Mixed weekends for Esmee and Sophia at Brands Hatch

Sophia prepares to go on track (photo by Marc Waller)The Ginetta Junior championship got underway once again on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit last weekend as it took up its usual slot supporting the BTCC.

This year there are two female racers, Esmee Hawkey and Sophia Floersch. Esmee is returning for a full season after some outings with AMD tuning in the second half of last season. This time she is with JHR. She hopes to move forward and progress up the field Sophia is from Germany and has come over to the British Ginetta Junior championship to gain some car experience before heading to single seaters next season. She is a rookie in cars but has had great success in karts in the past. She drives for the HHC team.

Things couldn’t have gone better for Sophia in first practice with an incredible second overall. Esmee was a little disappointed in nineteenth but she was less than a second off the front so it’d only take tiny gains to jump up the field.

In qualifying there was little chance to get a decent lap with two red flags interrupting proceedings in what is only a fifteen minute session. It left Sophia in fifth, her worst position of the weekend so far but still a great starting slot for a rookie. Sophia was disappointed though as she wanted to go for pole! Esmee was thirteenth; an improvement from practice but she too had hoped to get higher up. Both girls had fast laps spoiled by the red flags.

As race one got underway, Sophia found herself under attack from behind and so defended vigorously. This allowed her rivals to pull away and so she concentrated on defending her position and crossed the line still in fifth but on the rookie cup podium in third position. Esmee however had a bit of a nightmare and incidents on track dropped her to nineteenth. She had the consolation of knowing her pace was good enough for the top ten.

Race two was on Sunday and live on ITV4. For Esmee disaster struck straight away. One of her rivals spun ahead of her going down paddock hill and unsighted she slammed into the stationary car putting her out of the race. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt but went for a quick check up just in case.

Sophia got a bit further but in the second corner she was hit from behind into the car in front damaging her bonnet fixings. When the race was red flagged for Esmee’s crash, Sophia’s team tried to fix the damage but on the restart her bonnet came open sending her off track. The bonnet then came away and she continued but well down the order and there was not enough time to stage a climb up the field especially now her car was bonnetless! She finished down in twenty first. She again showed her pace with the fourth fastest lap of the race, only three tenths of a second off the fastest driver.

It had been a mixed weekend for both drivers. Esmee had shown pace but had no luck at all in the races. Sophia had great pace in practice and had a good second race but it ran out in race two. Her team boss, Charlie Kemp was pleased with her first weekend racing cars;

“Sophia had a very good pace during the whole weekend and she showed everybody how fast she is. She just didn’t have luck in the last race but if we keep it up we will be able to go for a podium in two weeks at Donington Park.”
Both girls now look forward to the next rounds at Donington where they hope to have more luck and hopefully some great races. By Marc Waller 

Sophias car (photo by Marc Waller) Esmee tries to move up the field (photo by Marc Waller) Esmee's new car sadly didn't stay looking this good after her crash (photo by Marc Waller) Rookie podium (photo by Marc Waller) Sophia (photo by Marc Waller)


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