Declan Jones concluded the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship in style at Donington Park last weekend (October 5-6), and while he just missed out on the GT4 title, another convincing victory left no doubt as to who was the star of the season.
The 18-year-old Liverpool-based teenager was making his debut in British GT this year, but despite his inexperience, and despite the fact he was youngest driver in the series, he defied all that to be one of the front runners right from the off, when he kicked off his campaign with two victories at Oulton Park.
Heading to Donington for the seventh and final event he trailed championship rivals, Optimum's Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jnr, by 12.5 points, and while he had only ever driven at the Leicestershire-based circuit once before - and had never sampled the full track - he remained upbeat.
In practice, Declan and team-mate, Nathan Freke, went well and were right on the pace in their Century Motorsport Ginetta G50 GT4, setting the third best time in practice one and the second best time in practice two, 0.293 seconds up on Ratcliffe and Parfitt Jnr.
Qualifying, however, didn't go to plan and an engine failure at Schwantz Curve, left Declan and Nathan fourth on the grid.
In the race though, Nathan made a great start and pulled out a good lead during his stint. He then handed over to Declan, who eventually brought it home in P1.
It was Declan's sixth podium of the season - and his third outright win - but unfortunately for the Halewood-based youngster it left him two points shy of his rivals once the points were tallied up.
“It was fantastic to get the win, but it is a bitter-sweet result,” said Declan, who had to settle for the vice-champions spot. “I really wanted to get a British Championship under my belt and to come so close is quite frustrating. We have done everything we could though this weekend and it was great having Nathan as my team-mate again. Congratulations to Ryan and Rick and all at Optimum on the title win.”
“We have had to overcome numerous and significant challenges this year,” Declan added, “and without them I believe the championship result would have been different.
“Overall though, I am pleased with my progress. It has been another learning year and I cannot fault it. It has been fantastic and I think I have probably been the best GT4 driver by far this season. I want to thank everyone at Century Motorsport, as well as my sponsors, Chicago Soft, The London Perfume Company and HERO Energy for all their support. Finally I want to thank my family too.”