Young Driver Academy

Zak O’Sullivan shines with podium, rookie victory and maiden pole on Ginetta Juniors debut

9th April 2019

Zak O'Sullivan enjoyed a sensational opening weekend of the year and tasted instant success as he made his debut in the Ginetta Junior Championship, securing a place on the overall podium in race one, as well as picking up the rookie honours, in his first ever race in the series before starting the second race of the season from pole position and going on to secure more championship points.

Zak O’Sullivan’s first race weekend of 2019 took the 14-year-old to Brands Hatch to contest the opening two races of the season around the ‘Indy Circuit’ in Kent. Making his debut in cars, following a successful spell in karts, Zak’s weekend got underway with a free practice session on Friday to get up to speed in the new series.

Getting off to an outstanding start in the practice session, the youngster instantly showed his raw speed in the first practice session finishing top of the timesheet. Posting the quickest lap time of the day with a time of 57.587 seconds, Zak showed quickly how competitive he can be this year, in only his first season in cars.

The following day saw the first qualifying session of the season, at a cloudy & damp Brands Hatch. However, the gloomy weather did little to put O’Sullivan off, as he continued to show his speed in the car, despite the difficult conditions. Posting a solid time of 1:05.060, Zak qualified in third position, ensuring a second row start for the young driver in his debut race.

Zak’s second quickest lap time of 1:05.099, proved to be the quickest of any other driver of the grid, which meant that Zak would start the second race on Sunday in pole position, setting the youngster up for an exciting opening two races of the season.

Saturday’s opening race of the season took place in wet conditions at Brands Hatch, which proved to be difficult conditions for drivers. O’Sullivan was part of a thrilling five-way battle for second position, picking his way past his Douglas Motorsport team-mates Gus Burton and Lorcan Hanafin. Making his way up into second position, Zak successfully negotiated a safety car restart, before making his charge towards the race leader.

Finishing just 0.595 seconds behind the race leader, Zak finished in an incredibly impressive second position to secure an overall podium finish and rookie class victory in his first-ever car race.

Sunday’s race action was delayed due to heavy fog but action eventually got underway for Zak in the afternoon, with the Douglas Motorsport racer starting on pole for the second race of the weekend.

A racing incident in the opening laps of race two, meant that Zak fell towards the back of the grid. Despite the early setback, O’Sullivan went on to deliver an overtaking masterclass. After the safety returned to the pits, Zak ensured he stayed out of trouble, as he maneuvered his way through the grid. Making his way up the grid back into P9, O’Sullivan ensured that he’d pick his second tally points for the weekend, as well as another visit to the rookie podiuum, collecting the trophy for P3 on the rookie podium.

After an eventful debut weekend, Zak leaves Brands Hatch third in the overall championship and top of the rookie standings after an extremely impressive first outing in cars.

Reflecting on a successful opening weekend of racing, Zak added:

“Overall, we had a really strong opening weekend. To get P2 on the podium as well my first rookie win in the first race was a brilliant result. We we’re a bit unlucky in the second race, but we did well to recover and get back into the points.There’s still a lot of work to be done and I’m still learning everytime I get in the car, but the team has done a fantastic job and given me a really strong car for the season.”

“To be leaving Brands Hatch in third position in the standings is fantastic, we’ve shown we have the pace to battle at the front and now I can’t wait to get back out on the track again soon at Donnington!”

Zak’s next outing in the 2019 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship will be in three weeks’ time (27/28 April) at Donington Park in Leicestershire.