Rising star Tom Lebbon brought the curtain down on his maiden season of single-seater competition with a strong showing on track as the GB3 Championship headed for Donington Park for the final rounds of the year.
The Elite Motorsport driver, from Bury St Edmunds, made the trip to the East Midlands circuit looking to end his campaign on a high, with his ultimate goal being to try and break into the top eight in the championship standings in his We Finance Any Car-backed entry.
Topping the times in the first of eight test sessions held ahead of the weekend, Tom was right on the pace going into qualifying on Saturday morning where he would post the ninth quickest time to set the grid for race one – with his second fastest time determining the grid for race two also being the ninth best.
Avoiding drama ahead on the opening lap of race one, Tom quickly jumped up into fifth spot before the safety car was deployed to allow a stricken car to be removed from the circuit.
Once the action then got underway in earnest, Tom battled hard with Roman Bilinski and Branden Oxley for the final podium place before taking the flag in fifth.
Race two would prove to be a frustrating affair for Tom in tricky wet conditions after contact in the early stages of the race broke the front wing on his car and forced him to make an unscheduled stop for repairs.
That would drop Tom right to the back of the field and although any chance of a strong result was long gone, he would set some impressively quick times as he crossed the line in 20th spot.
The reverse grid final race of the weekend saw Tom line up in 13th place for the start but a storming opening lap saw him rocket up into seventh spot.
The forward progress would continue as Tom made up further places in the following laps to move into fourth spot just after the half-way stage, and he would retain his place until the final lap when Roberto Faria nipped ahead to demote Tom back to fifth.
Tom ends the season ninth in the championship standings, falling just two points shy of the top eight in his debut year.
"Although the result in race two was disappointing, it was a great weekend overall at Donington Park as we were able to show our true pace and potential," he said. "We were quick from the moment we hit the track in practice and the speed in the races was really good. To end the year with two strong finishes is great, and a nice way to head into the winter.
"Overall, it’s been a great season for both me and the team considering that this was our first year in single-seaters. We’ve worked really hard to improve and have learned a huge amount throughout the year, with some really strong performances along the way.
"I have to say thanks to the team and to all my sponsors for their support. To finish ninth in the championship is a great result, and I’m looking forward to what the future brings."