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Fleming takes double victory at Mondello
By: P.Grogan Posted on: 20 Apr 2012

James Fleming took a fantastic brace of victories in rounds 3 & 4 of the 2012 Ginetta Junior Ireland Championship sponsored by The Grid.ie Carlow, gearboxman.com and R.T. Quaife Engineering at Mondello Park.

Coming into the weekend, Jake Byrne, double winner from the opening rounds at Kirkistown in March, was keen to pick up where he left off and continue his winning form, but Fleming was keen to open his account of victories and had his eyes on the prize right from the off. In qualifying, it was Byrne who got the upper hand taking pole position for race 1 followed closely by Fleming. Next was Andrew Clarke, another man on form in 3rd. Championship newcomer Jack Finlay put on another impressive performance to put his Ginetta G20 in 4th with Sophie Byrne and Dylan Curley rounding out the top 6 in his ex-Andy O’Brien championship winning car.

With the lead pair getting a good start off the line, it was Jake Byrne who used his inside line advantage from pole to lead coming out of the first corner. Hot on his heels was Fleming who was keen to stay with the leader and seize any opportunity to make a move for the lead. Close behind was Andrew Clarke who was also coming under pressure from a hard charging Jack Finlay until he found a way past on lap 4 to move into third. Back at the front Byrne was now under intense pressure from Fleming before the latter found a way past on lap 5 to lead. As they crossed the line onto the final lap of the race, Byrne managed to regain the lead but not for long as Fleming found a way past to take the chequered flag and with it his first Ginetta Junior Ireland race win. Jake Byrne finished a very close 2nd with Jack Finlay putting on a superb display to finish on the podium in only his third race as part of the championship.

With race 2 grid positions decided from the fastest lap times in race 1, it was Jake Byrne who had the opportunity to start from pole once more, with an almost identical grid formation behind him including James Fleming starting along side him. A good start off the line for Fleming gave him the advantage into the first corner but it wasn’t long before Byrne was back in front to lead the opening part of the race. Andrew Clarke in his Murray Motorsport car was keen to stay close to the leaders ready to seize any opportunity to move up the order. Another of our newcomers having a superb race on his maiden visit to Mondello Park’s National circuit was Junior Rallycross front runner Dylan Curley who was now running in 4th but starting to come under increasing pressure from Sophie Byrne. Having retired on the opening lap of race 1, Sophie was keen to make amends and take a strong race 2 finish. Back at the head of the field the battle was now hotter than ever and Fleming was piling the pressure on Byrne and on lap 4 he found a way past. Byrne, certainly not a driver to give up, stayed with Fleming keen to regain the lead. However, Byrne was now faced with a new challenge as right on his back bumper was Andrew Clarke who was keen to make up for just missing out on a podium finish earlier in the day and on the final lap found a way past to move into 2nd. Out in front an elated James Fleming made it 2 wins from 2 races as he took the chequered flag. Following him closely in 2nd was Andrew Clarke with Jake Byrne rounding out the top 3.

With Jake Byrne and James Fleming now jointly leading the championship, rounds 5 and 6 return to Kirkistown in Northern Ireland on Saturday 28th April where Jake Byrne will be keen to repeat his season opening performance, however James Fleming will be looking to deny Byrne a repeat of his domination and continue his own winning streak.

     
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