage of his rookie campaign.

“It wasn’t the easiest weekend and it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t get more from the two races on Saturday because I showed in race two that I had good pace in the wet conditions,” he said. “The contact in race one meant I couldn’t make the most of my qualifying position but I think I did well to fight back to 14th place with some good overtaking moves.

“It was unfortunate that I lost time at the start of race two avoiding another driver but the pace in the car after that was fantastic and it was good to get back through to eleventh. We didn’t quite have the same speed in the dry for some reason, but eleventh meant more points and I was able to outscore the driver ahead of me in the standings across the weekend to close on the top ten.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in action at Snetterton after the summer break and have already set my sights on finishing higher up the grid.

“Until then, I’d like to thank Richardson Racing, my manager Ivor Bourne, Gramtext Media and all my family and supporters for their backing so far.”