Jessica Hawkins strengthens her championship chances at Oulton Park

Jessica Hawkins (Photo by Marc Waller)

Jessica Hawkins (Photo by Marc Waller)Jessica Hawkins headed to Cheshire last weekend for the latest rounds of the Mini Challenge at the Oulton Park Mini festival.

This meeting was all squeezed into one day meaning there would only be two races this time. There was an extra driver this round, Fulvio Mussi joined the championship for the festival only and wouldn’t score points but he would win any trophies he’d pick up!

The forecast for the day was showers but qualifying was dry. Hawkins was out on track as soon as possible as the session started and circulated rapidly for the entire session ending up third on the grid. This was a great result other than the fact that her nearest rival for the championship, Matt Hammond was on pole.

By the time the first race was ready to start, it was raining heavily and the track was soaked. Hawkins got a good start but found Fulvio Mussi alongside her. Thinking of the championship she didn’t fight too much with Mussi, letting him set off in pursuit of Hammond. Hopefully the two of them would battle, leaving Hawkins to move ahead. Also in the front pack with Richard Newman, who wasn’t a direct threat in the championship. Hawkins ran in a strong fourth for much of the race as the rain started to ease off. With Mussi running off towards Hammond as a “Hare” Hawkins was looking to take advantage and this plan soon paid off as Hammond went off and rejoined behind Hawkins. This put her in third where she crossed the line with Newman in second and Mussi taking the win. More importantly this gave her the points for second position, scoring more than her rival.

Race two would be a reverse grid with Hawkins again starting third. It was damp this time rather than fully wet as the cars took to the grid. She made a good start and found herself fighting for the lead past pole sitter Darren Chatt. Mussi had also made a good start and was right behind her. He was soon past only for Hawkins to pass him back. Mussi then passed once more and Hawkins, thinking of the championship knew it was better to finish second behind Mussi than to crash out while fighting for the lead. An accident further down the field then brought out the safety car. The accident took a while to clear up so the decision was made to red flag the race and then restart it as a four lap “dash to the flag”

Hawkins slotted in behind Mussi after the start. Ideally she wanted to win but not at any cost as in championship terms, Mussi wasn’t there and so to pass him would do nothing for her championship. If she was going to pass him it would need to be a risk free move. In the four short laps after the new start there wasn’t an opportunity and she crossed the line in second, taking the points for the win.

Dry qualifying (Photo by Marc Waller) Race one was very wet (Photo by Marc Waller) Race two was as good as a win in championship terms (Photo by Marc Waller) A tough battle at the start of race two (Photo by Marc Waller) Jessica wins the Champagne battle (Photo by Marc Waller)




“I drove thinking of the championship this weekend, and I’ve now retaken the lead. I wanted to make sure I finished and scored some good points. With Fulvio [Mussi] not scoring that gives me the points for a second and a first. There’s only six races left over two rounds so I need to make sure I keep ahead. Wins would be great but scoring more than my nearest rivals is the most important thing.”

Hawkins next races are at Donington Park in September before the finale at Snetterton in October. .By Marc Waller 

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