HHC Motorsport’s young Canadian driver Devlin DeFrancesco experienced a mixed weekend in his first Kickstart Energy Ginetta Junior Championship series event at Croft last weekend. Devlin, who has been testing for single seater team Carlin, showed flashes of brilliance during practice and qualifying but was caught up in a few incidents during the two races which left him with no points to show for his efforts. Devlin is hoping that his experiences on the BTCC programme will stand him in good stead as he aims to move up into MSA Formula next season.
Like many drivers from across the pond, Devlin has driven in a good variety of series before his move over to the UK in order to develop his racing skills. Despite being a rookie in the Kickstart Energy Ginetta Junior Championship, DeFrancesco is one of the more senior drivers in the field but has very little experience driving the Ginetta G40 with just a handful of test days under his belt before his debut meeting at Croft. His natural talent is clear after lapping within tenths of his race winning teammates during the test sessions and into qualifying. Joining the series at the same time as teammate Charlie Fagg gives Devlin a good benchmark in terms of performance; however Charlie is younger but has had more experience behind the wheel including three races during the most recent Ginetta Junior Winter Series.
Devlin’s race weekend begun well with a solid qualifying session in a high pressure environment where he had 15 minutes to set a fast lap time, with the race two grid now set by the race one results, DeFrancesco didn’t have to worry about ensuring he set two fast laps during the session. His efforts were rewarded with a superb ninth place starting spot, and in doing so was one of the highest rookies. This performance was also impressive compared to two other debutants, Charlie Fagg and Connor Grady, who qualified outside of the top-15.
The first race of the weekend began positively for the HHC Motorsport driver who held his position for the opening stages of the race and was challenging the more experienced drivers ahead of him. Unfortunately he was forced to retire on lap four after contact with another driver, however, DeFrancesco gained valuable experienced driving in the fiercely competitive series. Devlin knew race two was going to be even more of a challenge having to start from the back around other quick drivers who had suffered from misfortune in race one. The HHC Motorsport driver was starting to make good progress until he sustained damage to his Ginetta G40, unfortunately this hampered his progress as he had to make a trip to the pit lane. This incident dropped him to the back of the field but DeFrancesco was able to gain vital track time re-joining the race, setting competitive lap times in the progress.
With a weekend of racing under his belt, Devlin will be looking to build on this during the second half of the season and become a regular contender for rookie honours. Driving for HHC Motorsport, DeFrancesco has the perfect team around him capable of lifting him to the heights reached previously by rookie driver Sophia Floersch who took overall wins and four consecutive rookie cups in the first half of the season. If his performances continue to improve, Devlin will be a contender next year as he hopes to move up to the MSA Formula series driving for leading team Carlin.