After a challenging couple of rounds at Silverstone and Donington, the SD teams-backed squad put in a big effort in the four-week gap between events to remedy a number of issues that had been encountered. That work was rewarded with one of the best weekend performances of the year, as Jarrod Waberski claimed his second win of the season and a podium, while Tom Mills took his first podium in 10 races in the final contest.
On the series’ return to Snetterton, venue for the inaugural round back in April, the team opted to run both cars with varied set-ups in testing in order to maximise the amount of data on hand. Thursday testing ended in positive style with both cars inside the top-three on the combined times, with Mills second overall and Waberski third.
Friday was positive too, as Mills found an extra six tenths of a second to go second quickest once more, while Waberski was fourth having also gained six tenths compared to his Thursday efforts.
That promise carried over to qualifying as Mills secured his first front-row start of the season with the second-fastest time of the session and Waberski just 0.046 seconds away from his teammate and in third. Both drivers were within three tenths of pole sitter, then-championship leader Nikolas Taylor. Meanwhile, on the race two grid, decided by each driver’s second best lap times, the pair were second and third again, this time with Waberski ahead and just one thousandth of a second faster than his teammate.
Sadly, at the start of the first race, Mills jumped forward in his grid slot before the starting lights were extinguished, and despite bringing the car to a halt, he started the race out of position and was handed a 10-second time penalty mid-race. Though he finished second on the road, and challenged for the lead in the early stages, the penalty dropped him to fifth in the final result. Waberski though held third for the entire contest, running closely with Mills and claimed second after his teammate’s penalty, maintaining his record of taking a podium at each race event this year.
While Waberski was clear in front, Mills was engaged in a race-long battle with Taylor that came to a head on the final lap as the pair made the slightest contact on the approach to the Wilson hairpin, costing Mills his front wing. While the youngster could continue, his car was deprived of downforce and despite an incredible fighting effort, he was shuffled down to fifth at the flag. Up front though, Waberski claimed his second victory of 2022, seven seconds ahead of the opposition, the second biggest victory margin of the year.
Mills made amends for his dramas in the final race, as he powered from eighth on the grid to an impressive third place, his first podium since Oulton Park in the middle of April. The British driver jumped to fourth on the first lap, and then found his way past Chloe Grant on the third tour to climb into the podium position, which he held until the flag, while Waberski ended his weekend in fourth and just a second further back.
The results mean Waberski climbs to third in the championship standings, just 30 points away from the new leader Max Marzorati, while Mills rises to fifth. Progress was also made in the teams’ championship, as KMR soars up to second place and only 21 points off leader Hillspeed. The season resumes at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on 30-31 July.
Tom Mills said: “It’s a good end to go from eighth to third, I’ve had a tough weekend and I should have had better results in the first two races but it’s good to come back after a few difficult meetings and a hard day on Saturday, so I’m happy to be back on the podium.
“The team has worked so hard and it’s showing by both Jarrod and I being so fast, so hopefully we’re on the up now for the last three weekends.”
Jarrod Waberski said: “I’m really happy, I knew we had the pace all weekend, we’ve been really on it. Saturday with the P2 was also another good result, and I knew if I got a good start and got ahead I could maintain the gap and pull away. I managed to get a really good start at the beginning, then pulled away, and managed the gap towards the end.
“The first laps were really crucial, I managed to get that gap at the beginning which really helped me, and they started battling which allowed me to grow the gap.
“We’re P3 in the championship now and to get that win was really good, especially as we beat Max [Marzorati] and Nikolas [Taylor] in that one. We’ve scored some really good points for the championship this weekend.”
Team Principal Kevin Mills said: “It was great to have both cars back towards the front of the grid at Snetterton last weekend. An unbelievable amount of work has gone on behind the scenes over the last month, we’ve changed just about everything we could on the cars, tried all sorts of set ups during the event itself and it’s been rewarded with a win and some podiums.
“Even though it was a second event of the year at Snetterton for us, we couldn’t simply copy our set ups from the first round as the conditions had changed so much. So it was almost like starting from scratch again.
“That meant both cars started the weekend with a very different specification as we explored the options, and as the weekend went on they got closer together, and we had them both in a good operating window.
“All that work has paid off, Jarrod’s win has put him right back in the championship fight, Tom is still fighting too and the team is only 21 points away from the top of the Teams standings as well. We’re back where we should be and it’s all to play for still. We’ll be fighting for more at Silverstone next month.”