Success for Jewiss in Silverstone debut
It was another successful weekend for Kiern Jewiss in the ninth round of the Ginetta Junior Championship, as he extended his lead in the Rookie Championship at Silverstone.
After a disappointing weekend at Rockingham in his last outing, where Kiern struggled with straight-line speed, the FM Conway-sponsored driver was looking to bounce back as he entered the weekend placed 4th in the Drivers’ Championship and leading the rookie standings.
Test sessions throughout the week at Silverstone allowed Kiern to get to grips with the Silverstone National circuit quickly as he looked forward to his debut at the home of British motorsport. However the Douglas Motorsport team still continued to struggle with the straight line speed issues that haunted Kiern’s Ginetta at Rockingham.
Overnight rain at Silverstone left the National circuit still damp as the Ginetta Junior field started their fifteen-minute session and with the track continuing to dry, timing would play a crucial role in the session’s results.
With Kiern and teammate Dan Harper working together to help each other secure a good starting position, the two traded positions to get the advantage from the slipstream and looked to be in a close battle for pole position.
Kiern’s final lap came right at the death as he crossed the finishing line just as the chequered flag dropped. His fastest lap time of 1:14.440, saw the 15-year old secure 3rd position for race one but his second fastest lap time was only enough for a 6th place start for the weekend’s second race.
“It was a strange session to be honest. The car felt good in the varied conditions and my fastest lap felt really competitive. I could have squeezed a bit more out of the car but I’m still happy with 3rd place! Unfortunately, due to the drying track, my second fastest was quite far off the pace but my starts have been really good this year so it’s still a good position to start the race from.”
A dry first race at Silverstone saw Kiern get a lightning start from 3rd place and as the front row battled for the lead, Kiern snuck right through and stormed into the lead of the race with teammate Harper right behind him.
Kiern and Harper traded positions during the second lap but the rain appeared just a couple of laps later to add yet more drama to the first race of the weekend.
On a greasy track, Kiern was in a close battle with King and Browning as the three of them fought for podium places. Driving right on the limit, a slight mistake on the slippery surface saw another car make contact with Kiern’s rear and subsequently caused damage to his Ginetta.
Falling down the order, Kiern’s damaged rear bumper cost him any chance of recovering back to the top of the order and had to settle with crossing the finishing line in 9th place to add to his ever increasing tally of rookie podiums.
“I got off to a really strong start and went through into the lead with Dan (Harper) just on my tail. Things looked like they were going really well until the rain started to fall and the contact ruined my race. After the damage to the rear, we were almost two seconds slower than the leaders so it was a case of damage limitation!”
Starting from the third row of the grid in 6th place, Kiern got off the line well as the pole sitter, Luke Browning, dropped down the order and allowed Gamble, Priaulx and King to pull away from the pack.
Moving himself up to 5th place, Kiern was all over the back of Browning but his lack of straight line speed made it tough work to find a way through – allowing the trailing cars to close up to Kiern.
Kiern tried to pull away from the pack but Browning stayed with him as the pair flew down the Wellington Straight into Brooklands. As the two drivers reached the braking zone, Kiern had to take avoiding action as the pair went wheel to wheel through the final corners.
Avoiding a collision at Brooklands, Kiern was out of shape and lost all of his momentum, allowing the trailing cars to all get past as Kiern fell down the order to 8th place. On a mission to recover some good points, Kiern fought tremendously hard, posting his quickest times of the race through the final laps.
A dramatic final few laps saw Kiern showcase his overtaking ability as he managed to break his way back to 5th place to take another rookie win in this season’s championship.
“I got a good start and was having a tough battle with Browning but didn’t have the speed to get past. I eventually managed to find a way through but Browning came back and I had to avoid him heading into Brooklands. This ruined my momentum and suddenly I was being passed from every angle! I fought hard and managed to get back to 5th which I’m pleased with as it’s another rookie win to add to the tally!”
Beginning the race from 5th place for the second time on Sunday, Kiern got a great start and found himself battling for the podium places after just a few corners. With teammate Daniel Harper just behind him, the pair worked together to apply the pressure to King and Priaulx who were fighting over 2nd place.
With Kiern looking quick and a lot braver on the brakes, the Douglas Motorsport driver tried a move around the outside of Maggots but Priaulx shut the door on Kiern, allowing Harper to get down the inside of Kiern.
Fighting back, Kiern caught straight up to the podium battle and a four-way battle for the final two podium places emerged as the grid got the final laps of the race underway.
Getting past Priaulx, Kiern was up to 4th place and in the perfect position as King and Harper battled for the runner-up spot. Patiently waiting for his opportunity, King and Harper battled wheel to wheel when King lost his shape, forcing Kiern, who had launched his attack, to again take evasive action, opening the door for Priaulx and Collard behind.
Reluctant to lose his 4th place on the final lap, Kiern shot down the inside of the pair of them into Maggots to retake the position and hold on to cross the line in 4th place and claim his second rookie win of the day.
“It was a tough race where the smallest mistake could cost you a lot. With our straight line speed still not at its best, we had to work really hard to get a good result. I was fighting all race and it was great fun but ultimately we want to be challenging for race wins. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Brands Hatch as I think the track will suit our car and hopefully we can return to fighting for race wins.”
Barry Mears, Head of the MBP Academy, credited Kiern’s resilience and determination this weekend.
“Kiern did excellently all weekend with a car that was down on top speed compared to the rest of the field. He drove really well and raised his game when he needed. Kiern had some unlucky moments this weekend but kept his head in the right place and was determined to pick up as many points as he could.”
Next up for Kiern is the season finale at Brands Hatch (30th September – 1st October) where Kiern is set to be crowned the 2017 Ginetta Junior Rookie Champion.