Piper recovers to record season's best

Norwich teenager Jack Piper made a successful and hugely eventful debut at the famous Spa Francorchamps Grand Prix circuit in Belgium over the weekend.

Norwich teenager Jack Piper made a successful and hugely eventful debut at the famous Spa Francorchamps Grand Prix circuit in Belgium over the weekend.

Piper, 17, recovered from a spectacular high-speed smash in practice to clinch a season-best fifth place in his first race at the track, continuing his impressive progress in his rookie year in the Formula Renault 1600 championship.

“It was pouring with rain during practice and the car just aquaplaned off the track and spun into the barriers,” said Piper, a sixth form pupil at Thorpe St Andrew School.

“There was nothing I could do about it. The impact wrecked the rear of the car so I had to use the spare for the rest of the weekend.”


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Piper, racing for the Belgian-based Astromega team, went on to qualify 11th for the opening race, quickly moving up to sixth after a strong start before avoiding a collision in front of him to take fifth.

“I can understand why the top drivers think Spa is the best race track in the world. It was a fantastic experience,” said Piper, who was racing at the circuit just a fortnight after Lewis Hamilton and his fellow F1 stars competed in the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Astromega race engineer Jan De Maeyer added: “We're really impressed with his progress; he's more than holding his own against far more experienced drivers and we're sure he can build on things from here.”

Piper, the only British driver in the 15-strong field, suffered gear change problems in his second race, finishing 10th, but his best points haul of the season saw him move up to seventh in the Formula Renault 1600 championship, ahead of the final round of the series at Spa in a fortnight.

“I can't wait to get back,” said Piper, who was quick to recognise his sponsors' support in his debut season in single-seater racing.

“I really have to thank Building Partnerships, Glenfield Properties, Roy Allen Engineering and Premier Sport for all their help.”

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