Joel overcame the toxic cocktail of a grid penalty and a gearbox issue to take a sixth-place finish on his GB3 Championship debut, nursing his car across the line stuck in fifth on the final lap of the season-opener at OultonPark.
Having originally gone second quickest in qualifying earlier in the day, Joel was demoted to seventh on the grid after picking up a five-place penalty for causing a collision with Branden Oxley, leaving him with a lot of work to do in the first race of the season with overtaking notoriously difficult around Oulton Park.
He made a storming start to immediately tick off the Carlins of Javier Sagrera and Callum Voisin, however, and then slotted into fifth behind Chris Dittmann Racing’s McKenzy Cresswell.
As the race settled in, Joel appeared set for a top five finish to kick-start his 2022 campaign – until drama struck on the very final lap.
A gearbox issue caused Joel’s Fortec car to stick in fifth gear, and briefly in neutral, dropping him to sixth place as he rolled to the flag.
Luke Browning took victory in the season opener.
JOEL: “I made a good start and overtook Sagrera off the line. Then I got past Voisin on the opening lap and slotted into P5 behind Cresswell. I was a lot quicker, but it’s very hard to overtake around here and he didn’t make any mistakes.
“Then on the final lap, I got stuck in fifth when shifting down for the hairpin. Then I went into neutral a few corners later and I thought that was it. Luckily I managed to get it back into fifth and roll across the line, and we actually only lost one place, which was a bit surprising.
“Not the greatest of days in the end, but the pace is definitely there and we did pick up some important points to limit the damage.”
With Easter Sunday traditionally marking a day off at Oulton Park, the GB3 field will regroup again on Monday for the final two races of the meeting. Joel will line up on the front row when action resumes with Race 2, alongside pole-sitter Browning.