Progression pleasing for Perez junior
MOTOR SPORT PAUL HORTON
SEB Perez showed strong pace and fighting spirit in rounds three and four of the KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship at Donington Park over the weekend.
The 15-year-old King’s School student is the son of 2014 BTRDA Gold Star Rally Champion Steve Perez, who recently competed in the Kick Energy Junior 1000 Rally Championship and the series is backed by Steve’s Global Brands business.
Perez made the transition from rallying and following in dad’s footsteps last October when he raced a Ginetta at Brands Hatch in the final round of the series and part of a support race to the British Touring Car Championship.
He finished 18th and 16th – a decent showing for a first outing in a new car and totally different to driving through forests in a rally car.
His attack on the 2015 KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship started over the Easter Weekend at Brands Hatch. Unfortunately, in both races Perez had to fight back after losing ground when cars spun in front of him, leading to a 21st place finish in race one and 13th in race two despite a dislodged bonnet.
The teenager, who is sponsored by Morris Lubricants, was racing at his home track for the first time in a fiercely competitive 25-car field for the Ginetta Junior Championship, which is contested by 14 to 17 year-old racers.
Although his final race results did not reflect his true pace, Seb was pleased with his progress.
“Qualifying was good, but there was a red flag four minutes from the end of the session,” he said. “We had an amazing lap coming together when someone cut me up.
“That’s bound to happen at some stage in these cars.”
His best lap left him 18th on the grid, but only nine-tenths of a second away from the pole position time.
Race one on Saturday started well.
“I made a couple of places into the first corner,” said Seb. “Going into the second lap someone pushed me off onto the grass and I ended up spinning. That put me at the back, 20 seconds behind the leaders, but I got my head down and made up a couple of places.”
More important than the final race position of 15th was the fact that Seb set the 11th best race lap.
Race two ran in front of live TV cameras on Sunday and was full of action from the off.
“We were going really well in the early laps and managed to get up to 12th,” said Seb. “I was just about to overtake another car and went into the chicane just a little bit too quick and caught the kerb on the inside.
“I saved the first part of it, but then it went the other way and got onto the grass and spun. Everyone went flying past and then I just tried to catch as many people as I could. But the races are very short, so it’s very hard to come back from something like that.”
His final position, 20th, did not truly reflect his speed.
“Overall the pace has been good and we’re really pleased with progress this weekend,” he said. “I’m ready for Thruxton now and we’ve done a couple of tests there. There are two places you absolutely need to nail and then the rest of it is just flat out!”
The KICK Start Energy Ginetta Junior Championship continues at Thruxton (Hampshire) over the weekend of 9/10 May.
●● Seb Perez