County Durham teenager Matty Graham leads the BRDC Formula 4 Winter series after an up-and-down opening round at Snetterton.
The 17-year-old holds a two-point lead at the top of the points table after scoring two wins, a fourth and a sixth at the Norfolk track over the weekend.
Graham, of Edmundbyers, is contesting the popular single-seater winter series for the Douglas Motorsport outfit and has his eyes firmly fixed on winning his first car racing championship.
The two-day event kicked off with a damp track, but Graham was quick to get to grips with the slippery track conditions, taking pole with a lap two seconds faster than his closest rival.
At the start of race one, the former karting champion struggled to get traction and dropped down to third.
However, he was soon able to make amends and made his way back up to the front to take the opening win.
Having set the fastest lap in the first race, Graham was rewarded with pole for the second and, in what was to be a carbon copy of the first he dropped back to third at the start before making his way back up, this time crossing the line 11 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
With two strong wins behind him, the teenager was feeling confident as he headed into Sunday, and was hoping to do the same again.
Qualifying third on the grid for the first race of the day, he was sure he could get a much better start than he had during Saturday’s races, which he felt would propel him to the front early on. As the lights changed, polesitter Jake Cook struggled to get off the line and Graham charged into the lead.
However, it was to be a short-lived lead as moments later he had a coming-together with Sennan Fielding at the Agostini curve and spun out of contention.
He managed to rejoin but was only able to manage a sixth. As a result of playing catch-up, he was only able to qualify fifth for the final race of the weekend.
Struggling with understeer, he managed to get as high as third for a while but was unable to maintain the position and had to settle for fourth at the chequered flag.
Graham said: “Saturday was great and I couldn’t have been happie.
“The team prepared a brilliant car and it meant I could attack and recover from the two slow starts.
“Sunday was disappointing, particularly as there was no need for the crash It was judged to be a racing incident and these things do happen, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.”
Graham is now looking ahead to the second and final round of the championship which will be held at Brands Hatch, Kent, later this month.
He added: “Snetterton hasn’t always been my favourite track so to do so well there means we’re in a good position as we head to Brands. I’m determined to take the title.”