Team Parker Racing enjoyed a hugely successful weekend in the Porsche Carrera Cup G at Rockingham, with Euan Hankey leading the way by securing two race wins to maintain his faint hope of securing the 2011 championship.
The superb weekend means Hankey has now secured five wins this season, which means added to team-mate Stephen Jelley's four, the squad has now won nine of the fifteen races. Hankey's dominance of the weekend started in qualifying, where he secured pole position for both races.
In the first race, he instantly pulled away a gap and overcame issues with backmarkers to win by four seconds. The second race was tougher, with Hankey under pressure throughout, particularly when backmarkers got in the way again, but the Somerset racer held on to take the victory.
Hankey commented: “I'm not even looking at the championship – I just want to come out of the year with the most wins. The first race was all down to the start. I got a good lead and after that it was a case of consolidating it. The car was brilliant, so I just cruised it home. Massive thanks to Team Parker Racing.
“The second race was probably the toughest I've ever done. I had amazing pace at the start but there was fluid on the track. I was going sideways and James Sutton behind me could just watch me and pick his way through. And I've no idea what was going on in the minds of those backmarkers! Still, it's great to win again.”
Leicester racer Jelley endured a tougher weekend, despite qualifying fourth and enjoying strong starts in both. Race one saw him elbowed down to fifth on the second lap when he had to get out the way of an optimistic lunge by a rival, with the former BTCC racer then unable to make any further progress. The second encounter went better for him, Jelley securing his tenth podium of the season in third.
Jelley said: “I had to move fully out of the way in the first race because otherwise three cars would have been taken out. That denied me having a good battle for third place with Sutton, which was definitely possible. In the second race I was just maybe missing the last half a tenth of a second. My car seems to be eating up the tyres here.”
Rockingham provided a mixed weekend for Team Parker's two Carrera Cup rookies. For Richard Plant, the weekend went incredibly well, the ex-Formula Palmer Audi Champion qualifying sixth and third, despite never racing the track before. He followed this up with fourth and sixth place finishes, completing his strongest weekend of the season to date.
Plant reflected: “I'm very pleased with the pace and my first race. I couldn't quite get by to take a podium in the first race but it was a good race. I can't knock that – fourth in my first proper race here!”
Fellow Yorkshireman Sam Tordoff endured yet more bad luck, being knocked off the track on the opening lap of race one, though the ex-Clio racer was able to fight back to eleventh despite bent steering, a bent wheel and a missing front splitter. Race two was to be much shorter though, Tordoff retiring at the end of the green flag lap with clutch failure.
Tordoff said: “Race one was not bad considering the car was almost three seconds off the pace! I was pleased with qualifying pace compared to the previous round at Knockhill, and I was very close to the cars ahead.”
Team Parker's Pro-Am1 driver Derek Pierce enjoyed a superb weekend, taking two class podium finishes, despite contact in the opener with team-mate Alex Martin, which dropped Pierce from second to third, while Martin retired in case of radiator damage. Scotsman Pierce took second in race two, while Martin was forced to retire once again with radiator troubles.
Pierce commented: “Race two, that's the best race I've had this year. I didn't get beaten up at all – unusual after the season I've had so far! It was nice not to have to go defensive all the way through.”
Martin said: “It was a shame. I got my nose inside Derek in the first race, and given another half-metre we'd have both got out of the corner fine. I'd saved my tyres and caught him up.”
Team principal Stuart Parker added: “Euan had two poles and two wins – shame he didn't get two fastest laps, but you can't be too greedy! There was a heart-in-mouth moment with the backmarkers, but he did a good job of keeping things under control, and his first race was blinding.
“Stephen made the best of what he could – it wasn't a particularly strong showing by his standards, so we're going to have to work out what to do heading to the next round at Brands Hatch. Planty qualified and raced well, and he made a great opportunistic move to get fourth in the first race. Sam's had a very unlucky weekend – fingers crossed things will improve next time out at Brands.
“Derek's had a really good weekend, and it's really helped him in the pro-am1 championship. It was a cracking performance. Alex had a bit of an unfortunate one but he's got to focus now on bouncing back at Brands.”