It was TRS Arden’s first victory of the season and the first for the esteemed Red Bull Junior driver programme in the series. In a dramatic race, Jamie Caroline came home second, followed closely by Billy Monger and Carrie Schreiner – all three drivers putting in inspired performances to battle through the field.
Leeds took no prisoners from third on the grid during the opening lap, pulling off a daring move around the outside of pole man Jack Butel, having quickly dispatched James Pull.
With a handful of second place finishes to his name already this season, Leeds never looked like relinquishing the lead. He was able to build an advantage out in front at both times of asking following two safety car restarts as the drama unfolded behind him.
The win also now sees Luis take control at the top of the championship standings.
The Red Bull Junior was under pressure because of two safety car periods but still won by 2.683 seconds. A hectic Race 3 saw him take more points for seventh and he leaves Thruxton tied on points at the top of the table after arriving only in fifth place.
“Just fantastic to get that first win and so cool to be at the head of the points table,” enthused Leeds. “We didn’t think it would end up like that. It was an odd weekend, we sort of struggled a bit through qualifying to get the clear lap and the time we wanted and that left us 10th and 9th in qualifying which wasn’t what we expected.”
“The first race was good though and I managed to push through to fifth which I was pleased with and the Arden guys did a fantastic job of using what we learnt there to give me a great car for today. For races 2 and 3 I couldn’t have asked for more. They really turned things around.”
“Race 2 was a lot of fun, I knew I had to go for it from the start and from 3rd on the grid I passed 2 round the outside at one corner and that was it,” explained the Victorian. “I thought I might get robbed as there were a couple of safety car periods so I really had to make sure my restarts were good, there were a couple of fast guys behind me wanting to pass but I stuck at it.”
“It was great to get that first win, we’ve had podiums already but that certainly makes a difference. Especially as it gave us the lead in the points.”
“Race 3 wasn’t easy, a lot of Rookies pushing hard and getting a bit loose but still we got some more points and were only pipped for 6th by 5-hundredths.”
The first appearance of the safety car occurred just four laps in to enable the recovery of Nicolai Kjaergaard’s beached car on the exit of Church corner. Prior to which Quinn out-braked himself trying to defend from Jamie Caroline, sending him into the back of James Pull. Both lived to fight another day, but they came together merely a lap later. An incident which sees Quinn receive a five place grid penalty for round nine.
With the safety car back in the pits at the end of lap six the drama resumed instantly. Whilst Leeds once again wasted no time in breaking away from the field, Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco collided with JHR’s Jack Butel in almost a carbon copy of the incident that saw Max Fewtrell roll spectacularly out of round seven.
By lap seven Florescu had made his way up to third place, but a technical problem saw him fall through the field. It forced him to relinquish his championship lead as he nursed his Carlin home at the rear of the field.
On the penultimate lap Zane Goddard found a way past fellow Aussie Harry Hayek to claim fifth behind Double R team-mate Carrie Schreiner, by far the best result of the season for the Double R team. It was an exceptional performance from both drivers, with Zane climbing up from the last row of the grid and Schreiner from 13th.
Having been overtaken by Goddard, Hayek was immediately in the firing line. Max Fewtrell was seeking redemption after yesterday’s DNF and fellow championship contender Sennan Fielding was also in maximum attack mode on the final lap. However, the trio came to grief at the Club chicane, Fielding miraculously maintaining momentum to finish sixth and Hayek in 12th.