James Sutton Gets First Win Of PCCGB 2011

After building a championship lead over the first two weekends without winning a race SASRedline Racing driver James Sutton got his first win of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season, leading from pole position to take round five at Thruxton.

Sutton was followed all the way by title rival Euan Hankey, who spent the entire 21 lap race never more than a second behind the leader. Sutton described the Parker with Juta driver as his “constant shadow” during the race, but any chance Hankey had of taking the lead was hampered by understeer through the all important Church corner, crucial to the run towards the main overtaking spot at the Club Chicane.

The top two were able to pull steadily away from Pro-Am1 driver Jonas Gelzinis in third. After qualifying third the Lithuanian was able to hold Michael Meadows and Stephen Jelley at bay for much of the race. Just as in Friday's testing and Saturday's qualifying Gelzinis was easily the class of the Pro-Am1 field, Rory Butcher (the next best driver in class) down in seventh, and despite both Meadows and Jelley showing themselves capable of running laps faster than the Exide backed car ahead of them were unable to pass.

Also bossing his class – in Pro-Am2 – early on was George Brewster, but the Celtic Speed driver was knocked out of the lead by a left-rear puncture on lap eight, leaving Keith Webster and Andrew Shelley to fight of class honours. The pair swapped the place back and forth – including crossing the start/finish line side-by-side on one lap 0.025 seconds between the two drivers when the broke the timing beam.

On track the battle was settled in the complex. Webster led Shelley into the corners, greeted by yellow flags after a spin. The pair came across the recovering car on the exit of Cobb, and while Webster went past, Shelley, wary of the yellow flags stayed behind, until released by green flags, losing two seconds to Webster.

However, after the race Webster was penalised for a technical infringement, Shelley being given the class win.

Gelzinis was the clear victor in Pro-Am1, though Meadows and Jelley did push him down to fifth. Jelley was able to pass Meadows to complete the podium, lattely having to defend his position after being forced offline while lapping a slower car.

Despite missing out on the podium Gelzinis maintained his focus of winning the Pro-Am1 title, with Butcher and Derek Pierce completing the class podium. Third place man (and birthday boy) Pierce came out best in a four way battle involving himself Almad al Harthy, Alex Martin and George Richardson. Oman Air backed driver Al Harthy was particularly attacking, Pierce explaining “he was all over me all the time.” Al Harthy, however, joined Webster in post race disqualification.

The race saw more problems for Michael Caine. After fighting an ill handling car in qualifying he spun avoiding contact with Rory Butcher. The rear-to-front contact would likely have damaged the vulnerable radiators concealed in the Carrera's front bodywork, but the spin into the grass at the complex ripped the splitter away from the nose of the car.