Declan Jones put in a brilliant performance at Oulton Park last weekend in rounds seven and eight of the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship, running as high as fifth in the second race and eventually finishing ninth, despite a puncture.

Declan, who has moved up to the Ginetta Junior Championship for 14-17 year-olds this season, went into the event again gunning for a top-ten to match what he had managed last time out at Thruxton, and the 15-year-old duly delivered - and in some style too.

Indeed despite a tough start to his home event, with the Chicago-Soft-backed youngster slowed by a differential issue in unofficial practice on Friday, he bounced back the next day and with a new diff fitted he was almost two seconds a lap quicker and a solid 13th in practice. His mechanical woes however were not over and in qualifying brake problems meant he was unable to set a representative time in his family-run Kelvin Jones Motorsport Ginetta G40J, leaving him only 17th on the grid.

Declan put his head down though, and in the first race hauled his car up the order to twelfth, less than six seconds off the top-ten.

The following day saw the weather take a turn for the worse, but in drying and gloomy conditions, the Liverpudlian immediately made headway in the second race, which was screened live on UK TV on ITV4, and he was ninth by the end of the first lap.

He then got up as high as fifth and was fast closing on fourth, until slowed by a puncture, a result of getting caught up in a clash between his former team-mate, Paddy McClughan and Niall Murray on lap 3: "My old team-mate spun in front of me through Lodge and I clipped him. It ripped off part of the front left of the car and then something started rubbing on the tyre," Declan explained.

Despite being hindered by the puncture though, which later went flat, the Ginetta Junior rookie hung on and still got a top-ten, eventually crossing the line in ninth, to equal his best result thus far in the championship.

"We had a really difficult start to the weekend with the diff going," Declan continued. "But as soon as we changed that we found something like 1.7 seconds. Obviously that was a big boost. But then the brake pedal went long in qualifying and I really struggled.

"Race 1 was okay but we got the set-up really good for today's race. On lap 3 I was the quickest on the track and by lap 5 was fifth and catching fourth and third. But then the puncture came in and it was hard towards the end as it had gone completely flat. It wouldn't go around right-handers properly and I just had to try and keep people behind me and collect as many points as possible."

Declan eventually added another 21 points to his tally in total - his best haul thus far - and he will now go to Croft in North Yorkshire in two weeks time (June 18-19), for rounds nine and ten of the MSA British Touring Car Championship-support series, with 59 points on the board.

"I obviously want to try and improve at Croft," he continued. "I know I can do it now and know I can be fast there and right up with the quick boys. A top-ten is definitely the target again.

"This weekend has been eventful and a bit bittersweet. There have been lots of ups and downs. But some points have been really good and that is what I want to remember."

Declan's dad and boss of Kelvin Jones Motorsport, Kelvin Jones meanwhile labelled his son's latest performance in the second race 'brilliant', adding it was just what the youngster needed as he continues to learn in what is only his first season post-karting.

"What a drive!" Kelvin added. "That was unbelievable! We knew once it was wet he was going to be good today and he got right up to fifth. He was fastest on the track on lap 3 and nearly a second faster than Seb [Morris]. I thought he was on his way to the podium, he was that fast. But then obviously the tyre went flat and he had to battle his way to ninth.

"It is still a great to finish the weekend though, especially after what happened on Friday and Saturday.

"On Friday the car just got worse and worse as the day went on and it then started to labour out of Knickerbrook and up Clay Hill. Ginetta loaned me another diff for the Saturday and we put it in and went about two seconds quicker. Then in qualifying the pedal went long and as Declan braked it just locked the front. We knew then his qualifying was over.

"In Saturday's race, again he did well. We finished twelfth. That was a bit of a s*** fight, but there was a lot to do having started right from the back.

"Returning to today's race though, I thought Dec put in a great performance. It is a good confidence lift for him. He realises now he can race these guys. We have made steps forward with the car too. The team is getting to know it a lot more now. But the main improvement is just Declan and his confidence and even though he was only ninth, I thought it was one of the best drives I have seen him do. It was a brilliant performance.

"Now it is on to Croft in two weeks time and that will be mega. It will be a new track for us. We haven't tested there. We will be going for more top-ten finishes. Let's pray for rain too!"



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