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Hand palms off Junior rivals in Belgium

18 August 2010

Ashley Hand went undefeated in rounds seven and eight of the 2010 Formula Kart Stars Junior Rotax Championship at the Belgian circuit of Genk, setting the fastest time in both qualifying sessions, winning all four heats and both finals.

Hand's dominance helped him regain most of the early season points lead that he enjoyed prior to Jack Barlow's unbeaten weekend at Glan Y Gors in rounds five and six in July and gave him his first major triumph since switching to the CRG chassis.

Hand's weekend began with fastest time in Saturday's qualifying, two tenths quicker than Jessica Hawkins with Jacob Hunstone and Hand's nearest title rival Barlow rounding out the top four. That served a notice of intent and for the rest of the weekend nobody was able to get close to Hand.

Hawkins finished four seconds behind Hand in heat one after a great scrap for second that also involved Barlow and Chad Ryan while Hunstone came though to take second in heat two, albeit seven seconds behind Hand with Chris McCarthy beating Hawkins for third.

The final was a walkover for Hand, who won again by seven seconds with Barlow overcoming a stern challenge from Hunstone to take third with McCarthy and Ryan completing the top five.

Hand increased his qualifying margin from two to three tenths of a second on Sunday morning with Barlow his closest rival this time and McCarthy and Hawkins on row two and by the time the first heat rolled around so had the rain.

In horrendous conditions Hand was equally as impressive, taking the first heat by six seconds from Barlow with McCarthy another five back in third and then winning the second heat by eight seconds, once again from Barlow with Declan Jones fending off Hunstone for third.

Knowing that their best chance of beating Hand was at the start both Barlow and Hunstone made blinding getaways in the final to try and wrestle the lead from Hand but after less than a lap Hand was back in command.

Hand set about opening up a five second advantage as all the action took place behind him but if he thought he would have a drama free run to the flag he hadn't counted on an inspired charge from Josh Parker, who fought past Hunstone (who later spun), Barlow and George Cosgrove to take second.

In the final five laps Parker halved Hand's advantage but could get no closer than two seconds off Hand's rear bumper as the points leader took his sixth final win of the year. Cosgrove completed the podium with Barlow, Archie White, Jack Taylor, Liam Murphy, Luke Whitworth, Jordan Stilp and Josh Hatton completing the top ten.


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