17-year-old teenager Declan Jones put in a stunning performance and took two victories on his debut in the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park last weekend (March 30-April 1).
The Halewood Village-based youngster, who has moved up from the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup this year, went into the event targeting wins and podiums and he duly delivered in the Century Motorsport-run Ginetta GT4 that he was sharing with Zoe Wenham. Indeed after dominating both practice sessions - finishing almost a second up on their closest class rivals in FP1 and over 1.3 seconds up in FP2 - much was expected from qualifying and after Zoe took third on the grid for race 1, Declan put in a mega lap to grab pole position for the second race, despite electing only to do one flying lap.
Race day saw the duo enjoy further success, with Declan finishing the first 1 hour event more than 20 seconds up on their closest class rival as they romped home to claim the GT4 class victory.
He then made a great start in the second 1 hour race, and had built up a good lead when he stopped and handed over to Zoe. Despite incurring a 15-second penalty at the pit stop - sustained as a result of winning the first race - and despite dropping back to second, Zoe then re-took P1 when the lead GT4 car was involved in an accident, and while a late safety car period bunched up the pack, she hung on to ensure it was a double triumph.
Declan now becomes one of the youngest-ever British GT winners and understandably he was ecstatic about the weekend: “It has just been fantastic,” Declan said. “I couldn't have asked for more.
“The first race was really good. Zoe kept within fighting distance of our rivals and after our pit stop, I went out and within a few laps we were up to second. I was rapidly catching first and in the end we won comfortably.
“In the second race, I started from pole - only the second time I had done a rolling start. It went really well and in my stint I pulled out a 20-second lead. I also posted the fastest race lap again, which was encouraging.
“I then passed it over to Zoe. Having won the first race we had that time penalty, but she still rejoined in a good position and at the end she defended really well, and we got another victory.”
“Overall it has been a dream weekend,” Declan added. “I am really happy with how I drove - everything just fell into place. We have had no problems with the car. It performed well throughout – even with the extra weight we had to run. The team did a superb job. My thanks go to all at Century Motorsport, my team-mate, Zoe, the organisers of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and of course my sponsors, Chicago Soft, The London Perfume Company and HERO Energy. This is just the perfect way to start the year.”