June 6th

Tom Wood hits new highs at Oulton Park

Tom Wood’s fledgling racing career hit a new high on the weekend (4-5 June), as he stormed to a maiden car racing class victory in the Ginetta Junior Championship at the challenging Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire.

The Castle Donington racer, driving for Elite Motorsport in his first season of racing cars after years of success in karting, had not competed at Oulton Park before, but showed excellent speed throughout the weekend, culminating in a Rookie-class victory in the first race of the weekend on Saturday.

The 14-year-old looked set to claim at least a top-10 starting position in qualifying, but while pushing hard for an optimum lap time, was unfortunately one of several drivers to lose lap times due to exceeding track limits. Despite the set-back, he again looked set to post a very competitive time until he was held up by a slower driver, and was forced to settle for 14th place on the grid. Had the luck fallen his way, his combined sector times would have been good enough for a superb sixth on the grid.

With overtaking notoriously difficult at Oulton Park, the Donington Park-supported racer would have been forgiven for feeling slightly downbeat about his chances of securing a deserved top-10 result. But Tom ignored the single-file stereotype to gain six positions throughout the race and finish an excellent eighth overall, and top rookie, securing him a spot on the top step of the podium for the first time in his car racing career.

Wood held position on the first lap but then demonstrated excellent overtaking prowess to move into the top-10 on lap five, and then moving into eighth on lap six, holding the position until the end of the race and finishing over two seconds clear of his nearest rival, and three places higher than the next rookie contender.

Buoyed by one of his best performances of the year, and with grid positions for the next race taken from the finishing positions of race one, Tom started eighth for Sunday’s contest. On the first lap though, he was pushed onto the grass exiting the first corner and dropped to 12th. Determined to salvage another good result, he again proved that overtaking is possible around the tight Oulton Park track, and finished ninth after a strong fightback, despite having to take avoiding action on more than one occasion.

Tom’s next outing comes at Croft circuit in Yorkshire in two weeks’ time. Tom commented: “It was a fantastic weekend for me at Oulton Park. I managed to avoid some incidents and move up the field in both races, and I still feel that I learn a lot each time I race. I was so proud to represent my sponsors in front of the amazing crowds. My team did an excellent job and to be part of the action at the BTCC is a very special opportunity. It was a great feeling to be on the top step of the podium on Saturday and another podium on Sunday. The atmosphere was amazing and hopefully we’ll get more top results at Croft!”

For more information on Tom Wood, visit www.tomwoodracing.co.uk.

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